What I like about Dutch-Way aside from good quality food at a very reasonable price, is the many different things that Dutch-Way serves on their buffet. Whenever we go to this buffet, there will be some items on the buffet that will be consistent time after time - these usually Pennsylvania Dutch foods made from local recipes, but there will also be a number of items that are just different. This is great as it gives a chance for the chefs to show off and provide a variety to every meal served. The only drawback to this can be hoping that something that you had once like this, will be there again. Sometimes it is, but often it isn't. But that new selection that you encounter makes up for it. (Thought I do hope that their wonderful ribs show up on the buffet again on some future visit!)
This time we had some interesting dishes. Bacon is very popular lately and two side dishes on the buffet on this Friday night featured bacon. One was string beans and bacon. This was just what it says strips of bacon and string beans cooked together. This is very much like a local dish often served in this area - string beans and ham - with the bacon put in place of the ham. It was good. If you are a bacon lover this was a treat. The other bacon dish was another variation of a common dish and again involved string beans. Most are familiar with string bean casserole - a popular Thanksgiving side dish of string beans in mushroom sauce (often cream of mushroom soup) cooked with french fried onion rings. Take that dish and bake it with strips of bacon on top and that was what was served at Dutch-Way. Again, good and a nice surprise added to a dish many have had before but not this way.
Fillings are a common Pennsylvania Dutch dish. Fillings are like stuffing but made with other than bread cubes. Dutch-Way has one of the best potato fillings in this area, and that is one of the dishes generally found here on most nights. I had that - and enjoyed it as I always do here. On this night they also had an Apple and Sausage Filling - a bread based filling chock full of apples and local country sausage baked together. This, too, was very good!
Another interesting and different dish served on this night that we were there was Crab Covered Broiled Catfish. Take REAL crabmeat lightly mixed with breadcrumbs just slightly seasoned and spread it on top of catfish and broil it and this is the dish that they had. It was good!
Of course as always there were four soups. The beef vegetable with fresh garden vegetables, beef in a thick tomato stock was an excellent soup. The salad bar is wonderfully stocked with so much to both create a salad and try many local prepared salads, and the chicken salad is exceptional. I could easily make the meal center around the chicken salad but there is so much more that I take some chicken salad and go on to the entrees.
Friday and Saturday night are Prime Rib and Ham at the grill. The Prime Rib was well done but the slice that I had was moist and tender. It was very tasty. The ham looked as good but I passed on the ham for several other meats on the buffet including an excellent meatloaf and ham balls. I also took some of the Pork and Kraut that is excellent here with very large pieces of pork mixed into the sauerkraut.
As I have described in the past there is a large assortment of desserts including cakes, pies, soft-serve name brand ice cream (Turkey Hill), and prepared desserts. There was also hot shoefly cake. I took some of the cracker pudding. Cracker pudding is a local dessert made like rice pudding using saltine crackers and coconut. No rice - crackers! It is wonderful and here it is excellent.
The price for dinner on Friday and Saturday night is $13.99. It is less Monday to Wednesday. Thursdays is the most expensive dinner night and the reason is it is all seafood. Seafood night is $19.99 and a great deal of seafood is served including snow crab legs. Unlimited soft drinks are extra.
I have to acknowledge someone at this restaurant and that is our server/waitress. Her name is Marie and she has been our waitress here several times before. She is the MOST FRIENDLY waitress of any restaurant - buffet or menu - that we have ever been to - and that is a lot of restaurants over many years. She is delightful in her manner and in how friendly she is. There is always a quick and sincere thank you! She really stands out. She does her job well and is very attentive to her tables and guests. She is prompt and makes sure that dishes are cleared regularly. She truly stands out! Thank you, Marie!!!
Should you go to Dutch-Way if you are near Gap in Lancaster County, PA? Absolutely! Don't expect a large, lavish restaurant or an overwhelming buffet - it is big enough and there is plenty enough. It has pleasant decor and is one of the supermarket restaurants that seem to only be found in this area of Pennsylvania. The restaurant is in the same building as the supermarket - completely separated. This is Lancaster farm cooking with a a bit of continental added in on the side.