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Pizza Ranch Buffet Review


Pizza Ranch Buffet ReviewI 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.

Pizza Ranch Buffet Review

Fried Chicken and a Slice


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Paul Bunyan Cook Shanty Review – Wisconsin Dells, WI


Paul Bunyan Cook Shanty ReviewHow I love breakfast buffets, let me count the ways: bacon, sausage, ham. You (I) get to eat literally pounds of breakfast meats (if I chose) and skip the other stuff.

This joint (and a sister location upstate in Minoqua) has been serving up “lumberjack style” meals for decades. That descriptor actually refers to being served “family style,” platters of the time-appropriate dishes, eat as much as you want, request more, no sweat.

In the morning hours, for less than a sawbuck (kids pay even less), you’re gonna be offered donuts, scrambled eggs, sausage, ham, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, hot cakes, and coffee, milk, or OJ. I did some damage on the pork products, for sure. Small nitpick. The website says the meat platter also includes kielbasa, but there was none around today.

Everyone probably understands that, as due to global warming, the kielbasa harvest last year was considerably down, and this year isn’t looking like they are going to be as high as an elephant’s eye by the fourth of July either! Oh well.

The food was really excellent – fresh and hot. I dug into the eggs, skipped the taters and cakes, but the kids went for everything (except they turned up their noses at biscuits and gravy, but what do they know?)

For lunch and dinner, there are one or two specials served in “the family way” and an ala carte menu as well.

Good stuff. Crazy, energetic waitresses. Fun times.  Bakery and gift shop also on location.  Authentic “lumberjack show” next door, a couple times a day or more. The restaurants are seasonal. Details.

Paul Bunyan Cook Shanty Review

Hot fresh donuts! No Homer Price in sight!

Paul Bunyan Cook Shanty Review

Biscuits & Gravy

Paul Bunyan Cook Shanty Review

Breakfast meat, family style

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Paul Bunyan Cook Shanty Review

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