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Jul 17, 2008 07:51 AM

Best Buffet in Lancaster Area

Haven't been to those parts in years-had one very unpleasant experience at a place where we were seated with other families who took note of my wife's religious charm and made not too unsubtle remarks. SO we'd like a place where we sit at our own table-lunch/dinner. By the way, is Zinn's Diner still around? My kids had a ball in their playground MANY years ago.

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    I would recommend Shady Maple in East Earl Twp as the best of this type of dining in Lancaster..

    1. Shady maple is probably not the best choice, unless you like huge crowds.
      An option would be Stoltzfus farm restaurant SE of Intercourse on 772. Diners are seated at their own table. An added bonus is that two of the customary 3 meats (the Sausage and the Hamloaf) are from Stofusses own Butcher shop and are quite good.(The third meat, fried chicken, was average, the last time we stopped. over a year ago.)

      2 Replies
      1. re: brookquarry

        I have always assumed that the crowds and the over-indulgence are part of the whole experience. And I say that having once lived in Lancaster for nearly 11 years.

        1. re: Karen K

          Definitely. As a spectacle and a curiosity, Shady Maple can't be beat.

      2. In my experience, the food at the Lancaster buffets ranges from decent to poor. Shady Maple is pretty good food-wise, but the place is huge, always crowded and very noisy. I don't like the atmosphere at all. The Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant (on Old Philadelphia Pike) and Yoders (on New Holland Pike) offer similar food and are smaller.

        Also, bear in mind that the buffets around here are not the great bargain they used to be, unless you are a really big eater. Prices have gone up lately, to the point where you could easily get a better meal for the same money by ordering off the menu somewhere else. Also, Shady Maple has different prices each night, depending on the specials of the day. Seafood night is over $20.

        You might also want to do a Google search for a blog called The Art of the Buffet. This guy is obsessed with buffet eating and reviews virtually all of the buffets in the Lancaster area.

        1. Zinn's is long since gone, replaced by a series of less than impressive places. The park is kaput.

          1. It has been a few years since we have been there, but we have had a nice lunch buffet at the Willow Valley Resort just south of Lancaster. We preferred it to the one in Bird-in-Hand both for food quality and price value as a lunch. Shady Maple is an experience. I have met people who were going there just to eat and then return to central or northern New Jersey.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jfr

              Shady Maple is an experience, from the cavernous dining area(s) to the stretch of buffet tables, to the humongous & kitschy "Amish" gift store downstairs. Be prepared to deal with bus loads of senior citizens shuffling alone the buffet line with walkers, and "gaper delay", while people try to figure out just where in that buffet line they want to insert themselves. I have never in my life seen anything quite like it. The food is abundant and would fall into the category of "middle-of-the-road home cooking". It's also a good place to take kids because they have a wide range of choices and the tableclothes are plastic. You need to go there at least once in your life.