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Question about Golden Corral

This steak house is advertising in heavy rotation on Detroit television. I went to the corporate website to find a location near me, and there is only one store in the entire tri-county area. The ads airing are pounding the message of how much food you get for less than $10. Featured in the ads is their Applewood Grill, a bacon-wrapped filet. Is it worth a 30 mile drive for me to sample the menu?

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  1. No. The food isn't good. The only really, truly positive thing I can write about them is that they do a very generous annual free dinner for military (both active and retired) personnel and their families. It's not worth the less than two mile drive to the Golden Corral near my house.

    1. i went to a g.c. once with in-laws in atlanta and did not like it.

      remember bonanza? remember ponderosa? same concept. order a marginal steak and hit the all you can eat salad/side/desert bars to your heart's content.

      1 Reply
      1. re: xman887

        Thanks for the response. I was wondering if it was a Ponderosa/Bonanza clone. These two replies confirmed my questions.

      2. First off, Golden Corral isn't a steakhouse. There is a grill station where you can get cooked-to-order steaks, but the main focus of the place is the all-you-can-eat buffet.

        Which is to say, it's all about quantity over quality. Unlimited amounts of a fairly large variety of stuff for not very much money. I eat there occasionally because it's my father-in-law's favorite place. Some of the food is terrible, and some is okay. None of it is particularly good.

        I definitely wouldn't go out of my way to eat there. It's a good option if you happen have a dozen ravenous teenagers under your care, but it's far from chow-worthy destination.

        1 Reply
        1. re: alanbarnes

          I agree with alanbarnes about the teenagers! And I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there, either--certainly wouldn't drive 30 miles. Nor would it even occur to me to try one of their steaks.

          All that said, though, I pick up takeout from GC a couple times a year (they sell it by the pound for a very reasonable price). Because out of the ginormous selection, it's not difficult to come up with three or four items that are really tasty, and to put together a decently well-balanced meal in the process. I like the pot roast and veggies, the fried chicken, and a couple of the salads.

        2. Save your time and gasoline, find a local place you'll be ahead of the game.

          1. No greasy and definitely not worth it. I ate there once just with a large group. I am not a "picky" eater but also a cook. I didn't say anything, but no NOT worth it. Typical premade buffet food. Nothing worth driving for. I can give you a great easy apple bacon wrapped filet, baked potato and salad and even a vegetable for under 12 bucs per person. WAY better. kchurchill5@comcast.net

            1. DON'T go there expecting great steak. The buffet's okay for AYCE, I like the fried chicken and mashed potatoes. We generally only go when they're running a coupon deal, and we haven't gone back since the last time when we couldn't get the "server" to bring us a clean plate or re-fill our drinks (although he certainly had no problems serving the large table of gentlemen who spoke his language.) I emailed the company with the specifics and never heard anything from them. It's not worth the trip back for mediocre food and bad service.

              1. There's a reason we call this place "golden gristle." Run away.

                1. It's definitely not a "steakhouse", but isn't the worst place I've ever eaten. We occasionally go for breakfast when the kids can't decide what they want, i.e. one wanting pancakes, the other wanting French toast, etc. As others have mentioned, it's also a good option for ravenous teenage boys who'll eat whatever doesn't eat them first.

                  1. Judging by our local branch, no, no, a thousand times no! They don't call it the golden Corral for nothing - you feel like a herd of cattle while you're there, and they rake in the gold! I don't mind buffets but I was dragged along there by a group of friends and I couldn't find anything edible in the whole place.

                    1. Golden Corral is definitely not worth a 30 minute drive. My family and I used to go to a location that was probably prettygood for the chain. I stuck wtih the salad bar, fried shrimp, and the soft serve machine.

                      1. I'm so glad you asked about this. Just last night on cable (in Connecticut) I saw 4 ads for this place and wondered where the heck it was. (sounds awful based on the posts below)...

                        1. Would you drive 30 miles for McDonald's? Because that is about the quality you can expect. I went to a GC once with my kids... ONCE!

                          The place was so dirty, the food was so gross, and the other customers were like a pack of rabid jackals picking at a carcass. No thanks.

                          1 Reply
                          1. It is better than Old Country Buffet.
                            It is no way worth driving 30 minutes to go to. It might be a good place to take your finicky kids, because there are plenty of options. But there are plenty of better options pretty much wherever you are. Certainly in the Detroit area.

                            1. The only positive comments I have ever heard about Golden Corral was from a busload of touring Russian teenagers who were bowled over with the number of choices and quantity of food available. They'd never seen anything like it.

                              1. They advertise a lot in the Bay Area yet there is only one and that's in Sacramento the other two are in Southern Ca. I've never heard of them until two weeks ago.

                                1. It is just a Sizzler with different decor....

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: NVJims

                                    GMTA!! I made a Sizzler reference too before reading your post. Is Sizzler even around anymore?

                                  2. Steak house? Puhlease, Golden Corral is as much of a steakhouse as The Sizzler( dont even know if those are still around). In other words, Golden Corral is a freaking god awful buffet. The food is cheap, filled with sodium and vile. I live in Ontario, 60 miles from the MI border. There is one in Port Huron. My spouse talked me into eating lunch there last Presidents Day( aka Family day in Ontario). The parking lot was filled with Canadians, we had to wait in line to eat there. Omg, it was horrible. I could only manage a piece of baked chicken and an iceberg salad. Dont even get me started on the desserts. I think a hospital dessert might be better. The cakes look horrid, the truffles are made of fake chocolate, the ice cream isnt really ice cream. I better stop now.......

                                    1. Well...I'm convinced!

                                      1. Much depends on where you go and why you go there.
                                        I am retired. The Golden Corral Buffet on N. Power Rd. in Mesa, AZ has a lunch special for seniors that cost a total of $7.23. The food at this specific GC is actually pretty good most of the time. The restaurant personnel are terrific. The food is generally well prepared and of good quality. The selection is great and , while some dishes are standard every day fare, other dishes change daily. We meet there on Monday-Wednesday-Friday. This is our "social hour". However, while my son-in-law HATES the GC in Baltimore, he loves my GC in Mesa. I lucked out on this one.

                                        1. Golden Corral serves its purpose. It provides a variety of decent foods at a very reasonable price. They have a great salad bar, and they have some very decent items. It is hard to mess up things like, Fried chicken or shrimp, ham, or roast beef. They do a great job with their vegetable sides and they have some good desserts. There is no need to be critical of a restaurant like GC, and there steak are about right for the AYCE price of like 10 Dollars.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: ChowMantra

                                            Years ago Golden Corral used to serve steaks. There is one in Universal City,Tx. that we went to years ago and is still there. They did have a salad bar, but nothing like it is now. They did serve actual individual steaks,this was back in 1982,when my mom died. We would go there off and on over the years.
                                            Then they closed the place.And they built a new one,to me it seems smaller than the old one. Anyways, the food is pretty decent, and you get your fill for the price.
                                            Ryan'sSteakhouse is still around, but the only one close to me is New Braunfels.I think at ryan's you can still order a steak, or you can have a buffet.They do have a website.New Braunfels also has Montana Mike's Steakhouse, which is just what it says.
                                            Not last year, but in 2007 I went to ryan's for Thanksgiving dinner at the one on Nacogdoches Road in NE San Antonio.It was very good. This ryan's now is a Christian Senior Services Center.Don't know why it was shut down by the corporation,it was always busy,took my dad there quite often.

                                            1. re: HollyDolly

                                              I think Ryan's is now part of Old Country Buffet, but may still have its own identity. All these AYCE places like GC and Ryan's serve a certain clientele who don't want to spend a lot of money for a stomach filling meal. I enjoy their salad bars and some of their buffet offerings like the baked chicken and the vegetables. I'm not expecting a gourmet meal when I go.

                                          2. When I had family that lived in Florida and I went down for vacation, we always hit up the Golden Corral. Yeah, some items are terrible. But many are very good for the money. The salad bar is decent and the items off the grill, like the steaks and burgers, aren't bad. The quality is much better than places like Ponderosa or Old Country Buffet for a comparable price.

                                            It's always insanely busy, so be prepared to be squished. But it's a good deal for the money. Is it worth a 30 mile drive? Well, the food most likely isn't going to blow you away, but honestly, if there was a Golden Corral within 30 miles of my house, I'd make a trek every six months or so. (Sadly, there are no Golden Corrals in NJ, even though they've been saying they were coming for years.)

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: zhelder

                                              wow, if I lived in NJ, I'd chose one of your myriad of Diners over a Golden Corral anyday!!

                                              Personally, I find the salad bar to SUCK. Iceburg lettuce, bottled dressings, filled with perservatives. Gag!!

                                              1. re: Calipoutine

                                                Nothing finer than Iceberg lettuce for us Rednecks!!

                                            2. To echo a previous poster, Golden Corral was formerly a steakhouse. The one that I grew up with in the mid-late 80s only did a buffet on the weekend.

                                              The local one here has recently remodeled and gone over to an "international" theme, the nations being Mexico, China, Italy, Brazil, and uh, the South, I guess. It's actually not half bad. The brisket and steaks are alright, the salad bar is good, and the desserts are pretty good, too. The kids love it.

                                              I suppose they've looked at the new Census results, as they now offer aguas frescas along with the tea and soft drinks. I haven't tried the Jamaica, but the Horchata is not bad.

                                              1. wow, this is a blast from the past! we used to eat there when I was really young. I was picky (adventurous about some things, but I didn't like meat then, am vegetarian now) and I could get a salad bar while my dad and brothers could get steak. I am certainly not interested in ever returning, but I can certainly see why it was attractive for my parents.

                                                I cannot believe that some of these places have an international theme now!!! OMG!