Friday, July 17, 2015

Lunch at Old Country Buffet

I do not often write about lunch at a buffet. We have been to OCB for lunch in the past a few times but that was a long time ago. One of the problems that I see with lunch at a buffet is that it is far too much to eat for lunch - unless you are not planning on having dinner afterward. Well, we had an event to be at that was going to go from early evening until after 10 pm and we decided that we would go to OCB for lunch and this would be a meal to keep us for the day until this event was over late that night.

I was a bit disappointed when I saw what was offered on the buffet at lunch. Much of the lighter fare items that we remembered on the buffet were gone. Perhaps some might see this as a good thing, but I really was not interested in repeating a dinner that we had a few nights before at OCB for lunch - minus the carvings. Lunch is $10.99 including beverage, of course. There is a senior price and there has also been a senior feature price of $7.99 which is one of the reasons why most of the people who you will find eating at OCB on a weekday at lunch are seniors.

I came expecting what I remembered at OCB for lunch - hamburgers, hot dogs, country fried steak, grilled cheese sandwiches, along with fried chicken and a few other entrees and the usual sides. Gone were most of these, other than the fried chicken and the grilled cheese sandwiches. Grilled cheese sandwiches are a rather odd thing to find at a buffet but they seem to have remained even after the long time since we had been in for lunch. What was there was most of what is on the buffet for dinner but, again, no carvings, and none of the little pots that they persist in serving.  There was meatloaf - but perhaps I should say meat crumble. I thought that the meatloaf had just been picked through to the point that what was left just fell apart, but shortly later another tray of it came out and it was just the same - crumbled chopped meat with ketchup over it - sitting in grease. I passed on that. There was chicken and dumpling which is found on the dinner buffets on and off, but the dumplings were huge - large balls of flour that were the equivalent of two, and perhaps three, of the usual OCB dumplings in chicken and dumplings (think of these "dumplings" as more Bisquick biscuits that have been dropped into the creamed chicken mixture with vegetables to cook). There was "BBQ" chicken that was dried out and did not look very appetizing. I had seen this when we had been there prior for dinner and at that time I could not tell what it was and had to ask - when I heard that it was bbq chicken, I responded, "you're kidding me".  There was fried chicken, there was baked chicken, and there was orange chicken. There was a small tray of smoked sausage in sauerkraut. I actually had a bit of a problem finding what to take to eat. Had the meatloaf been normal, I likely would have made most of my meal with that. I ate chicken and dumplings - trying to find the little amount of chicken that was in the tray and cutting the dumplings in half before taking them. I also had a little of the smoked sausage and a bit of the orange chicken which I should not have been eating as it is covered in sweet sauce. I even took a half of grilled cheese sandwich. All in all I would have been happier had I come in and found the burgers and hot dogs. Even though this was to be a meal to keep us going late into the night, what was on the buffet was just too heavy to have mid-day.

One thing about lunch at OCB is that trays are not emptied and not replaced. Another is that it is early enough in the day for the floors to remain clean (though that has not been as much of a problem as it had been in the past). Another plus, at least not when the kids are off for the summer, is that there are no, or at least very few, kids running around or up at the buffet with their hands in trays.

I have been to better buffets at lunch over the years (the few times we have done a lunch buffet) - the best being Shady Maple in PA which combines some of dinner with lunch items at a much reduced price from dinner, followed by Sweet Tomatoes/Soup Plantation which was very nice for lunch. OCB is just OK at lunch - at least as it was on this experience. One other thing that did not happen on this visit that has happened on those past lunch visits for us - the dinner buffet starts at 3:00 pm and during the last forty-five minutes to a half hour before that, dinner items would begin to be brought out, replacing lunch items. Well, since it was mostly dinner items to start with, that did not happen. Nothing on the buffet changed past 3 - they even brought out more grilled cheese sandwiches.

Breakfast buffet is not served at OCB during the week and that ends about 11 am. That would likely have been more exciting.


Anonymous said...

where was this one located?

Anonymous said...

Generally speaking, buffet restaurants are declining in numbers and popularity across the country, for too many reasons to mention here. Having worked in the restaurant business for 35 years (close to 20 years in the buffet sector), I can tell you with good reason that this trend will continue (especially when it comes to chain buffet operations). The business is played out. Time to move on.

Writer said...

I don't agree. I am finding new buffets and new locations of chain buffets. This is a growing industry and many menu restaurants are offering buffet meals on holidays and some, once a week in addition to chain menu restaurants offering special all you can eat features. There are many good buffets that do exceptionally good business and become so crowded that there are lines out the door.

Anonymous said...

Not sure which OCB you're eating at, but the OCB in Bayshore, NY is $13.99 for dinner ($13.49 for seniors )NO meal @ OCB/Bayshore is $7.99!

Writer said...

The article is about lunch - not dinner. And the lunch price on the day we were there was $!0.99 and there was a senior feature price of $7.99 on that day.