I finally ate at a buffet for the first time since the start of the lockdowns in March. Jonah and I spent the earlier part of the day working on an Eagle Scout project. When we left the project, we decided we needed to eat something before we drove the hour back home. He and I are the most adventurous and enjoy pushing the envelope, so to speak. We started by looking for the closest Golden Corral, which is our favorite buffet place, but found out that would take us too far out of the way. The closest buffet was in Fredericksburg, the Great American Buffet, and is a chain that we have visited in the past so we felt safe committing to that location.
While driving, we talked to each other about the rules we wanted to use to keep ourselves safe, such as cleaning off the table, using sanitizer often at the table, not touching the community utensils, and wearing our masks unless we were eating.
The outside of the restaurant looks fine, the parking lot was clean, as was the door and signage outside. Inside, we were greeted by several friendly employees. I explained it was our first time back into a buffet. They were very reassuring and explained the safety procedures and the process to get food. The seating is adjusted with several tables marked for no use to maintain safe distance between diners. You need to wear gloves and a face mask while getting food from the buffet. There was a wide variety of food choices and I enjoyed having all of the choices available to me, it has been a while since I’ve been able to enjoy so many different flavors. The seasoning was balanced, spicy things were medium to hot and the overall experience was the same except for the gloves and mask.
The servers here are really friendly and respond well to their customers. The customers who are chatty, like myself, had good conversations and the customers who wanted more privacy, were respected as well. I like that, there was no pressure to engage in banter if you did not want to. The manager was active in the dining area greeting guests and working the buffet as well. I asked him about gluten free options and he was very informative. He walked me through each item on the buffet and explained which ones could potentially be cross-contaminated and which ones were safe for me to enjoy. That is always helpful for people, like me, who have dietary restrictions. The wait staff also kept the buffet stocked and clean, wiping it down frequently and removing food that spilled off a customer’s plate rather than putting it back on the buffet. On a side note, I cannot stand when I see food that has fallen off of a plate on to the bar get placed back into the serving tray by wait staff. I am thankful I saw the opposite here.
I do recommend this place if you are a buffet person or in the mood for some good food, many choices, and friendly staff. Thank you Great American Buffet.