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OMG!! Golden Corral

  • m

who would think of going there?? just saw their TV commercials for cotton candy!!

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  1. Well, yeah. Pretty unusual, to say the least. Look, this is an all you can eat buffet with a large range of foods and a fixed price somewhere south of $10/per. I've eaten there on road trips in Virginia, and managed to make a reasonable southern meal of decent baked ham sliced to order, collards, black eyed peas, corn bread, and a simple salad, with unlimited unsweet tea, and some melon. The place is packed with working folks and others for obvious reasons--including large by groups of Mexican workers loading up on plates of beef and ham and chicken. Would I go there again by choice? Unlikely. But it has its place, both as a default and is for many cash-strapped families, a real option. Frankly, except for its many sweet excesses, its food is generally no worse and maybe even a bit e better than the offerings at some of the relatively few independent "country buffets" that remain points South.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bob96

      You are exactly right bob! and they are 10 times better than they were 20 years ago. I eat there maybe once or twice a year if I'm in the area and I'm starving, the pot roast is as good as you'll get anywhere.

      1. re: bob96

        I am not a chain person and I found myself at a GC last week in Myrtle Beach. We were there for a basketball tournament and this was the "team night out" selection for a large group, perhaps 40 kids and adults. I b*tched and moaned the whole way there but, you know, it was much better than I expected and amazing price. At this particular GC, they import eastern european summer workers; our server was friendly and efficient. I left a good tip because of all the 5th and 7th grade boys we had in tow.

        My son ate the cotton candy, dipped into the chocolate fountain. No, I'm not proud but I didn't see it happen as I was at another table altogether.

      2. We used to take my grandmother because she loved it and she needed the calories. I don't know if they still offer it, but they used to have a soup/salad/dessert option if you didn't want to full buffet.

        1. I eat here with my husband on occasion and we manage to find some common ground. This time of year, they usually have a nice selection of fresh fruit and he enjoys the meat selection. I do find though that places like this bring out the worst in people which is the reason I generally avoid it on busy evenings. Last time we went in, I watched a woman in line ahead of me lick her plate clean from her apparent first trip through the line. So, it isn't usually the food that scares me away.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Jambie

            There was a story recently about folks who load plate after plate of food in to "concealed" shopping bags to take home--in one case, a table of women of a certain age were busted for dumping into their bags the entire evening's supply of chicken wings, one plate at a time.

            1. re: bob96

              I would believe it because some of the amount of food on the plates is staggering to me. I have struggled with weight issues all my life so I'm certainly not qualified to be the food police but I find it easier to believe the food is being taken home rather than eaten at one sitting.

            2. re: Jambie

              You're right there Jambie, seems like (almost) everywhere you go these days there's that "hillbilly factor" to deal with.

              1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                Not just the hillbilly factor--plenty of well-dressed teens with plates filled with pizza and fries, followed by endless ice cream and that chocolate.

            3. I have to laugh whenever I see their commercial on TV...trying to make us believe that cotton candy trumps a chocolate fountain.

              1. I ended up at one in small town Kentucky about 15 years ago when we just weren't up for the one good strip mall Chinese place in town yet again. IIRC, I had a rotisserie chicken off the buffet, and it was no better or worse than typical grocery store rotisserie chicken.

                The chocolate wonderfall thing scares me though. Whenever I see a Golden Corral review pop up on Urbanspoon, there will be someone complaining about toddlers sticking their fingers in the wonderfall and then licking them off repeatedly.

                2 Replies
                1. re: beachmouse

                  I've seen that happen at a $29.95 "upscale" brunch. Those things are just four feet of nasty.

                  1. re: Samalicious

                    "Whenever I see a Golden Corral review pop up on Urbanspoon, there will be someone complaining about toddlers sticking their fingers in the wonderfall and then licking them off repeatedly."

                    Ew. I have never been to a Golden Corral (as far as I know there are none nearby) but the kids with their hands in the chocolate wonderfall would get b!tchsl@pped by me first, their parents second.

                2. Reminds me of The Simpsons episode when Homer buys Marge The "Kitchen Carnival " for Mothers Day. It has a cotton candy maker..deep frier..and caramel dipping station.

                  1. I find it pretty disgusting honestly but we go there every year for an end of the school year banquet. The kids eat it up (literally)! The food is not nearly as bad as I expected and its great people watching!

                    1. As poor as the quality of the chocolate is in those chocolate fountains, I would take cotton candy any day.

                      1. The funny thing is they are showing the commercials on TV and there aren't any of these places within 150 miles! Wonder how they stay in business when they throw out money like this on advertising.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: estnet

                          The one in New Braunfels,Tx is much better than the one in Universal city,Tx near San Antonio.The New Braunfels one is much bigger, more light and air,and their food doesn't seem to be so salty. To me their food is better. San Antonio finally has Ruby Tuesday, after advertising here for awhile.They maybe planning to put a Golden Corral in your area,.
                          I usually eat mainly the fresh salad for my dinner, plus veggies and some meat.Even the NB ones steaks aren't as salty as the UC ones.

                          1. re: estnet

                            It's called tonnage... They place a mass Cable network buy which even though they might hit some void, is cheaper than buying each individual market.

                            I will say though, I had the immediate thoughts of the OP... and then they opened one in a very asian area in So Cal with plenty of cheap and delicious dinner options around, and yet... there are lines out the door... Never underestimate the numbers of those people looking for just gut fill...


                          2. The goal is to break even on the men, make 1 or 2 dollars on the women and 2 or 3 dollars on the kids. Had to walk into a kitchen of a WELL KNOWN Asian all you can eat chain one time. Raw food including chicken piled on the floor. Young Chinese girls everywhere with looks on their faces like slaves begging for someone to take them away. Don't know about Golden Corral, but the whole scene is just not for me.

                            1. I wouldn't normally go to a Golden Corral but the last time I was in Springfield, MO, visiting my husband's family, that's where they wanted to go. I was actually pleasantly surprised. The buffet area was very tidy and all of the food seemed fresh. I wasn't terribly interested in their hot offerings but the salad bar was surprisingly excellent, with baby spinach, mixed baby lettuces, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and several other toppings that I would not have expected in Springfield. Best of all, NO ONE other than me was eating from the salad bar, so I didn't have to worry too much about dirty fingers in the food. If my choices were limited to a buffet place like this, I would choose GC over Ryan's or any of the others.

                              1. Golden Corral doesn't extend into the northern half of NJ where I live, but I went there once while on vacation. I found the experience rather disturbing because I saw so many people repeatedly piling their plates high with the cheap, tough and generally awful meat... and it occurred to me that perhaps they only occasionally got a chance at a full meal and hence they had to make the most of it regardless. It made me realize how relatively comfortable my life is (at least from food viewpoint) -- because I can pick and choose to eat only what I really like and can simply skip the awful stuff because I have other options every day.