Archive for the ‘Buffets’ Category
Name of the town is Bigfoot. No relation to the legendary monster whom we never see, because Noah didn’t let him on the ark. Along with the dinosaurs.
Blink and you’ll miss Bigfoot. There’s a cemetery. A used car dealer. A closed manufacturing facility of some sort, and a “Welcome to Illinois” highway sign. The Bigfoot High School is in Walworth, WI, a few miles north.
Bigfoot is also home (since the mid 1940s) to the Bigfoot Inn, a survivor of a dying breed of restaurants in the Upper Midwest we call “Supper Clubs,” which wikipedia defines as “a dining establishment generally found in the Upper Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Iowa. These establishments typically are located on the edge of town in rural areas.”
Supper clubs became popular during the 1930s and 1940s, and generally feature “simple” menus with somewhat limited offerings featuring “American” cuisine. Menus include dishes such as prime rib, steaks, chicken, and fish. An all-you-can-eat Friday night fish fry is particularly common at Wisconsin supper clubs.
Full meals are quite inclusive, starting with a relish tray, cracker basket or rolls and butters, and entrees generally include soup, salad, starch and vegetable. Some establishments even include dessert.
The Bigfoot Inn is no exception to the aforementioned generalities, but their menu is quite extensive, features daily and nightly specials, and offers an AYCE champagne brunch on Sundays. The establishment is open seven days, has a large, full bar, and video gambling machines.
Spoiler alert. Was I ever impressed! Our server “the guy from Elkhorn,” was informed and attentive without being intrusive. He knew the menu and the area well. He boasted that everything was made from scratch, and after eating (btw, servings are HUGE), I had no reason to doubt his claim. I over ordered, because there were so many good things on the menu.
Started with appetizers of saganaki (flambed cheese, a Chicago thing) and perfect onion rings, large cut, nice breading, mildly seasoned, fried perfectly.
Along with the appetizers came complimentary crackers, rolls, butter, and cheese spread (another geographical thing). Soup? Yes please, and a tale from the server of when he met the actual “Soup Nazi.” Salad, with a wide choice of dressings, and then the entree; they come with vegetables and a choice of many different starches. With my Wienerschnitzel Holstein style, I went with steak fries. Couldn’t finish the steak or the even start on the fries, was too full with the prelims.
Also at the table, perfectly grilled, inch thick pork chops, a huge spud with all the fixins’ brought without asking.
$70 for two dinners, two appetizers, an adult beverage, and worth every nickle. Actually, I think the place is under priced, but don’t tell them.
Will I return? You bet. The bottomless champagne brunch (Sundays only) is around $13! Egad! The Washington Times did an interesting bit on Wisconsin supper clubs. I was recently at another, “Donny’s Girl,” which apparently I didn’t write about. It was out in the sticks, kinda hard to find, but worth the trek.
I’ve been in a Pizza Hut maybe three times in the past ten years, once in a small town in Western Kansas, the place was filthy, the pizza worse. I liked Pizza Huts in China, tho, it was before the Chinese became amenable to liking “cheese” and the menus said the pies had “melted topping.” Selections were ample and the salad bar (which the Chinese adored) was always well stocked.
Went into a Godfather’s Pizza Buffet a few years ago, and that was dreadful. Pizza Ranch, a fast growing chain based out of Iowa, has so-so pizza, but drop dead fried chicken and a lot of other choices. And it’s a good value.
Round Table, based in California, has a pretty fair buffet.
But Pizza Hut? At least this one? Ugh.
They had six pizzas out, nothing exotic, either standard thin or thick crust. I went in because I thought it would give me the opportunity to sample some of the innovations they have been bragging about lately – stuffed crusts, added flavors, blah blah. But this operator was interested in minimizing costs and maximizing revenue, so choices were pretty basis. There was a single bin of plain spiral pasta and plain red sauce to accompany it. One bin of “dessert bread sticks.” No salad. No chicken. I expected wings, since Pizza Hut has that whole “Wing Street” thing going. Buffet price, without drink $6.99 plus tax and gratuity.
I had a slice of sausage, a slice of pepperoni, one with pork pellets, one with ‘everything’ and one with cheese. The plain cheese was the best, despite being drastically under-cooked. To me, Pizza Hut just doesn’t taste like much. It will always be in a three-way tie for pizza of last resort with Dominos and Caesar’s.
The joint was clean. The help was friendly. They seem to have some ‘regulars,’ at least based on overheard conversations.
It is next door to a KFC which was empty at high noon. No buffet there. KFC buffets are kind of hard to find, but they can be a real treat!
The basic menu is below, I notice they have “rebranded” their specialty pies as “Flavor recipes,” and I also see they no longer offer salads or other alternatives at all. But speaking of rebranding, remember about 5 years ago or so, they made a big hubbub about how they were going to become just “The Hut?” Whatever happened to that? It was about the same time Radio Shack announced they were going to start calling the stores just “The Shack,” but that ultimately changed into “The location permanently closed.”
(This is from our archives, check on whether they are open before making the drive).
I am in buffet heaven, if there is such a thing. I’ve previously written about a couple; I hit the other two “main attractions” in the past few weeks.
Number one, in all manners of speaking, was the House of Seafood Buffet, at 81790 Highway 21, in Bush, Louisiana. Like most restaurants in these parts, they are open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and they live up to their name. There used to be a restaurant in my hometown whose slogan was “If It Swims, We Have It,” and I think the same could be said for the House of Seafood. In addition to the usual fried entrees you will find at any indigenous restaurant, locally, the HOS has boiling pots a brewing, and you will find ample boiled seafood selections to go along with your other choices. They also have very respectable beef dishes, delectable fried chicken, and a whole host of salads and sides, as well as the traditional desserts in the area.
The second stop was the Ole South Seafood and Buffet, at 15273 Highway 21 South, in . Boasting similar opening days and hours as the HOS (but I believe Ole South is open on Sundays, call first), and a cavernous three room dining hall, the Ole South runs a distant second to HOS in my opinion – for selection, at least, but not for quality. Both restaurants prepare their food fresh, and Ole South also has a carving station with ham and beef, which HOS did not. Ole South has probably half the serving table size as HOS, but has accompanying prices which are less.
I’ve never been much of a buffet person, but I like these places, and there should be some of these in the city. We seem to have dozens of Asian buffets in (the best, by far, is Oki Naga in Metairie, IMHO), but none of these “local dish” places. I’m curious as to why. It may well be the cost of rent, because these places in the hinterlands are huge.
I didn’t ask the prices before I went in, and since waitresses at both restaurants asked if we wanted the “buffet” I assume menu items are available as well. Seems like if you deduct the price of your beverage (HOS has pitchers of tea on the table, Ole South has waitresses pouring, but they get busy), I would guess that HOS runs about $15 per person, and Ole South about $12. Both are good values, but I would return to HOS, and probably not to Ole South. Just personal preference.
Sidebar: Another recent stop was in Angie, Louisiana, at Stuart’s Café, which is open from 5:30AM til 9PM daily. I don’t know when they get to rest with those hours, and we could certainly use a place with similar hours in Mayberry, where most restaurants aren’t open early in the week. I had the “double meat cheeseburger” at $4.00, and for one of the very few times in my life, I couldn’t finish it – it was huge.
But I was intrigued by another menu item, which I’ll have to check out next time: “meat on toast.”
Doesn’t that just set your mouth a’waterin’?
New Orleans Seafood
I’m not ashamed to say I like AYCE buffets. Especially at breakfast, where I often find my plate full of a half dozen different processed pork breakfast meats and little else. But I also like seafood buffets, and I stumbled into a doozy in Southern Mississippi, 12 miles south of the State Capital on Highway 49.
I suspect Berry’s Seafood and Catfish House has been around forever, but in Florence (they have one other location), they are in obviously new and massive digs.
There are “hot bars” and “cold bars,” with fried and boiled shrimp, fried and broiled or blackened catfish, and everything in between, including beautiful salads and desserts. Fried chicken, too. More detail on the lunchtime menu can be found right here’ya. Lunch and dinner are slightly different prices, but count on around $30 for two persons.
Special nights add crab legs to the buffet, and an ala carte menu, which includes steaks and sandwiches, is available for lighter eaters.
There’s no alcohol available, and the dozen or so large screen TVs are generally blaring religious music and messages – just sayin’, if that kind of thing is not your cup of tea.
As for me? Did somebody say all you can eat catfish? I’d put up with karaoke for that!
Berrys Seafood and Catfish Buffet
Had an occasion to need appetizers this week, but didn’t have time to make them. A local Chicago company, Supreme Lobster and Seafood, sells quality heat and eat appys to bail you out of just such a jam.
Picked up their bacon wrapped scallops and their lobster rangoon won tons. Both could be ready in less than 20 minutes in a conventional oven.
Sometimes with ‘bacon wrapped’ items, it seems like the bacon seldom gets to a satisfactory “done stage,” but such was not the case with the Supreme product. Although these weren’t ‘bay scallops,’ they also weren’t full size sea scallops; they may have been the latter cut into manageable portions. In any case, the bites had a great flavor.
As did the lobster rangoon won tons, a dollop of lobster ‘salad’ (with cream cheese) inside a crispy won ton, and yes, the pastries do puff up and get nice and crispy.
For these type of appetizers in the frozen food section of your grocery, expect to pay in the range of $1 per appetizer, which is competitive with any brand.
Should you need massive quantities, try a company like AppetizersUSA, which has a very diverse offering and different quantities to get shipped directly to you.
(The scallop products are manufactured for Supreme Lobster by Golden Phoenix Foods of St Louis, a company specializing in Asian appetizers and nibbles).
The plant, pictured below, is about a mile south of downtown off I-55.
Supreme Lobster & Seafood has a retail outlet in suburban Chicago, should you be in need of all manner of fresh and frozen seafood and fish. Store details.
Supreme Lobster Appetizers
Veteran’s Day is officially Wednesday, November 11, 2015.
2015 Free Meals
(These deals are at participating locations; strongly suggest you call ahead to double check and ask whether military ID is required!)
At participating Applebee’s on 11-11-2015, Veterans and Active Duty Military can select a free meal from a limited menu for Veteran’s Day. Provide proof of service required.
Bar Louie Free Lunch or Dinner
On Wed., Nov. 11th, 2015 every Bar Louie location across the country will offer veterans and military personnel a free meal up to a $12 value when they show valid military I.D. or other proof of service.
Buffalo Cafe Free Meal
Another place to eat free this Veterans Day is Buffalo’s Cafe, located in three US states.
California Pizza Kitchen Free Meal
Stop by a participating on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 to choose a pizza, full size salad, or pasta from the special Veterans Day Menu when you dine-in.
Carrabba’s Free Appetizer
All active and retired veterans receive a free appetizer at participating locations on Monday, November 9th through Sunday, November 15th.
Cattleman’s Free Steak Dinner
Active, inactive, and retired military personnel can come into Cattlemens and get a free Small Sirloin Steak Dinner on Veterans Day.
Chili’s Free Meal
From special Vet’s menu
One free half pound sandwich platter will be given to each veteran for either dine-in or carryout orders on 11-11-2015. At participating locations only.
Cotton Patch Free Meal
Free meals to veterans of Veterans Day. Choice between a chicken fried steak or chicken fried sandwich.
Denny’s Free Grand Slam
On Wednesday, November 11th, all active, inactive and retired military personnel at all participating Denny’s restaurants nationwide will receive a free Build Your Own Grand Slam breakfast.
FATZ Cafe salutes our Veterans and Active Military with a free entrée on Veterans Day. On Nov. 11 from 11 AM to close present your Military ID and enjoy a free world famous Calabash Chicken meal.
Fox & Hound Free Meal
Stop into a Fox & Hounds on Wednesday, November 11 for a free meal or beverage (up to a $10 value) for all veterans and active duty military.
Friendly’s is treating veterans and active military, with a valid military ID or honorable discharge card, to a free dine-in breakfast, lunch or dinner from select menus on Veteran’s Day, 11.11.15. The breakfast choice is their Big-Two-Do’s® array of breakfast options, and the lunch and dinner option is the All American Burger with fries and a beverage (soda, iced tea or hot beverage).
On Wednesday November 11, 2015, Golden Corral offers a free sit-in “thank you” dinner for Military veterans, retirees, and active duty members.
Grub Burger Bar
Veterans, Retired Military, and Active Duty members with a military ID will receive 50% off of their meal, plus a free Caramel Apple shake for Veterans day this year on Wed. 11/11/2015.
Hoss’s Family Steak & Sea House Free Meal
Hoss’s is serving up their “American Value” meals absolutely free for veterans on Wed., Nov. 11th, from 11 A.M. to 9 P.M. Valid I.D. is required
JJs Red Hots All You Can Eat
Both locations of JJ’s Red Hots in North Carolina are letting active duty military and veterans enjoy a free all-you-can-eat special all day long on Wednesday, November 11.
This Veterans Day free meal consists of an unlimited supply of hot dogs, sausages, sides, and non-alcoholic drinks.
Max & Erma’s Free Cheeseburger Combo Meal with Dessert
On Veterans Day, participating Max & Erma’s locations are celebrating veterans and active military personnel with a free three course combo.
McCormick and Schmick’s Free Entree
On Sunday, November 8th, 2015 enjoy a complimentary entree. All veterans must show official verification. Entrees must be enjoyed at the restaurant.
Veterans and active-duty military will get a free sandwich after the National Anthem at noon on Veterans Day.
Longhorn Steakhouse Free App
Receive a complimentary Texas Tonion appetizer and a non-alcoholic beverage on Nov. 11. Includes veterans and current service members.
Max & Ermas Free Meal
Free cheeseburger combo for dine in.
Mission BBQ Free Sandwiches
After a live performance of the National Anthem at noon on Veterans Day, November 11,Mission BBQ locations will be giving away free sandwiches to active-duty military and veterans.
MOD Pizza – Free pizza
In honor of Veterans Day, all MOD Pizza locations will be giving out free pizza or salad to veterans.
This free Veterans Day offer is valid on Wednesday, November 11 only
O’Charley’s Free Meal
On Monday, November 9th, all veterans and all active-duty military personnel will have their choice of one of nine meals on the O’Charley’s “$9.99er” menu. Options include O’Charley’s Famous Chicken Tenders & Twisted Chips, Cowboy Sirloin, Homestyle Chicken Pot Pie and Santa Fe Tilapia, among others.
Olive Garden Free Meal
On Wednesday, November 11, 2015 all veterans and military active duty will receive a free meal from a special menu including entrees, freshly baked garlic breadsticks and a choice of unlimited soup or salad.
All veterans, retired and active-duty military personnel receive a free cup of froyo, up to 11 ounces, on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11. To claim the offer, customers should provide proof of military service, such as a military ID card, uniform photo, honors, badges, or come dressed in their military uniform.
Outback Steakhouse Free Bloomin’ Onion® and a beverage
All active, retired military and veterans get a Free Bloomin’ Onion® and a beverage on Veterans Day. Must have valid identification. There is also a military discount of 15% off the total check from November 12th thru December 31st, 2015, valid for military members and their families.
Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse – free buffet from 4P til Closing on Vets day.
Veterans and active duty military get a free sandwich from 4 PM to close on 11/11/15.
Red Lobster Free App
Service members past and present receive a complimentary appetizer or dessert from a special menu. Proof of service required. Valid Monday, November 9 through Thursday, November 12, 2015.
Red Robin Free Burger & Fries
Veterans and active duty military can stop into Red Robin on Tuesday, November 11 to get a free Red’s Tavern Double burger and Bottomless Steak Fries
Sammys Woodfired Pizza and Grill
On Wednesday, November 11, Woodfired Pizza & Grill is celebrating Veterans Day by offering veterans and active service members one of two free selections.
With a valid military ID, you have the choice between hummus served with grilled herb flatbread or garlic cheese bread.
Sheetz Free Sandwich
Sheetz convenience store locationswill be giving veterans and active military members a free lunch on Wednesday, November 11.
The Veterans Day free meal will include a 6 inch turkey sub and a fountain drink.
Shoney’s Offers Free All-American Burger
Shoney’s says ‘Thank You’ to America’s heroes by offering a Shoney’s All-American Burger and fries to all Veterans and Active Duty Military members on Veterans Day, 11 November 2015.
Veterans and active-duty military eat free on Veterans Day.
Tubby’s Free Sub
Veterans and active duty military members can get a free small Grilled Steak N’ Cheese or Tubby’s Famous Sub
Village Inn Free Breakfast
All who have served get a free breakfast on Veterans Day. Choose between Buttermilk Pancakes, three slices of French Toast or a Belgian Waffle. Village Inn is also thanking veterans with a “Thank You for Your Service Card”, which is a 20% discount off the total bill for the next time they visit a Village Inn.
Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse – free buffet from 4P til Closing on Vets day.
Wienerschnitzel – Free chili dog and small Pepsi on Vets day.
More locations and benefits can be found at:
Free Veterans Day Meals 2015
Spoiler alert: Best……Asian…….Buffet…..anywhere……..The Teppanyaki Grill & Supreme Buffet doesn’t actually offer Teppanyaki (cooking at the table), but there’s not much else it misses. It has one of the largest selections of food I’ve ever encountered in one of these places, including every kind of seafood, noodle, rice dish, soups, American foods, a custom grill where the chef stir-fries ingredients you choose, myriad sushi selection and desserts, desserts, desserts.
Dinner (and all day weekends) is $12.99, less at other times, less for seniors, less for children.
This was a family outing and I don’t take pics at family things, but there are plenty of attractive food photos on the restaurant’s website. On site banquet hall available for private gatherings, as well.
Recommended in spades.
Teppanyaki Grill & Supreme Buffet Review
A local restaurateur, Marno McDermott, founded a fast food chain called Zapata (later Zantigo) which gave Taco Bell a pretty good run for the money,and was eventually assimilated by various Taco Bell parent companies and vanished. There are a half dozen “new” Zantigo’s in the Twin Cities these, started by former employees.
TV Ad for the “New” Zantigo
TV Ad for Chi-Chi’s Buffet
Our hang out was the local outlet of the California chain “El Torito,” on Highway 12 in Golden Valley. We hit the happy hour quite often,cheap drinks and a free buffet were the perfect combination for youngsters in the local media biz.
Point is, I purchased some Chi Chi’s corn chips the other day, hadn’t had them before, and I quite like them. They are a little easier on the salt than many brands, and have a ‘lighter’ taste. They could become a regular entrant to the “Ameri-Mexican” foods in the pantry here – usually I make my own corn chips, but these are A-OK.
Chi-Chi’s Corn Chips Review
This small VFW post does whatever it needs to in order to maintain their solvency and funds for projects; they have found a niche with breakfast, dinners, and events for the community and environs.
The third Sunday of each month, they have an AYCE breakfast, loaded up with French toast, biscuits, hash browns, SOS, sausage gravy, two styles of eggs, bacon, sausage, juice, milk, and coffee – all for $7. You also get the congeniality of getting to talk to the volunteers – seemingly all vets of last century’s wars. Nice guys, we should all be thankful for their service, of course.
Every Saturday, the post holds a burger and bratwurst cookout, and on selected Friday nights, they follow the local tradition of an AYCE fish fry. There’s also bingo and pull tabs.
Let’s all do what we can to support our vets. God knows the government isn’t doing much to help them! The post is located at 311 S. Washington St.
Genoa, IL 60135 United States. (815)784-5967. www.genoavetshome.us
Genoa Illinois VFW
I wonder if they thought of the name “Chicken Ranch” but had to discard it due to an unsavory association with a Nevada business of the same name? The only reason I am wondering about this is while the pizza is good at Pizza Ranch, the fried chicken is the star of the show. In fact, their “sub slogan” is “the best chicken in the country.”
Now I’ve had fried chicken in every corner of the USA, including in small town, backwater soul food kitchens in the deep south, seemingly at the heart of fried chicken country. I’ve had fried chicken made by a 100 year old woman who’s been cooking chicken in the same single cast iron skillet for her four table restaurant for decades. If Pizza Ranch doesn’t make the best fried chicken in the country, I don’t know who does. It’s certainly the best I’ve ever had.
Pizza Ranch started in small town Iowa and has grown to nearly 200 locations in a dozen states. It is a set price buffet restaurant, with pizza, fried chicken, mashed potatoes/gravy, potato wedges, vegetables, a salad and dessert bar.
I visited the outpost in Wisconsin Dells, and service, food, presentation and cleanliness were all over the top. The experience far exceeded my expectations.
The price seems to vary somewhat from restaurant to restaurant, but it is generally in the range of $7-$10, less for kids, sometimes there are two fer coupons, and some locations include a beverage, some charge extra. One nice note on the hospitality scale, when you pay (on your way in), they ask you what your favorite pizza toppings are, and they rush to make it, deliver the first hot slices to you, and place the pie on the buffet….which, incidentally, presents 12-16 pizzas at a time and is constantly refreshed. So different than some pizza buffets I have been to, like Cici’s, Shakey’s or Round Table.
The pizza is clearly levels above Pizza Hut, Dominos, Little Caesars, Papa Johns and the like. In many ways, it reminds me of the way Godfather’s prepares theit pies, a little thicker crust, a sauce that leans towards sweet and ample cheese, nicely melted.
But as you might have guessed, I buried myself in fried chicken. Hot, crispy, nice breading, very juicy birds, and amply sized. They are certainly not buying diminutive chickens like Popeye’s and KFC.
Pizza Ranch is worth a stop, especially for families. I’d go again. Here are their locations, menus. and a further description of the buffet.
They also deliver, and have a drive through.
No alcohol, BTW.