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Golden Corral coming soon in Freehold

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  1. I never heard of them until they started sponsoring pro bowling a couple years ago. Given that demographic and their other sponsors (Motel 6, Dennys), let's just say my expectations aren't high!

    11 Replies
    1. re: ebchower

      And yet this thread has 62 replies for a "restaurant" experience that can be most likened to a college cafeteria.

      Says a lot about the future of locovores in NJ.

      High expectations are probably what you get after hitting it and then contemplating the chocolate waterfall...

      1. re: vikingkaj

        Not sure I am explaining this well, but you can't go in with high expectations. It is what it is. It doesn't mean that those who go, don't know anything about great food. Trust me, I frequent high end NYC restaurants regularly and know good from bad. Most folks on CH also know the difference between great cuisine and Golden Corral food. I would never go to GC often, but once in awhile it's a fun experience. Along with the not so good, there are usually a few pretty good items available,+ the kids really enjoy it. I have not been to the one if Freehold yet, but the one in FL has the best fried chicken livers, I'd just for them. The fried chicken is also usually pretty good. It's a complete 180 from the dining experiences I know are considered great. It's just something I find fun to do once in a blue moon.

        1. re: michele cindy

          C'mon, it's crap. So is White Castle, but that doesn't stop people from eating a bunch of them once in a while. I don't want to hear about their "Buying Power" either. I can't go to a Costco and buy "all the steak and shrimp I can eat" for 10.99. I wonder what grade the steak is? I'm sure it would be the lowest grade fit for human consumption.

              1. re: coldsolderjoint

                White Castle? Fried baloney on a bad biscuit they somehow refer to as a "burger?" Makes a McDonalds burger seem like Kobe Beef...

                1. re: coldsolderjoint

                  Nobody insults White Castle!!! I'm going to have some for lunch.

            1. re: vikingkaj

              ...and you can get 2nd's, AND 3rd's ! ! !

            2. re: ebchower

              I'm just sayin it's a college cafeteria. If your idea of good food is saga food service then go for it.

              1. re: vikingkaj

                Looks like they beat the Guest Meal Rates at Rutgers Busch/Piscataway....

                Rates below remain in effect from Fall 2013 through Spring 2014.

                Breakfast $8.00 plus 7% sales tax $8.56
                Lunch $11.50 plus 7% sales tax $12.31
                Dinner $17.50 plus 7% sales tax $18.73
                Brunch $11.55 plus 7% sales tax $12.31

                Rutgers Students are tax exempt by showing a valid student I.D.

                Children's Rate for guests 10 and under

                Breakfast $5.75 plus 7% sales tax $6.15
                Lunch $8.00 plus 7% sales tax $8.56
                Dinner $13.00 plus 7% sales tax $13.91
                Brunch $8.00 plus 7% sales tax $8.56

                Children over age 10 pay the regular guest meal rate.

                1. re: vikingkaj

                  This is timely given that Spring 2014 ends... Today!

            3. Is this another chain restaurant? Hope not...Freehold is going to be known as the "king of the Chains"...

              1. I visited my first Golden Corral in 1979 in Vero Beach, FL.. In the 27 years I lived there, I made maybe a dozen return trips. Not bad, not great, I never heard anyone rave about it or complain about it. Just one of those places that, for one reason or other, you stop in from time to time. I haven't been to another for at least 10 years, although there are a few here in GA. Not sure about their current offerings, but the salad bar and the baked potato bar were popular back in the day. They also made a pretty tasty hamburger.

                4 Replies
                1. re: grampart

                  Not a good sign when your Wikipedia page has a Salmonella section.

                      1. re: ebchower

                        But they have a chocolate waaaterfallll.

                        1. Any restaurant can be mismanaged. Not defending GC, but there are many GCs that are much cleaner than this.

                          GC corporate should be all over this, including replacing any and everyone who does or ignores this.

                          The local inspectors should immediately put this place on watch and do multiple unannounced visits.

                          1. I wonder if this is why we've been seeing more Ads on TV.

                            We stopped at one in North Carolina on a road trip down to Miami once. I thought it was pretty good for road food. Especially for the money.

                            But you know.. I agree with the others here, its just sort of a place you end up at once in awhile. And of course your going to have to accept the fact that most of the other patrons will have no idea what a calorie is or what fresh means. LOL

                            I've been waiting for the rumored Cracker Barrel to open up. Chicken and Dumplins!

                            1. I've been to one in MD on a number of occasions. For the money they charge it's a great buffet. Their rolls are killer.

                              8 Replies
                                1. re: equal_Mark

                                  Yep that's the one! Went there a few times visiting Fort Monmouth peeps...

                                  1. re: joonjoon

                                    I didn't know you were a Ft. Monmouth peep. Guess you decided to stay and find new employment, good for you!

                                    The only GC I've ever been to was in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. While it wasn't terrible you get what you pay for......what do they charge $10.99 for all you can eat? What can you really expect.

                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                      I'm not a Ft. Monmouth person but I had a few friends who worked there..

                                      Yeah seriously - but honestly for 10 bucks and change it's a pretty impressive spread. I went one time for AYCE ribs and it was kinda decent. Some times their steaks are even edible.

                                      Not bad for 10 bucks.

                                      1. re: joonjoon

                                        Oh so its going to be across from "Golden Bell Diner" or whatever that place is now called. Great. Another place to avoid in my town.

                                        1. re: shesallthat

                                          Same side as the Golden Bell, north of Three Brooks road.

                                    2. re: joonjoon

                                      I was given my "Retirement luncheon" there a couple years ago after opting out of a move to the culinary wasteland down in Aberdeen. I behaved and made an enjoyable time of it.

                                      Next time you are down there visiting Ft. Monmouth ex pats, take them to Mamies... http://www.mamiescafewithlove.com/

                                      1. re: equal_Mark

                                        Ah I'm glad you stuck with us =M! Aberdeen is indeed a culinary wasteland but there's some interesting stuff there. Mamies is by far my favorite joint in that area...have you tried their shrimp salad and crab cake club? Killer.

                                2. I went to Golden Corral once, in South Carolina.

                                  It's inexpensive. But so is cat food.

                                  5 Replies
                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                      LOL.. all you CAN eat or all you WANT to eat?

                                    2. re: drongo

                                      If you actually look at cat food on a per pound basis, it's not exactly cheap.

                                      Our cat is really fussy and will only eat the fancy brand. Unless you get it on sale it's like $4.75 a pound. (89 cents a can and 5.3 cans to a pound)

                                      This week Best Market in Holmdel has Nebraska Angus USDA choice NY strips for $ 4.99 a pound.

                                    3. You must live in the most god-foresaken wasteland for restaurants on the planet if you think Golden Corral is a YAY. Sorry.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Terrie H.

                                        I believe it was sarcasm.

                                        But since this is New Jersey, maybe the "god-foresaken wasteland" is not a bad description <gd&r>.

                                      2. Putting aside the nasty video for the moment... When we drive to FL we always end up a the Golden Corral in Royal Palm Beach. It's the only one I've ever been to. This one appears clean and I have never seen anything like shown in the video. Given that... the food isn't great, but you do find a few things on the buffet that are pretty tasty. My favorite, deep fried chicken liver. The banana pudding is also pretty good. While I do enjoy fine dining, GC is in it's own category. Kind of like the way White Castles are to burgers. They aren't a great burger, but they really can hit the spot when you are craving one. My family will be very excited to hear this and we will take the 1.5 hour drive to go this GC to give it a go. And yes like the other poster mentioned, a chocolate fountain is enticing to the kids but my favorite is the ayce cotton candy certainly making this certainly worth the drive!

                                        1. The latest on their Facebook page.

                                          We've had so many people ask us when we will be opening. We have a tentative date but because of the weather and other factors it is hard to give a final date. We can tell you that March is our expected month. Keep watching this page for more updates and when we get closer we will announce the Grand Opening date. Thanks to all our followers for making this page so popular, keep up the "Likes" and pass the word.

                                          1. A few years ago on vaction, we had a golden corral near the resort we stayed at. My daughters asked me about it and I told them that before they were born, when mommy and daddy didn't have much money, we walked into there to eat and walked right out because it is gross.

                                            They now refer to the restaurant as "Stinky Corral" everytime they see a commerical or the restaurant.

                                            Just thought I would share that with everybody.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: joestein

                                              In what way was it "gross"? Was that your only GC experience? Do you assume that they are all "gross"?

                                              1. re: grampart

                                                Yes, that is my one and only GC experience.

                                                I called it gross because the food I viewed on the buffet seemed very low quality.

                                                I have not seen or heard anything since that would change my mind.

                                                Apologies to any GC enthusiasts.


                                                1. re: joestein

                                                  I like Golden Corral! Their dinner rolls are top notch...I swear if they served 'em at a high end restaurant people would think it was the bees knees.

                                                  Their sauteed mushrooms are fantastic too.

                                                  1. re: joonjoon

                                                    They also have great fried chicken livers.

                                                    1. re: michele cindy

                                                      I didn't know they had those! I'd go to town on that.

                                                      1. re: joonjoon

                                                        I've only been to one GC in Royal Palm FL. Hoping they have them at the Freehold location.

                                                  2. re: joestein

                                                    Last year during the month of December, I took advantage of the warm weather(50-60*) and a low room rate at Caesar's Boardwalk to play some golf. I had heard GC was not bad from friends, so It was in my plans to give it a try. On the first day down, i finished golf a little too early to have dinner, so I went towards the hotel. Since I was by myself, I had no real desire to sit in a restaurant by myself, but I tried to see if I could get into Chef Vola's, however, it was closed. Whitehouse Subs was also closed due to renovations ...the after effects from Hurricane Sandy if I can recall correctly. Beaten down, I went to the Hotel and tried to see what my options were....Nothing hit me and I did not feel like driving over to the Borgata...so I ended up on premise at the Caesar's Buffet. It was something like $40 plus tax and gratuity. The food looked well presented, but it was fair at best. Inedible steak, cheap shrimp and overcooked everything else.

                                                    The next day after golf dinner at GC with drink was <$15. The steak was tender, the Fried chicken was excellent, a little salad and some Ice Cream. It was better than at Caesar's. If one were closer to me, I would have no problem going there for the food or convenience. I was pleasantly surprised by the operation, one particular cook and my server.....and left in a better mood than the previous night.

                                              2. So who here is going to TOFTT when they open?

                                                9 Replies
                                                  1. re: ebchower

                                                    Ohhhh my inner glutton will bring me there sooner or later. My only experience with them is from visiting family in rural Virginia, there is a GC in the nearest big city (about a 30 drive) and let me tell you, it's "the" place to go!

                                                    I've never found it to be offensive, besides some of the customers.

                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                      Now they are talking early May to open. There's also a White Castle on 18 that looks ready to open but hasn't so far. All these fine dining establishments playing cat and mouse. I can't take it much longer.

                                                      1. re: ebchower

                                                        Mmm... Chocolate showers AND fried baloney buns!

                                                    2. re: ebchower

                                                      Oh, I'll probably be there on opening day. My favorite restaurant is a buffet. And, I'll admit, my current favorite restaurant around here is Freehold Grand Buffet. Good sushi. Not the fanciest, but solid. I ate there on Sunday. Mostly ate sushi. Heck of a lot less money than eating at Tokyo up the road.

                                                      My second favorite is Teppanyaki Grill & Sushi Buffet in East Brunswick. Okay sushi.. sometimes pretty good. Enough of other stuff to keep me interested. Hibachi grill in back, along with carvable meats. Some very intriguing dishes that mostly only Asians would find interesting, (and lots of Asians eating there). And the prices are insanely low. Like I paid $6.38 for weekday lunch (with a coupon) before tax and tip.

                                                      1. re: MarlboroMan

                                                        How's the actual buffet food at the Freehold Grand Buffet? I used to go to the buffet in West Long Branch on 36 but it's too far and too pricey from what I remember.

                                                        1. re: Dinermite

                                                          Used to go to Freehold Grand Buffet all the time. Thought they were the best AYCE buffet in the area. Loved their crab legs. However, for the last couple of years it seemed to me their food quality has declined. Different supplier(s) or different cooks? Either way, they're not as good as they once were.

                                                          1. re: gigotz

                                                            I like it just fine. But I like to go there alone. I feel too rushed with my kids. One time we went there, filled up our plates, sat down, my daughter flipped out, we had to pay full price and leave.. argggh...

                                                            For dinner they serve decent sashimi as well as nigiris and creative rolls. The sushi there used to be a joke.. it was like.. roll out tray of rice, lay salmon on top, cut into rectangles.. but now it is actually decent, with a dedicated walk-up sushi bar.

                                                            I've seen lobster there occasionally as well. Sure, you see some bad reviews on Yelp, but I take Yelp with a grain of salt (or two). One time, coming back from picking up our 2nd daughter in Florida (adoption), we were looking for a place to eat, and there was a Sizzler, or something similar. I looked it up on Yelp. 2 reviews. Both 1 star. It couldn't be THAT bad! So, we went. It was actually pretty good for that type of restaurant. No, not 5 star cuisine, but sheesh, come on, Yelpers.

                                                            So, for me, I would rate Freehold Grand Buffet 5 stars.. good selection of tasty food at a reasonable price. Clean, staff is nice enough, and there's even a coupon on your iphone (Double Take Offers) for 10% off if you're paying cash.

                                                            Used to love the Marco Polo down the street, but that place is long gone, unfortunately. Only other Asian buffets around there are Tokyo Hibachi & Sushi, also in Freehold, which is decent, but a little pricier. You could still go there for lunch for $11.00, not eat sushi at all, and leave satisfied. There's more than enough to choose from.

                                                            1. re: MarlboroMan

                                                              I dislike buffet dining,....
                                                              But, "Fortune Buffet" in Toms River Rt 37 seems to be the front runner so far...IMO.


                                                    3. Does anybody know when this place is opening?

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: wench31

                                                        Nothing new on their Facebook page...


                                                        I originally heard a tentative date of May 20th.. but who knows..? And I can't remember where I read that now.

                                                        One thing that I find really cool is that besides Molly Pitcher and perhaps Bensi (who offers a Sunday Brunch), Golden Corral will be the only restaurant offering a breakfast buffet on the weekends (til 11 am). Their website advertises this for $7.99 including coffee and juice. Quite a bargain! I think I can eat 8 dollars just in bacon. :)

                                                        1. re: MarlboroMan

                                                          What's the chances the buffet will offer real scrambled eggs?

                                                          1. re: ebchower

                                                            50 / 50....or if they have an Omelet station...100%

                                                          2. re: MarlboroMan

                                                            The Mill in Spring Lake Hgts. has a Sunday Brunch Buffet.

                                                            1. re: SusieQQ

                                                              Hahahahahaha I'm sure the Mill in Spring Lake appreciates being mentioned in the same thread, or compared to the Golden Corral!! Look out Mill......!!!

                                                            2. re: MarlboroMan

                                                              I called up Golden Corral's headquarters and they say that the restaurant is aiming to open by Memorial Day Weekend.

                                                          3. I actually had lunch at the TGIF two stores down from the Golden Corral today. The sign is up "Opening Soon, Now Hiring" they were doing the landscaping and finishing outside touches. It would be my guesstimate based on what I saw today that they are withing two weeks of opening.

                                                            It must be the same land owner for the Corral, as the Bank and TGIF's, since the parking lot joins all three locations.

                                                            1. Golden Corral will be open Saturday May 24th.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: gigotz

                                                                Not too shabby of my estimate "within two weeks".

                                                                  1. re: wench31

                                                                    We went tonight. Total for 2 adults, a 5 year old, and a 17 month old: about $37 and change. Adults were $11.99 each. 5 year old was $5.99. Baby was free. Drinks were extra. Pepsi products. I love root beer, but they had really excellent sweet tea, so we had that. They also had horchata for an additional upcharge.. and some Jamaican punch drink.. weird. will try the horchata next time. Oh yes, there will be a next time.

                                                                    This is now the 5 year old's new FAVORITE restaurant. It now beats out IHOP and Bertucci's. Wait to get in was about 10 minutes for us. The line moved fast. When we left, though, line stretched considerably out into the parking lot.

                                                                    Yep, it was crowded. I did not get to sample everything. Didn't like the NE clam chowder much. Best parts of the meal were the honey teriyaki wings, steak, and chocolate fountain. Keep in mind I stay as gluten free as possible so no fried chicken, etc, and there were a lot of battered items, yet I found plenty to eat. BBQ chicken was great. Wings were all non-breaded, and very moist. Steak I thought was excellent for this type of place. Tender enough, well seasoned, cooked how I liked it. I asked for medium rare, expected well-done, got closer to rare. Very pleased. Great sear and flavor. Would go back just for the wings and steak alone.

                                                                    Looking forward to trying breakfast some weekend morning. Steak and eggs cooked to order!

                                                                    1. re: MarlboroMan

                                                                      I went on the same day you did! But, I went straight after school to avoid the long lines! Figured that's the only way to avoid standing in line! :). The early bird special is $8.99 till 4 pm. 7.99 if you're a senior citizen. Got there 3:50. The fried chicken was delicious! I loved the steak as well. Couldn't finish it. Had to share it with hubby. Dessert was great as well. Chocolate fountain was great and the cotton candy was nice as well. There were a lot of sugar free dessert as well and they were surprisingly good as well. By the time we were done, the line was starting to build up but it didn't go out the door yet. I want to try breakfast as well but not up to waiting on line. Maybe we will try it this summer out of town! By the way, IHOP took over Carina's in Howell and is now open.

                                                                      1. re: wench31

                                                                        I put down 5 plates plus a dessert plate.

                                                                        It seems like most of the line is the slow-down from people getting their drinks and then waiting to be seated right after paying. A guess its a corporate model, but seems like some more waiting room post cash register would be appropriate there.

                                                                        I know it was a mistake, but the Chinese food and Mexican options were bad.

                                                                        Meat loaf and the home style stuff was pretty good, especially considering the price.

                                                                        Teryaki wings where quite good for being all you can eat.

                                                                        Steak was surprisingly good for being a low priced buffet, a little on the salty side, but cooked well, and decent quality considering the price.

                                                                        I did not enjoy the fried chicken. Maybe I got a bad batch, the skin was both crispy and oily, and the meat inside was mushy. I felt bad for having the server through it away, but I did not enjoy it.

                                                                        I might be burned at the stake for saying this, but the pizza and garlic bread sticks were pretty good for being a buffet. And I know its not a fair comparison to a mom and pop red sauce place, but if you compare it to a place like CiCi's. Not bad at all.

                                                                        The yeast rolls where quite good. Similar to texas road house rolls. however, I tried not to fill up on bread.

                                                                        Although I didn't partake, the salad bar side of the buffet looked pretty fresh with lots of options.

                                                                        Chocolate Pudding tasted like it was straight out of a can. Banana pudding was quite tasty.

                                                                        Chocolate fountain was fun, but perhaps they could use a bit more employee oversight with unsupervised children since some parents can't be bothered to do such.

                                                                        Service was fast and efficient at clearing the plates and offering refills on soda.

                                                                        The two different soda options are confusing for a first timer. A regular glass and a large big-gulp style cup.

                                                                        Not sure what the policy on tipping them is? I left 20%.. maybe a bit much, but I've been in the service industry, and it didn't seem like many people where leaving tips.

                                                                        All in All, if they can keep the quality and cleanliness up, we will probably visit a few times a few times a year and strap on the old feed bag.

                                                                        1. re: coldsolderjoint

                                                                          I haven't been in quite a while but my favorite dish there is the sauteed mushrooms...anyone try those?

                                                                  2. Marlboro Man - what time did you get there? What do you think is a good time so we don't end up waiting in a huge line? I've only been to the GC in Royal Palm Beach FL, and their lunch differs from their dinner, for a few items. Wondering if anyone can report back on how the Freehold location differs.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: michele cindy

                                                                      Michele.. I would suggest getting there on the early side for dinner.. or do what we did this past Saturday.. we went for breakfast on Saturday, but got there kind of late (unintentionally).. paid for breakfast, and they started pulling breakfast items, so we got a little breakfast and a little lunch as well.

                                                                      So, I didn't get steak and eggs, or a made to order omelette, but at $7.99 for breakfast, including coffee and all the bacon I could eat, well, I find that pretty hard to beat.

                                                                      I think the initial excitement has worn off so the lines should be more manageable at this point, hopefully.

                                                                      Oh, and per Joonjoon, I tried the sauteed mushrooms. Yep, really good. Very buttery.

                                                                      For Father's Day the dinner price goes up a dollar. Not sure what that's all about. Either charging more because they can.. or.. maybe there's something special like prime rib?

                                                                    2. Yay????? Huh? My husband made me promise to shoot him if he ever suggested going there, and we don't even have guns!

                                                                      29 Replies
                                                                      1. re: zeldaz51

                                                                        I can't believe people are saying this shit is good.
                                                                        Mind = blown. How bad is the food in New Jersey?

                                                                          1. re: vikingkaj

                                                                            I haven't been to this GC, but I have found things I enjoyed even though they are not "good cuisine" at the one in Royal Palm FL.

                                                                              1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                                                The fact that this is one of the most popular threads really shocks me. Either this is some sick prank or some of our chowhounder's taste buds have been zapped. I can accept that they may have a few decent items, but what about the other 95% at the trough. Plus, this is a well known chain. I thought the idea of chowhound was to share the special finds serving quality food by passionate owners. Come on chowhound, end this madness already.

                                                                                And for the record, NJ has some fantastic spots. It seems that many aren't appreciated unless they serve huge portions at cheap prices. Thus the only reason Golden Corral is even discussed on this board. This just makes me sad.

                                                                                1. re: LifeGeek

                                                                                  There is an entire section devoted to Chains on Chowhound. It's all about finding something you like and really enjoy. If they had something I really enjoyed at this GC you bet I'd be there in a heartbeat regardless if 80% is not up to snuff. I haven't been there, but I'm willing to give it a shot to find out.

                                                                                  1. re: michele cindy

                                                                                    I still don't understand why it takes 115...er...116 messages, thanks to my latest contribution, to explain the offerings of a chain restaurant. By definition, most of them serve the same menu usually sourced from some generic food distribution center all aimed at keeping cost down so the can offer as much food to the masses as possible all for 9.95. It isn't that complicated. If you like shoveling as much down your gullet for the lowest possible price, then this is the spot for you. It isn't like they are going to offer up locally sourced produce or meat cooked by someone that has trained for years in a field that he is passionate about. Call me a quality over quantity guy. Very few chains can balance both although a few do try their best.

                                                                                    1. re: LifeGeek

                                                                                      I agree with what you saying but it's not the point I am trying to make. Have you ever eaten something that may not have been the best quality but enjoyed it just the same? My favorite fast food is a jack in the box taco. It's a good thing there aren't any nearby, I'd be in trouble. Are they good food? No but I would drive a good distance to have one. The GC I went to had decent fried chicken and really good fried chicken livers. Id love to have them along with an ayce salad bar (providing it was clean and we'll managed)

                                                                                      1. re: michele cindy

                                                                                        That's fair, but my point is that I would forgo the one or two items on a chain restaurant any day if it meant that something else opened in its place that served outstanding and interesting food. I'm really tired of mediocre chains serving subpar food when there are so many talented people that can't open a place because these chains artificially inflate prices due to their economy of scale. Put another way, it takes so much effort for a small business to survive even if their food is amazing. If a place like Golden Corral didn't have the support of the corporate office and was opened by an individual serving horrible food, it would close in a week.

                                                                                        We as consumers have to start demanding better food from chains and better consciousness. It is unacceptable to me that these guys can get away with having a few slightly ok items on the menu and stay open. I know one local guy that ran a well known restaurant on the shore that got destroyed by sandy. His food absolutely destroys anything you could get at the Golden Corral hands down. Yet, since he doesn't have the marketing and money of Golden Corral he is having trouble reopening. And we as consumers of great food suffer for it as well as the community.

                                                                                        1. re: LifeGeek

                                                                                          As a business and restaurant owner I can assure you if your local guy is still out of business since Sandy it is because he was either non or under insured. It isn't because Gold Corral ( or others ) are keeping him down.

                                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                            All fair points and I intend to find out later this week when we meet. Hopefully things will work out and he will be up and running again.

                                                                                            1. re: LifeGeek

                                                                                              Hopefully they do, I'm in the corner of the independent/family owned business / restaurant. I'm just not as critical towards GC because I do feel they serve a need at a certain price point most others do not.

                                                                                              From reading your posts on this topic, congratulations on being at a point in life were GC isn't a dining option for you or your family. Unfortunately you (and I) I think are in a shrinking number of people who can afford and want better when they dine out. GC serves a growing population who for $50. and under can take their family of 4 out to dinner for a decent/good meal.

                                                                                              That seems to be supported by the amount of interest this thread/topic has received on this board. If Chow is considered the "upper echelon" food site, and GC garners this much interest, that is evidence alone of the appeal of decent food at excellent prices.

                                                                                              Hey even though I'm not their prime demographic can I rule out never going there? Hell no. I'll tell you right now there will be a day/night where I've got my 16 year old son and a few of his friends and decide to take them there and let them loose. Rather than dropping a couple hundred at TGIF's on wings, salad, soup, entree', entree', entree' (yes growing boy's will eat multiple entree's) and desert. (Ok there will be a few martini's on the TGIF's check vs. GC)

                                                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                I grew up were going to a buffet was a huge deal and a rare 'treat.' I never liked the idea of this concept. I would always complain and ask why we couldn't eat at my grandmother's house like we normally did on weekends. Her food destroyed anything served at these places and at a fraction of the cost. I learned to cook from her and the ingredients usually came from the garden or through bartering with local farmers for food. I grew up extremely poor, but ate better than most people do today. Funny how I was made fun of back then for eating what today is considered expensive 'farm to table.' Call me old fashioned, but I think this type of eating isn't out of reach for most of us here in NJ. It just requires a little more effort, but not necessarily more cost.

                                                                                                1. re: LifeGeek

                                                                                                  Look I've enjoyed our conversation thus far but you cannot pull the "grandma" card !! Nothing compares to grandma's cooking, that goes without saying!!

                                                                                                  Funny many of my earliest cooking memories were with my grandmother who lived with us. She would start cooking 6am for Sunday dinners (Italian pot of gravy, meats and homemade pasta) and my uncles and cousins would come over around 3pm. Those were the days.

                                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                    Haha. Ok, I'll give you that one! I'll move on now to other matters as I'm sure people know our stance on the issue. This is what an open forum is all about. Open and frank discussion can lead to a positive outcome. Who knew a disagreement could get me some good advice on the restaurant business. Thanks again for offering the advice despite our disagreement.

                                                                                                    I will say that the world would have been a better place if GC stood for Grandma's Corral!

                                                                                                    Sorry had to get in one last jab...

                                                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                      Double meh on the grandmothers, both of my grandmothers were awful cooks. There are stories about my one grandmother and the first porterhouse my grandfather brought home. She cooked it like a pot roast.

                                                                                                      My grandfathers, on the other hand, were great cooks. Especially with wild fish and game. Amazing.

                                                                                                    2. re: LifeGeek

                                                                                                      Was the fact that your grandmothers food "destroyed" stuff served elsewhere a good thing? :-)

                                                                                                      1. re: equal_Mark

                                                                                                        It sure was! With the proliferation of how - to cooking shows and the Internet, there is really little reason that the average person can't produce high quality dishes at home. In NJ we are very lucky to have so much great ingredients avaliable to us locally. And a lot of these potential meals can be had at much lower costs than taking the family out to eat.

                                                                                                2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                  But we note that Golden Corral did not place their Monmouth County venture in Sea Bright...

                                                                                                  1. re: vikingkaj

                                                                                                    And maybe I don't have all the information correct. What happened to those that leased a space from someone without having equity in the building? There are many talented people that want to start businesses that are having a hard time getting a loan. For someone that wants to specialize in great food and craft beer, the liquor license alone are almost prohibitive for someone without financial backing. If you have expertise in this area, jr, I would love to get your advise. You might even get me to reverse my position on GC! ;)

                                                                                                    I'm hoping to do my part and help out with the financing side of things if the right opportunity presents itself. I know the insurance alone in highlands, NJ has pretty much crushed hopes of starting up there.

                                                                                                    1. re: LifeGeek

                                                                                                      While it is illegal in NJ to "lease" a liquor license, it is common practice for landlords who own a property and a liquor license to create a partnership or LLC with the tenant/operator which allows the operator to use the liquor license of the property owner. Generally the use of the license is compensated to the landlord through inflated rent. For example fair rent for the location might be $5,000. per month in an arrangement as exampled above the landlord might get $7,500 or $30,000 per year for use of the license. (generally more in NJ)

                                                                                                      I have owned several licenses out right over years and have also operated under arrangements similar to the above. I have an email address on my profile if you have any other questions please feel free to use it. I am NOT an attorney for full disclosure. lol

                                                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                        That is very helpful jr! I will get a little more information this week of his arrangement and email you next week. I'm very hopeful to help this person get back up and running as would many in the area and on this board would be I'm sure. Thanks so much for your help.

                                                                                                        1. re: LifeGeek

                                                                                                          Gotta be Twin Lights Taphouse that you've been referring to. Great food & Beer, plus a royal fucking over by Sandy & landlord.

                                                                                                          1. re: Herm

                                                                                                            Only LifeGeek could answer this for sure, but from what LG wrote about the place I doubt they hold/held a liquor license before.

                                                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                              I guess I'm just going on the craft beer comment. I'm also trying to think of a place with great food that closed, and hasn't reopened. Other than Bay Ave. Trattoria, I can't think of many more. I'd also like to point out that I am thinking the of the Atlantic Higlands - Sea Bright area.

                                                                                                              1. re: Herm

                                                                                                                Yeah I was trying to pinpoint the previous location myself with no luck. I had never dined at Bay Ave Trattoria.

                                                                                          2. re: michele cindy

                                                                                            "There is an entire section devoted to Chains on Chowhound. "

                                                                                            Right. So why isn't this thread on the Chains board?

                                                                                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                              Because it is focused on one particular restaurant in NJ.

                                                                                          3. re: LifeGeek

                                                                                            I believe the motto here is "Devorabit Omnibus Postulo Plus" which translates roughly to eat everything and get seconds.

                                                                                  2. I ate at Golden Coral last Saturday night, not in Freehold though, in Mt Airy NC. This wasn't my first time, I've been to this location a few times over the past couple years while visiting family in the area.

                                                                                    I really take exception to people just calling this food crap, it's honestly not at all. It might be fun to poke fun at it, it's price or it's customers. I like going there because I look rather petite in that crowd, but still to just call the place or customers or fans derogatory names is just wrong.

                                                                                    There is a price point for all kinds of restaurants, Golden Coral is on the absolute lowest price point of any dine in restaurant. It's an all you can eat buffet with a very large selection or variety of foods, including 5 oz servings of sirloin/strip steak.

                                                                                    It is truly remarkable the quality of the food for it being an all you can eat buffet. Nothing is gourmet, 75% of it is traditional continental comfort foods, meatloaf, pot roast, fried chicken, mashed potato's, Mac n cheese etc. Nothing most of us would ever order off a menu, but it's there it's good and it's $10.+- including drink. (I honestly don't even know what they exactly charge)

                                                                                    For $10. It's GOOD! Dare I say for $10. It's excellent. I defy anyone to show me a better alternative at this price point. I can tell you personally I have wasted far worse money on $50+ steaks, $10 baked potatoes and $12 Mac n cheese than what Golden Coral is serving.

                                                                                    There is a place in the world for dining at this price point, and for restaurants at this price point I think Golden Coral is about the best. If you are "above" dining at such places, good for you, but don't just ridicule those who aren't.

                                                                                    For a lot of people a night out with the family is about a lot more than just the sheer extravagance of the experience. Golden Coral offers an excellent value for those looking for one.

                                                                                    What's the chow saying, don't yuck someone's yum.

                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                      Golden Coral is an interesting place; first it is low quality in most respects, heavily tenderized meats, suspect seafood,
                                                                                      and the clientele, made up of a good percentage of "professional eaters", those who can, and do, comsume huge quantities of food. When I say huge quantities, I mean several plate loads of fried, creamed, fatty, over salted, sugary, (rather, high fructose Corn syrup) stuff!
                                                                                      There is no magic in restaurant service........In order to sell it cheaply, you must buy the ingredients even more cheaply. Quality must suffer as a result.

                                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                        Right now our early bird special is just $7.49 drink included. You heard that right: choose from all the delicious food you love and your drink is included for just $7.49!
                                                                                        It’s appetizers, farm fresh vegetables, and entrees like our slow roasted pot roast or our famous meat loaf… not to mention our new and improved Las Vegas-style desserts.

                                                                                        1. re: Tapas52

                                                                                          That's the senior early bird special.

                                                                                          1. re: Disneyfreak

                                                                                            They should make it FREE to eat at GC and optional to pay....like Bon Jovis "Soul Kitchen".....
                                                                                            see how well that goes...lol

                                                                                            1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                              Honestly I wouldn't even walk in there if it was free lol ... :-0

                                                                                              1. re: Tapas52

                                                                                                I'm surprised no one has yet said, "I could be starving to death and I wouldn't eat there".

                                                                                                1. re: grampart

                                                                                                  crack. this thread is pure crack - draws you in and doesn't let go.

                                                                                                  How it's over 160 replies and good local chow topics are lucky to get a dozen replies is sad.

                                                                                                  1. re: Foody4life

                                                                                                    " How it's over 160 replies and good local chow topics are lucky to get a dozen replies is sad. "

                                                                                                    A mathematician would use the term "Least Common Denominator". LOL

                                                                                                    1. re: Foody4life

                                                                                                      Your reply adds one more, and the thread marches on... :-)

                                                                                                      1. re: Foody4life

                                                                                                        Funniest thing I've read on CH in a long time. I'm wiping my eyes from crying, laughing so hard.

                                                                                                        1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                          The "Early Bird Special" kinda reminds me of when we stopped in to "Mom's Griddle" restaurant about a week ago. Okay, $7.49, including a beverage, is a bargain. For seniors. I thought an "early bird special" was supposed to be a bargain. Well, it's not the case at "Mom's Griddle". Nope, their "Early Bird Menu" from 3-6 pm only ranges from about $10.99 - $16.99. No bargains there. I went with corned beef hash and eggs, which was actually really good.

                                                                                            2. I wonder if they'll let you byob here...that would be epic.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                                very good question......But I do not plqan to ever go back.......

                                                                                              2. Gave it a try for lunch yesterday. I've been to Hometown Buffet and Southern Smokehouse in Linden. I thought GC was more like a cafeteria and less cozy. That whole thing about buying your drink at the register is awkward. Some instructions from the cashier would have been helpful such as "have a seat and a server will be with you" or "you are free to help yourself." I did the latter.

                                                                                                I thought the meat selections were ok. Tried the pot roast, meat loaf and several kinds of chicken. But the pizza and dinner rolls were ice cold. Wanted to try a steak, but didn't see any. I guess you have to ask for it? Several empty dishes accumulated before anyone approached to take them away. A cup of coffee would have hit the spot with dessert. Hometown provides that self serve. But I didn't see it here and didn't feel like asking. Took some pudding, a cookie and just had to stick a Rice Krispy treat in the chocolate fountain. The weekend breakfast might put a hurting on the Perkins across the street. I'd give that a try before going back for dinner.

                                                                                                The whole experience left me a little cold compared to other places like it. Management should do something to make sure there's a little more interaction with customers. Maybe greeting them when they come in, or after they pay. Even a word or two from the workers tending to the buffet as people are filling their plates. It had a very standoffish vibe.

                                                                                                22 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: ebchower

                                                                                                  Chew and screw? LOL

                                                                                                  I agree about the drink situation. VERY awkward place to locate the drinks.. they couldn't have had the foresight to plan that better? It inconveniences both the people waiting in line as well as the people trying to get drinks. Try doing it with a 5 year old and a 17 month old strapped into a high chair (that would be me!)

                                                                                                  There's one of two possible solutions: either separate the drink section from the line entirely, or have the servers bring your drinks. After all, if you want a refill, they bring you that.. why can't they bring your initial drink? Oh yeah.. you have to pay for it first. What.. are they afraid people will skip out on the bill?

                                                                                                  So, you decide what size drink you want, and they give you a token or something, and you turn that in for your drink.

                                                                                                  For a company that's been in business since 1973 with 500 locations, you'd think they'd have a better system.

                                                                                                  1. re: MarlboroMan

                                                                                                    Only thing I can think of is that maybe in other areas of the country, its not a problem?

                                                                                                    I remember going to one in North Carolina a few years ago with a very similar set up, but I don't recall having any of these problems.

                                                                                                    I went to a Bob Evans in Florida once for breakfast, and it was though the staff thought I was planning on spending the entire morning there. And that seemed to be the status quo.

                                                                                                  2. re: ebchower

                                                                                                    I think the steak is available only for dinner. They call it sirloin, though it's hard for me to see how they manage that at their price point. But perhaps it's Standard or Commercial grade?

                                                                                                    1. re: drongo

                                                                                                      Pasteurized process marinated beef product

                                                                                                        1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                          Comes in a baggie full of tenderizer and a flavor enhancing solution, controlled 5 oz portion. The line cooks just pop it on the grill.

                                                                                                          Since it is fully permeated with chemicals and retained solution it is difficult, but not impossible, to overcook.

                                                                                                          Don't go anywhere near a black light after eating too many since you may glow in the dark.

                                                                                                          1. re: vikingkaj

                                                                                                            I'll repeat....and you know this how? Portion control is nothing new to the restaurant industry...nor the home retail market. Some of the finest and busiest restaurants in the country use them.

                                                                                                            for the record, anything can be overcooked easily and no solution or chemical will reduce that possibility.

                                                                                                      1. re: drongo

                                                                                                        Meat does not have to be graded, even if it's Prime quality to sold retail, wholesale or served in restaurants.

                                                                                                        I know of nos such thing as Standard or Commercial Grade by the USDA

                                                                                                          1. re: Herm

                                                                                                            I stand corrected....I always considered it utility

                                                                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                              Sure it does, scroll down about halfway. It's there in black & white Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial & Utility.

                                                                                                              1. re: Herm

                                                                                                                sorry, I don't like the tone of my last post, and didn't get back in time to edit. I'm not trying to be confrontational - just hungry!

                                                                                                              2. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                The link provided by Herm does list Standard and Commercial in some of the tables. And even a lower Utility grade. I don't know whether these grades exist in practice. I found the Standard and Commercial listed in another document -- I don't have any expertise in meat grading myself.

                                                                                                          2. re: drongo

                                                                                                            Having just been to the GC in Mt Airy NC last week I can personally attest to the fact the steak is edible. Quality? I couldn't say that but better than anything at TGIF or Ruby Tuesday etc. They only serve 5oz portions per trip to the station, so I had 3-4 pieces and it wasn't that bad. I put some of their private label A-1 on those bad boys and chewed them up. They weren't that "chewy" either, I was very pleasantly surprised by the steak.

                                                                                                            An even bigger surprise were their wings and fried chicken, both were good to very good.

                                                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                              "I don't always eat steak, but when I do, I back it up with fried chicken & wings". Sounds like a plan.

                                                                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                Do they have a GC in Mount Pilot? I would insert smiley face but I just don't do that.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                    Not too familiar, but way back I was driving between Raleigh and Mount Pilot and I got caught in a speed trap. Some wacky deputy threw me in jail on a trumped up charge with a drunk guy. While the deputy was on the phone with Thelma Lou, or was it Juanita Ramsey, I noticed the keys were in arms reach and I skeedaddled out of town. The drunk guy never woke up, and the deputy never looked up. Funny thing, I never saw a Golden Corral but a nice lady named Ain't Bea brought me the best fried chicken I've ever had before my escape. Do you think Golden Corral uses Ain't Bea's recipe, maybe just in North Carolina? Never did catch the name of that little town.

                                                                                                                      1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                        I think I've been there. Was it Goober or Gomer at the filling station?

                                                                                                                        1. re: vikingkaj

                                                                                                                          Didn't catch the name but he said his cousin had gone off and joined the Marines and the sheriff was off to California to check on him.

                                                                                                                1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                  Are all Golden Corrals near a race track like this one? (Thinking about that price point thing)

                                                                                                              2. After reading this post, I ventured to our local GC for the first time. i do not, ordinarily, eat at chains,but I was curious. For lunch, I had a fried chicken thigh, spoonful of mashed potatoes, collards,and iced tea. It was all perfectly acceptable, but since I don't eat a huge amount, the $12 charge seemed high.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                  You are exactly the customer GC hopes comes through their doors....one who finds it satisfactory or acceptable...and one that doesn't eat till they explode....or take more than they can eat, wasting food.

                                                                                                                2. Who wants to eat at a place named for a location full of livestock poop, gold-plated or not?

                                                                                                                  1. Passed by yesterday at around 4pm.....it was packed, parking lot overfull people parked out on rt 9 AMAZING!!

                                                                                                                    I still haven't tried a GC and probably will be a long time before I ever do if at all..just not my thing.

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Tapas52

                                                                                                                      I liked it, we've been there twice, we'll likely go back again. I considered going there today for lunch with my youngest daughter, but we went to Freehold Grand Buffet instead for a number of reasons.. it's slightly less money, it's MUCH easier to get seated with a high chair, it's less crowded, it's closer, etc. Oh, and they have sushi. Can you imagine GC having sushi? It's actually kind of a scary thought. :)

                                                                                                                      But would I park on Rt. 9 if the parking lot was full? Not even if it was free and they were giving out lobster!

                                                                                                                      1. re: MarlboroMan

                                                                                                                        Been to Marco Polos a few times when it was open with dad (90) he likes it,.....but Grand Buffet was a turn off never again.food was below standard for us.

                                                                                                                        I dislike Chinese buffet dining but if forced to go
                                                                                                                        Fortune Buffet on rt37 in Toms River is decent.


                                                                                                                        1. re: MarlboroMan

                                                                                                                          Hey no one beats Golden Corrals spam bar. I would take that over sushi any day.

                                                                                                                      2. never underestimate the culinary tastes of the average American, even so called 'foodies'. Damn, what is going on here that this thread won't DIE and disappear as it should????

                                                                                                                        141+ posts for this garbage???? Spin it all that you want. Mediocre will always be mediocre. And with good beef going for what it does these days, ever wonder wtf are you folks eating when you "mmmmmmmm', that's a pretty good steak.

                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: ParadiseWaits

                                                                                                                          Did you actually read the post entries Paradise? Most of them aren't even about GC.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Herm

                                                                                                                            Herm, why would I read every post on this thread? I've skimmed it (anytime it finds its way to the top) and I've become nauseated. A question though. why do you think people veer off topic? ADD addled? or to quote Lennon 'everybody's talking but no one says a word.' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBCdlB...

                                                                                                                            1. re: ParadiseWaits

                                                                                                                              .....or better to say nothing and be thought a fool, then to open ones mouth and remove all doubt.

                                                                                                                          2. re: ParadiseWaits

                                                                                                                            Lots of folks like the meatloaf at GC. Since it's your favorite comfort food, you ought to give it a try and report back. You might just "mmmmmmmmm" over it, but probably wouldn't want to admit it.

                                                                                                                            1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                              I doubt that very much. Maybe Joe Romanowski's version - yes. But GC - no thank you.

                                                                                                                              Plus, they cannot make it any better than my wife's version at the homestead. That 'favorite' of mine in the bio is the real deal and that's the sides we ALWAYS have (no corn, no green beans) - just limas (preferably 'fresh Jersey' which we get from about Aug - Nov (and which we will freeze) along with cucumber in a vignarette. The ultimate.

                                                                                                                              1. re: ParadiseWaits

                                                                                                                                Unfortunately, no one will be enjoying Chef Romanowski's meatloaf anymore.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Herm

                                                                                                                                  And the world is that much poorer. But I still have my dear wife's version. And that's something to truly look forward to (when the weather cools)

                                                                                                                          3. To all the folks bitching and moaning about why this thread has gone on so long, as someone who has been online well before there was an internet (Fido BBS and other packet carriers): AS LONG AS YOU KEEP BITCHING ABOUT IT IT STAYS ALIVE.

                                                                                                                            Shut up! Don't reply. If you see new posts to the thread DON'T READ THEM. Let it go... Is it really that hard? Feh.

                                                                                                                            1. I tried out the breakfast/brunch this weekend. If I go back, it will be for this and not the dinner. The only thing I didn't care for was the smoked sausage. Sampled the scrambled eggs, biscuits, pancakes, french toast, bacon and hash browns. All decent and the coffee was good, There was much more available that what I tried. Sliced ham, chicken and individual servings of Kelloggs cereals to name a few. Everything had the calorie count posted, which is like passing out bibles on the Vegas strip. I settled on a piece of fruit for dessert.