From the sleek and swanky to the rough and tumble, all-you-can-eat buffets run the gamut when it comes to both ambiance and offerings. The mere idea of a restaurant that allows diners to eat as much as they could possibly want is like a magnet to the droves of Americans looking to get the most for their money.
As The Hustle so succinctly puts it, "Few things epitomize America more than the all-you-can-eat buffet. For a small fee, you're granted unencumbered access to a wonderland of gluttony." It's true: the visual appeal of a giant buffet to a cash-strapped adult is akin to a child entering Willy Wonka's factory—it's an overwhelming sight to behold. Carving stations, sundae bars, Champagne towers, and made-to-order omelets keep your head on a constant swivel.
And while things were looking pretty grim for the future of buffets during and immediately after the pandemic, things have seemed to take a turn. In fact, as of March 2023, visits to three of the country's leading buffet restaurants were up 125% when compared to that of January 2021. Many of the renowned buffets in Las Vegas are even reporting wait times up to two hours these days. And who can blame those lining up to fill their plates?
Picking a restaurant is hard enough without then having to select just a single entrée. The buffet allows diners to grab and taste as many different dishes as they can get their hands on, and for the hungry customer, nothing is better than that. Whether you want to shell out your hard-earned money on a ritzy buffet or have a casual, comfort meal at an affordable spot, the top buffets across the country have something for everyone.
Las Vegas does things over-the-top—from the shows to the clubs to the food—so it's no surprise that Sin City does buffets like no other place. Bacchanal Buffet, located within Caesars Palace, houses the biggest buffet in the city, taking place in a dining room of over 25,000 square feet. The buffet has over 250 menu items for the taking, from slow-cooked prime rib and Korean fried chicken to birria tacos and Roman-style pizza. Not only does Bacchanal serve globally inspired dishes, but it also offers an array of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The restaurant's regular brunch buffet is available Thursday through Mondays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., while its crab brunch is open Thursday through Monday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Shady Maple Smorgasbord
Claiming to be the largest smorgasbord in the country, Shady Maple Smorgabord in East Earl, Pa., offers 200 feet of bonafide Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. This buffet serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, ranging in price from $12.99 for breakfast to $27.99 for Saturday night's grand dinner. Diners can expect dishes like Cajun catfish, beef brisket, pierogies, and waffles and biscuits. Additionally,, the buffet includes a salad bar, sundae bar, homemade breads, soups, and so much more. Shady Maple also offers select seasonal items like pumpkin pie and apple dumplings.
Jacob Restaurant Soul Food and Salad Bar
Touted as the first black-owned and family-operated soul food buffet, this hot spot with two New York City locations—both in the Harlem neighborhood of Upper Manhattan—boasts a plethora of options featuring continental, Caribbean, and southern cuisines. Between the two locations, Jacob's hosts live entertainment on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. Customers can enjoy favorites like macaroni and cheese, curry goat, sesame Asian noodles, and crispy fried chicken. Diners pay for their meals by the pound here and in addition to the salad bar and hot food selections, Jacob's also offers an array of beverages, as well as pies for dessert.
Another glamorous buffet option right on the Las Vegas strip is located within the Cosmopolitan hotel. Wicked Spoon has won numerous awards, including best buffet in the Las Vegas Review-Journal's "Best of Las Vegas," and Desert Companion-KNPR's best dessert buffet. The restaurant places an emphasis on high-quality, seasonal dishes, mixing both familiar recipes with creative interpretations. Options here range from cinnamon walnut bread French toast to Singapore curried noodles. The restaurant's all-day brunch buffet is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Red Apple Restaurant & Gourmet Buffet
This acclaimed buffet only takes place on the weekends (exceptions can be made for large groups) on Saturdays and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. and on Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Specializing in Polish-American cuisine, Red Apple serves cheese blintzes, barbecue ribs, schnitzel, and kolaczki—the classic Polish cream cheese-based cookie filled with jam. For only $32.99 per person, the ample buffet is a steal, and has even earned the title as the number one place to eat in the state by Yahoo Travel.
Captain George's Seafood Restaurant
With four locations in the Carolinas and Virginia, it's no surprise that this popular restaurant is one of the country's most beloved buffets. For fans of creatures from the deep blue sea, Captain George's offers oysters, scallops, crab legs, and crawfish, just to name a few. Not only does the restaurant have delectable options from the sea, but it also serves options for landlubbers, including sirloin steak, chicken, beef brisket, and more. Diners can round out their meals with plenty of soup, salad, vegetables, and side dishes, and finish it off with any of their homemade desserts.
Listed as "America's #1 Buffet + Grill" on its website, Golden Corral has almost 400 locations spread across the United States and Puerto Rico. In fact, almost every state has at least one Golden Corral location. Texas has 55! The chain's endless buffet is available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and can accommodate all manners of diets, including vegetarian, vegan, and paleo. Skillet hash browns, chicken and noodle dumplings, fried ravioli, and Bourbon Street chicken are some of the dishes you can expect to find at your local buffet, although items and prices do vary by location.
With multiple locations throughout New Jersey, Sushi Palace offers diners a unique spin on your classic buffet. Made fresh to order, the restaurant's all-you-can-eat service includes sushi, sashimi, maki rolls, crispy shrimp, vegetable tempura, and an assortment of Japanese appetizers, salads, teriyaki, noodles, and desserts. Pleasingly plated to your liking—meaning portions come in the size you prefer—this Japanese hot spot knows the way to a customer's heart. Those who dine in on the weekends, including Friday evening, will be set back $30.95 for the buffet, while customers who stumble in during the weekdays can enjoy all Sushi Palace's offerings for just $28.95.
Honey Pig BBQ
This woman-owned Korean barbecue restaurant began with one humble location in Virginia and has since grown to 10 locations in three different states, but only three of these offer an all-you-can-eat buffet: Manassas, Va.; Rockville, Md.; and Ellicott City, Md. Available every day of the week, the barbecue options vary between the restaurant's weekday offerings and its dinner and weekend offerings. Meaty options include spicy bulgogi, pork belly, and the honey pig pork chop, to name a few. Add-ons like steamed egg or spicy buckwheat noodles are available for an extra charge, but those looking to get their iron intake for the week will have no trouble with Honey Pig's protein choices.
Edge Brasserie and Cocktail Bar
For those looking for a truly upscale option, Edge Brasserie, located within the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami, hosts a weekly Sunday brunch that goes all out. Among the many options available to diners here are tomahawk steaks, made-to-order pasta, a seafood raw bar, classic brunch fare, paella, and of course, dessert. Anybody with a love of meat and seafood—or those with an epic sweet tooth—will find this buffet well worth the hefty price tag, which starts at $115. Prices go up if you want to include cocktails or Champagne.