The Best Buffets from Coast to Coast
From extravagant Las Vegas feasts to down-home Southern spreads, here's where to go if you feel like chicken — and pork chops, and spaghetti, and dumplings, and tacos, and crab legs, and samosas, and chocolate cream pie — tonight.
Photo By: Chris Witzke
Shaw's Crab House, Chicago
Needless to say, seafood occupies a delightful amount of real estate at Shaw's sprawling weekend buffet. Crustacean obsessives will think they've died and gone to underwater heaven when they're presented with shucked-to-order oysters, lobster bisque, pastrami smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail and ceviche, Maryland-style crab cakes and steamed king crab legs.
Vernon's at Sawgrass Marriott, Ponte Vedra, Florida
Known for its Audubon-rated grounds and its commitment to sustainability, the bucolic Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort and Spa carries its mission all the way through Sunday brunch. Each week's all-you-can-eat menu is inspired by a different theme and created in partnership with local purveyors. You'll also find ingredients sourced from their own on-site microfarm, such as fruits and vegetables, chicken and quail eggs, and honey. There's even a special kids' station, complete with crafts, coloring books and fun edibles, that will inspire little ones to eat their veggies and think about where their food comes from!
Sushi Palace, New Jersey
Will your stomach cry uncle first? Or will you succumb to writer's cramp after checking off boxes for hours, at New Jersey's string of Sushi Palaces? Armed with paper menus and pencils, guests can tick their way to unlimited quantities of red snapper sashimi, mushroom avocado maki, spicy tuna and specialty rolls like the Pink Lady, with salmon, tobiki and crab. And astoundingly, the $21.95 price doesn't apply just to sushi — endless amounts of soup, salad, starters, teriyaki, tempura, noodles and even dessert can be had with a mere flick of the wrist.
The Signature Room, Chicago
You won't know what to ogle first at The Signature Room, situated 95 stories above Chicago in the iconic building formerly known as The John Hancock Center. There are the 360-degree views of the cityscape and Lake Michigan, and then there's the opulent weekend brunch buffet, including chilled seafood, made-to-order omelets, Nutella French toast, and steak and eggs.
HoneyOne Korean BBQ, Maryland
If you want to have fun with your food — and lots of it — it's hard to beat Korean BBQ. Get interactive at dinner (or lunch) by grilling all-you-can-eat brisket, bulgogi, pork belly and more on sizzling, table-set slabs at this flourishing Maryland minichain. And if you happen to have stomach room to spare, take a trip or five to the buffet bar, featuring all manner of Korean and Chinese dishes, while you're at it.
The Brown Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky
Not only is Louisville's most-luxurious hotel famous for inventing the Hot Brown (the signature Kentucky sandwich of open-faced turkey and bacon, laked with Mornay sauce and broiled), but it's also home to a killer Sunday brunch buffet, held from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in J. Graham's Cafe. Highlights include smoked salmon and charcuterie, Southern biscuits and gravy, a carving station and chef-prepared-omelet station, a rotating entree of the week and complimentary valet parking for non-hotel guests.
Wynn Las Vegas
No all-you-can-eat list would be complete without an over-the-top option from Las Vegas, basically the consecrated home of the buffet. Voted "Best Buffet" in Las Vegas by the Southern Nevada Hotel Concierge Association — and feeding nearly 3,500 guests a day — The Buffet at Wynn certainly rocks some impressive stats: Think 5,000 eggs cracked and 800 pounds of slow-roasted prime rib carved daily, 1 million sushi pieces rolled, 500,000 dumplings folded and almost 100 tons of Alaskan snow crab legs served each year. That means it takes a lot to stock the 15 live-action cooking stations, not to mention the cascading chocolate fountain and the revolving wheel of ice cream.
North Country Steak Buffet, La Crosse, Wisconsin
A truly unique entry in the world of all-you-can-eat, this family-owned, independently run Wisconsin eatery is all about steaks. Sure, you can avail yourself of more than 60 items, such as buttermilk shrimp, housemade lasagna, tacos, fajitas and even build-your-own gyros (along with the area's largest salad bar). But the soul of the operation is the sizzling steak counter, where guests can select 5-ounce sirloin steaks, sirloin burgers and flame-grilled chicken, which can be prepared their way and consumed in limitless amounts.
Fonda Santa Rosa, Houston
There's always plenty to look forward to about the weekends. But for Houstonians, Saturdays and Sundays mean all-out fiestas at Fonda Santa Rosa, thanks to buffet tables brimming with authentic Mexican treats like tamales, chilaquiles, pozole, molletes, chicken flautitas, carne molida en chile pasilla, and tacos al pastor.
The Langham, Boston
Boston's long-running, dessert-only Saturday Chocolate Bar at The Langham gives true meaning to the phrase "death by chocolate." If we met our end via doughnut walls, warm cookie and milk displays, custom-mixed frozen treats on ice cream cold stones, candy-embedded cocoa sculptures and, of course, a chocolate fountain (ringed with fruit, pretzels and marshmallows for dipping), we'd be OK with it — what a fabulous way to go!
Catalina Kitchen at Terranea, Rancho Palos Verdes, California
You won't need to wait for the weekend to chow down buffet style at Catalina Kitchen, one of the restaurants at Terranea, a resort featuring scenic views of Catalina Island and the Pacific Coast. Sure, there's plenty to appreciate about the Saturday spread, such as a carving station with prime rib, chipotle maple-glazed slab bacon, house-smoked brown sugar candied ham and 16-hour smoked brisket. But on Fridays, a seafood-centric lineup celebrates the underwater bounty of the California coast with Northwest oysters on the half shell, sushi and sashimi, chilled crab, mussels and marinated seafood salads, supplemented by seasonal vegetables from Terranea's local farm.
Good N' Plenty, Smoketown, Pennsylvania
The perfect way to experience Pennsylvania Dutch country, Good n' Plenty offers all-you-can-eat Amish cuisine served family-style, in the heart of Lancaster County. So bring your brood (and make a few new friends while you're at it) to gather around long wooden tables and pass around platters and bowls brimming with chow-chow and pepper cabbage, mashed potatoes and brown butter noodles, and crispy fried chicken and shoofly pie, all made with time-honored family recipes.
Vatan, New York City
You won't need to queue up at steam tables for the limitless feast at Vatan, which specializes in the exclusively vegetarian cuisine of Gujarat, India. And you'll probably barely register that you're in Manhattan as you recline in a private booth capped with its own thatched roof while servers shuttle over appetizers, entrees and dessert. You can request seconds, thirds, fourths or more of everything — as who can resist extra helpings of fried hot peppers with garam masala, red gravy-sauced potatoes over rice-and-pea pulao, and the rose syrup-sweetened waffle balls known as gulab jamun?
Sweet Lucy's Smokehouse, Philadelphia
Philly residents know to make a beeline to Sweet Lucy's on Mondays for all the meat they can eat. Adults need to shell out only $21.99 for unlimited access to baby back ribs, smoked kielbasa and salmon, BBQ pulled pork chicken, and Texas beef brisket, paired with baked beans, garlic mashed potatoes, housemade cornbread, tomato-cucumber salad, and baked mac and cheese.
Americana, Des Moines
All about celebrating American pop culture, this Des Moines favorite taps into our national love of excess with its Bombshell Brunch. Offered from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. over the weekends, the spread of more than 40 items goes beyond eggs and pancakes with a custom grilled cheese station, a loaded-mashed-potato area, a build-your-own-taco table and, to cap it all off, a bottomless mimosa and bloody mary bar.
The Nordic, Charlestown, Rhode Island
If the $98-per-person price tag at this family-run, lakeside parcel of paradise makes you blanch, you haven't yet peeked at the unprecedented maritime offerings. New Englanders come from far and wide for the all-you-can-eat lobster, not to mention local oysters, littlenecks, prime rib, filet mignon, shrimp scampi, jumbo scallops, clam chowder, baked cod and Alaskan king crab.
How's this for a steal? You'll actually need to break a 20 to partake in the rotating themed brunch buffet at Seattle's contemporary Korean steakhouse. Just $19 scores you a dish off the regular menu (chorizo and apple kimchi bao on honey miso bread, anyone?), plus unrestricted grazing on a bunch of other tasty nibbles. Here's a taste: One former, England-inspired lineup included chutney crackers with tikka masala dip, Chinese sausage and cauliflower mash, vegetarian shepherd's pie, Dorset apple cake, and mini Eton Mess with Earl Grey mousse and blood orange jam.
Chances "R" Restaurant and Lounge, York, Nebraska
Chances are, if you live in or near York, you make regular pilgrimages to this circa-1932 eatery for its soup and salad bar, Saturday Night Prime Rib Buffets (featuring Nebraska-raised beef) and traditional Sunday brunches showcasing customized omelets made from cage-free eggs.
Govinda's Natural Foods Buffet, Tucson, Arizona
About as guilt-free as all-you-can-eat gets, idyllic Govinda's boasts a 19-item salad bar featuring organic, house-grown sprouts, kitchen-made chutneys and vegan dressings. And that's to go along with freshly baked apricot and whole-wheat breads, curried vegetables, a range of pastas, and desserts such as halvah, vegan pumpkin pie and vegan carrot cake — all for the gentle price of $10.95.
Captain George's, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina
If the bodies of water in and around South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia seem lacking in marine life, thank local branches of Captain George's for that. The popularity of their boat-to-buffets has added up to 1.5 million pounds of crab legs, 265,000 pounds of shrimp, 250,000 pounds of scallops and 200,000 pounds of fish cooked each year. And that only accounts for four of over 70 items served.