Friday, May 19, 2017


It is later then usual in getting this post out and I am sorry for that. Things just seem to happen that keep one from doing what they know needs to be done.

I have seen a few articles on restaurant sites with lists of the best buffets. I am sure that many of these buffets are very nice, but the one thing that all of them seem to have in common are big price tags on their buffet meals. As my regular readers know while this site is focused on all types of buffets at all price ranges, we try to keep a focus on buffets that are affordable for a working individual's family - one that you can go out to for a nice nice dinner with a few kids and not feel a pinch in the budget that week. Just because a buffet is inexpensive does not mean it is not a quality place to eat. And when it is not serving quality, I am the one who is going to make that clear right away. In choosing our top buffets we look to those affordable buffets - and not ones that are going to set you back over a hundred dollars for dinner for two.

For a top buffet, a buffet needs to meet certain criteria. The buffet must give excellent value. The buffet must serve quality food. The food must be prepared properly and taste very good to excellent. The restaurant must be managed properly. The service must be good. And all of this must be consistent - meal to meal, visit to visit.Then it must be a buffet that comes to mind to go back to whenever possible. There must be something that sets the buffet apart (in a superior way) to all the rest.

Last year right after our Top Buffets for 2015 article came out, a local buffet named in that article as a Top Buffet raised its prices and changed the quality of the food that they were serving. That buffet has since gone out of business. They lost our business after two visits with these changes. I am sure that  others felt the same way that we did.

This year, our top buffets are all located in the Buffet Capital of the US- Lancaster County. Three of these buffets have been Top Buffets before - and continue to be. One is new to this designation of Top Buffet. The four Top Buffets of 2016 are (listed in random order)  - Yoders Restaurant at Yoder's Country Farm Market in New Holland, PA, Dutch-Way Family Restaurant in Gap, PA, Shady Maple Smorgasbord in East Earl, PA, and - the newest Top Buffet - Bird-In-Hand Family Restaurant and Smorgasbord in Bird-In-Hand, PA.

Bird-In-Hand is not a new buffet. It is one of the longest operating buffets in Lancaster County. There have been reasons in the past that has kept this buffet off the top list but after several meals there in 2016, it was a definite must include in the Top Buffets list.

Why are all the buffets in Lancaster? Non-Asian buffets are becoming few and far between. The one place that one can still eat out every night of the week at a different "American Food" or "Regional Food" buffet is Lancaster County, PA!

In the next several weeks we will update our articles about these buffets with Top Buffet of 2016 articles. We will try to keep to our usual schedule of a new article every two weeks on Friday nights posted at night. 


Jeff said...

Dieners is better than Yoders for sure.

Writer said...

We have been to Dieners many times. It is a nice buffet. The food is good. The hours that it is open are terrible unless one likes to eat dinner early. Dieners is only open on Friday nights until 8:00 pm like most of the other buffets in the area. Also the selections at Dieners do not vary much at all and there have been trips to Dieners that we both found it hard to select entrees from the buffet. When the Dieners son owned and operated the Family Cupboard - which is now closed the selections and food was better there. He went to work with his parents at Dieners and I hoped that he would bring not only the variety that he had at Family Cupboard and the better hours open to Dieners and have the best of both. While he is there now at Dieners nothing changed. Dieners has a bit further to go to be a top buffet and that needs to start with the hours it is open.

ML said...

I was surprised to see Bird in Hand on the list, we've haven't been there in years but if I remember correctly isn't this the place that you have to sit with strangers and also they serve what they have for the day and not a buffet?

Writer said...

ML - No, Bird in Hand is a Buffet and menu restaurant. You sit at your own table or booth. You may be thinking of Good and Plenty or Plain and Fancy which are family style restaurants with all you can eat brought to a long table with people sat together who do not know each other. Good and Plenty is located near Bird in Hand on a connecting road to Rt 340 and Plain and Fancy is further down on the other side of the road on Route 340.

ML said...

My Bad, yes my wife corrected me after I sent the post. Unless its changed BIH wasn't memorable but since it made the list, we will try it again. Thanks

Anonymous said...

How does Millers compare with the other buffets?

Writer said...

Millers. OK. For many years we went to Millers. It was the first of the PA Dutch buffets. We never went to the area without going to Millers. Then Millers started expanding both physically in size and in what they put on the buffet - but what was happening was that the food was no longer focused on local, PA Dutch foods and they were going upscale in what they were serving. The price was going up as well. And it was jammed with tourists. And I hate to put it this way but not so nice tourists. We stopped going. Several years ago we went back - just to see. And it had gone even more upscale - and where at one time you might sit next to an Amish family having dinner, now you were in tourist world. The food was not good. Service was poor. The price was high. Everything that we had enjoyed all those years was gone - we both had been there in the early 1960s with family. We went back steadily until things started to change dramatically. It was not the same. We have not gone back since. I am sure this is what some people are looking for - and they get those people in the door. I am looking for places the locals eat in. Places where you do sit with Amish and Mennonite families at the tables around you. And I am looking for value. That does not happen any longer at Millers.