The TOP BUFFET for 2013 is Dutch-Way Family Restaurant located in Gap, PA. There are three Dutch-Way Restaurants in Pennsylvania. Two have buffets and we have been to both. The Gap Dutch-Way is the one that is TOP. (Not to say that the other Dutch-Way locations are not good - the other buffet location is just not as good as Gap.)
Some who visit this area - Lancaster County - Home of the Pennsylvania Dutch, a popular tourist region, may ask why they have not heard about this restaurant other than here.This restaurant is not on one of the more popularly traveled tourist routes. This restaurant is off the beaten path and most will drive right by and not even realize that there is a restaurant there at all. What you see is a supermarket from this road not often traveled by tourists. While it is off the main roads, it is just less than 3 miles from Route 30 - one of the major routes crossing Lancaster County.
Dutch-Way Family Restaurant is one of several buffet restaurants located within or adjacent to a supermarket. I have spoken about this many times in the past and this seems to be something that happens in Pennsylvania. Dutch-Way Family Restaurant in Gap, PA shares a building with Durch-Way Farm Market, a large supermarket that is part of the Dutch-Way chain. There is a long hallway and doors separating the supermarket from the restaurant's lobby. Each have their own entrances, as well. Inside either the restaurant or the market, one is not aware of the other. The restaurant features both buffet and menu dining.
You can enter from the market hall or the restaurant's own entrance doors, and you come into a lobby area with restrooms and another set of large glass and wood doors that go into another lobby just for the restaurant. There is a host there to greet you and take you to your table. The dining room is very nicely decorated. It holds it own with any nice restaurant in decor and styling. There are tables and booths, two dining rooms (in addition to private dining rooms for parties) and a large buffet area with an extensive grill.
We have never had a disappointing meal at Dutch-Way, Gap. We have not eaten anything there that was not good. The food here is a combination of local Pennsylvania Dutch/Amish country dishes and continental dishes. There are theme features that change with the day of the week. Friday and Saturdays focus on carvings - Ham and Prime Rib Roast. Thursday is Seafood Night with an extensive array of fish and seafood including crab legs. There is a build your own burger plus hot wings night. There is a western night. There is an Italian night. You will also find the PA Dutch and other dishes regardless of the theme.
The price is extremely reasonable - $11.99 for an adult buffet with an additional $1.99 for unlimited refill soft drinks. There is also a discount for seniors over 60. These prices are better than many buffets including chain buffets and the food that you are being served is quality. This is all made from scratch foods. This buffet more than meets our criteria of value and quality for a Top Buffet.
The foods do vary. The PA Dutch dishes - entrees like Chicken Bot Boi, Pork and Sauerkraut, Dutch Loaf are excellent, but you may not find these every night. The foods are rotated and we have found some dishes only once - though we are not there every night and cannot say that those dishes were not served again on a night that we were not there. One of the fun things about Dutch-Way is to be surprised by new dishes and to find favorites,
There is an extensive salad bar that one could make a meal of all on its own. Prepared salads, meats to top salads, a variety of lettuce varieties, and toppings and dressings fill a two sided server holding the salad bar. There is a soup bar with four soups. There is a dessert bar that extends from a selection of slices of cakes and pies, to soft serve ice cream (from Turkey Hill - a local dairy and popular commercial ice cream manufacturer), and a cold server with a variety of prepared desserts, pudding, fruits, etc. Then on the hot server with some of the entrees there are hot desserts. There is a bread station with a large variety of "gourmet" breads - such as fruit breads, pumpkin bread, rolls, muffins, and sometimes donuts. The grill changes with the theme night. There will be a chef behind the grill ready to carve for you on nights with carvings or cook for you on nights with cook to order foods on the grill. On build a burger night you choose the toppings for the burger that are cooked there on the grill with your hamburger. Add cheese of your choice and you are given a large burger piled high with toppings on a bun. This is a lot more than I can handle and eat everything else that I want on the buffet - but I have seen others do just that. I don't miss out- I have the burger built this way and just leave off the bun. (It is still a lot of food.)
As I write this I am wishing that I could get to Pennsylvania again soon! My mouth is watering for a Dutch-Way meal. I enjoy eating at a lot of buffets - but this one has stood out for us since the first time we went there a few years ago.
This is the buffet not to miss in Lancaster, PA. There will be two must go to's - as we have chosen for 2013 when in Lancaster County. This is one. We have come to the area for several days and gone back for dinner at Dutch-Way, Gap more than once on that trip. Do not miss it! Remember that it is not open on Sundays and a number of national holidays. There is a breakfast buffet Monday to Saturday, as well as a lunch and dinner buffet. When you go tell them that you read all about them on this site - Art of the Buffet!