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America’s Most Popular Buffet Restaurants

Check out the country’s greatest all-you-can-eat destinations.

If you are feeling hungry, and don’t want to cook, a buffet restaurant is a perfect place to go. These restaurants tend to be pretty affordable, and you can literally get your money’s worth by eating as much as you can eat when you get in there. 

all you can eat buffet

Buffets charge a set price, and then you can visit the buffet bar as much as you want. So, they are great if you are feeling particularly peckish, or you can’t decide what it is you want to eat. From starters to mains to desserts, buffet restaurants offer something for everyone, and that is why they are so good. 

The United States is home to some of the best buffet restaurants in the world, so you have a lot of outstanding options to choose from. In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at the best buffet restaurants in the country, but first, let’s take a look at what makes them so great. 


What Makes a Good Buffet Restaurant?

Before we take a look at the best buffet restaurants in the country, let’s take a look at some of the factors which make them so great. The whole point of a buffet restaurant is that there is something for everyone there, so how does a good buffet restaurant do this?

One of the most important things that a buffet restaurant has to get right is variety. As we have said, buffet restaurants are meant to offer something for everyone, so you can take the whole family, and everyone will be happy. A good buffet restaurant will offer a wide variety of dishes, and the food will look great too. The buffet restaurants in the country that are less successful are usually less successful because they just turn out food like machines, and the food itself neither tastes nor looks good. 

Aside from the food itself, it is important that restaurants allow their customers unlimited trips up to the buffet bar, and it is also helpful to offer unlimited soft drinks too. This aside, as long as entry to the buffet itself is priced right, your buffet restaurant should succeed. Now, let’s take a look at some of the best buffet restaurants in the country. 


Best Buffet Restaurants in America

  1. Golden Corral
  2. Pizza Hut
  3. Sizzler
  4. Souper Salad
  5. Old Country Buffet
  6. Western Sizzlin’
  7. Cici’s
  8. Sirloin Stockade
  9. Huhot Mongolian Grill
  10. Shakey’s Pizza
  11. Shady Maple Smorgasbord
  12. Pizza Ranch
  13. Shoney’s

Golden Corral

Golden Corral is one of the biggest buffet chains in America, so it goes without saying that they are one of the best, too. This restaurant was one of the first buffet chains to really succeed in America, and it has only grown in popularity since it first opened its doors in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1973. But, now there are more than 500 Golden Corral stores across the country, and that is why it is so successful. 

Golden Corral is an excellent buffet restaurant to visit because the food that they offer is vast, and bridges lots of different cuisines. That is why Golden Corral will always be one of the best buffet restaurants in America because it nails the criteria for a good buffet restaurant that we outlined above. It is affordable, the food is delicious, and that is what keeps people coming back for more.   


Pizza Hut

Somewhere else that knows how to offer a great buffet is Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut is a little different from Golden Corral because its buffet is not available at all hours, but when it is open, it is one of the best options on the market. Pizza Hut makes some of the best pizzas in the country, so there really is nothing better than paying just a small amount to eat as much as you possibly can when you visit there. 

As well as their excellent lunchtime buffet that is available Monday to Friday, Pizza Hut also offers an all-you-can-eat salad bar. Most Pizza Hut restaurants offer an unlimited salad bar at all hours, not just when the lunchtime buffet is on offer. So, if you want unlimited Pizza Hut pizza, you really should check their lunchtime buffet out. 


Sizzler

Sizzler restaurants are one of the chains that were the hardest hit by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the hospitality industry. But, despite this, and the fact that there were some store closures, this chain was able to withstand this bad weather, and you can still get your hands on a Sizzler buffet today. This is good news because Sizzler offers one of the best buffet menus in the USA. 

The cost of a Sizzler buffet differs depending on the time of day that you visit, with lunchtime being cheaper than dinner time, but no matter what time you visit, the food is outstanding.

For a restaurant that started off selling all-you-can-eat shrimp, this restaurant has come a long way, and now its menu is full of delicious food. Sizzler is such a great buffet restaurant because they offer such great food. So, if you want access to a range of food, this is one of the best places to go. 


Souper Salad 

When you think of buffet food, you probably think of fried chicken, pizza, and steak. What you probably don’t think of is soup and salad. But that is exactly what Souper Salad offers. This buffet restaurant has built an entire brand on offering unlimited soup and salad to their customers. But just because they offer these healthy options, there’s no need to worry, you can get unlimited dessert at Souper Salad too. 

The menu at Souper Salad is great, and that’s because it is ever-changing. You don’t have to worry about growing bored by the food that Souper Salad has on offer because every single day the menu changes. They also offer seasonal buffets too, so if you visit the chain during the holiday season, you will be in for a festive treat. Souper Salad knows what makes a good buffet restaurant, and they execute it perfectly. So, if you want unlimited soup and salad at a low price, Souper Salad is the place to go. 


Old Country Buffet

If you want to get your hands on classic American food, then you need to make the trip to Old Country Buffet. This restaurant chain is actually pretty large, and it is easy to see how they were able to grow so popular. They offer a breakfast buffet, a lunch buffet, and a dinner buffet, so depending on the time of day that you visit, the food that you will be able to eat will be different. 

The food at Old Country Buffet is great, and it is absolutely delicious. But the best thing about this restaurant is how affordable it is. Unlike some buffet restaurants, Old Country Buffet charges different amounts for different ages. So, you will not have to worry about paying the same price for your child (who will eat only a small amount) as you pay for yourself. The prices also differ depending on the time of day that you visit, which is why Old Country Buffet is a great option if affordability is one of your top priorities. 


Western Sizzlin’ 

Alternatively, if you love meat, then you have to check out the buffet at Western Sizzlin’. This buffet offers over 100 different menu options, so there is pretty much something for everyone here, and, as you know, that is what makes a good buffet. With salads, sides, chicken, steaks, and so much more to choose from, it is clear to see why this restaurant has garnered such an outstanding reputation in the buffet industry. 

The best thing about Western Sizzlin’ is that the food there is affordable. They offer a huge range of food, and the money that you pay for this food in no way matches up. For the money that you spend to access the buffet at Western Sizzlin’, you get an absolute bargain. That is why you have to visit Western Sizzlin’ if you love a good buffet. 


Cici’s 

There are some foods that were just made for a buffet. For example, meat-based buffets work incredibly well, but by far, the best is an Italian buffet. There are quite a few different buffet restaurants that specialize in pizzas, but Cici’s takes it one step further as they offer pasta as part of their Italian buffet too. So, if you are a lover of Italian food, this is the restaurant to visit. 

Cici’s has restaurants all across the USA, and they are very affordable. From their salad bar to their giant pizzas to their delicious pizzas, there is something for everyone at Cici’s, and they even sell chicken wings too. So, if you are having one of those days when you just want to stuff your face with Italian food, Cici’s is the perfect buffet restaurant to make a trip to. 


Sirloin Stockade

Sirloin Stockade is not as successful as it once was, and that is why they have had quite a few restaurants close in recent years. But, this doesn’t change the fact that the food at Sirloin Stockade is out of this world. With a buffet menu that has a huge focus on meat (with steak, ribs, pulled pork, and beef brisket on the menu), this is the place to go if you want to fill yourself up with some delicious protein. 

But, for most people, it isn’t the mains at Sirloin Stockade that keep them coming back for more. Instead, it is the outstanding side dishes that they offer. From corn on the cob to sweet potato casserole, and the best dish on their menu, mac and cheese, there is something for everyone at Sirloin Stockade.

Even better, you can get this food to take away, so next time you are feeling peckish, you should consider paying a visit to Sirloin Stockade. 


Huhot Mongolian Grill 

Huhot Mongolian Grill is a little different from the buffet restaurants that we have looked at so far, and that is because it offers a completely different cuisine. But that isn’t the only thing that makes Huhot different. Huhot is not a buffet in the traditional sense, so you will not be able to go up to a buffet table multiple times during your visit. But it is a buffet in the sense that you become the chef every single time you visit this restaurant. 

When you walk into Huhot, you are the boss. You are given a list of ingredients that you can choose whatever you please from, and the chef will cook them to your liking. Huhot Mongolian Grill won’t be for everyone, because Mongolian cuisine isn’t as widely eaten as Italian or American.

But, that being said, this is definitely a restaurant that you have to try at some point in your life. Even if it is just so you experience the unique style of buffet that Huhot Mongolian Grill offers. 


Shakey’s Pizza

The buffet at Shakey’s Pizza is a little similar to the buffet at Pizza Hut. By that, we mean that the buffet at Shakey’s Pizza is not served all day, every day. Instead, it is a lunchtime offer, so if you want to eat all the Shakey’s pizza that you can, then you should head on down to Shakey’s Pizza between the hours of 11-2. 

In their buffet menu, Shakey’s Pizza offers quite a few different options. These include a variety of freshly-cooked, hot pizzas, crispy Mojo potatoes, salad, a range of sides and pasta, and even fried chicken. So, if you were expecting to just find pizza on offer during lunchtime at Shakey’s Pizza, you were wrong.

The buffet at Shakey’s Pizza is so good because they offer something for everyone, so if you are that one friend who doesn’t like pizza, you don’t need to bow out of this group trip for lunch. Instead, you can happily enjoy all the other, delicious food that Shakey’s Pizza has to offer, for a very affordable price too. 


Shady Maple Smorgasbord 

For something a little different from pizza, and chicken, you should give Shady Maple Smorgasbord a visit. Just like Huhot Mongolian Grill, Shady Maple Smorgasbord offers a different style of cuisine, and this is what makes the experience that they offer so outstanding. Shady Maple Smorgasbord specializes in Pennsylvania-Dutch food, which is the ultimate comfort food. So, if you want some warm food that feels like home, you need to make a trip to Shady Maple Smorgasbord. 

Shady Maple Smorgasbord offers buffet food every single day, all day until 8pm. But, they manage to keep things fresh and exciting because the menu changes every single day. So, you will get to choose from a wide range of food, including a New York strip, carved honey ham, fried shrimp, and so much more.

What makes Shady Maple Smorgasbord even better is the fact that they price differently depending on the time of day that you visit, and even offer percentage discounts for children (50% off) and seniors (10% off). That is why Shady Maple Smorgasbord is one of the best buffet restaurants in America. 


Pizza Ranch

But, if you are more comfortable sticking with what you know, you should pay a visit to Pizza Ranch. The food offered at Pizza Ranch is pretty standard of the pizza-style buffets that we have seen so far, so you should expect to find pizza, fresh salad, and plenty of fried chicken on the menu. They also offer breadsticks and pasta, and that’s without even mentioning their desserts, which are totally out of this world. 

But the best thing about the buffet at Pizza Ranch is that you do not necessarily have to eat in. If you are popping there on your lunch break, and don’t have time to sit in and enjoy your food, you can simply load up a take-away tray and take it with you. It is rare for a buffet restaurant to be so flexible, especially when their prices are so reasonable, so Pizza Ranch is another outstanding buffet to visit. 


Shoney’s 

If you want to visit a buffet restaurant and eat a little bit of everything while you are there, like you usually do at a buffet, then Shoney’s is a great place to go. Shoney’s offers regular meals, but they also offer a fresh food bar which is designed by a team of culinary experts to create a huge range of delicious meals that you can pick from. 

At this fresh food bar, you will find different meals throughout the day. It opens early in the morning, so to begin with, you will find lots of breakfast dishes. As the day progresses, these breakfast dishes will be switched for a range of seafood, entrées, vegetables, fresh salad, and lots more. So, if you don’t want to cook, and you aren’t entirely sure what you fancy to eat, make a trip to Shoney’s to treat yourself to a range of delicious, fresh food. 


Final Thoughts

In short, this has been an ultimate guide to the best buffet restaurants currently in America. We’ve taken a look at what makes a good buffet restaurant, and we’ve also looked at some of the best options for you to choose from. So, if you fancy eating out at a buffet restaurant, check out the guide above to find out which are the best.

Which all-you-can-eat buffet do you like the best? Let us know down below in a comment!

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Written by Rocco Smith

Rocco is from Sanibel Island, Florida, and a recent graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s in Editing, Writing, and Media. With seven years’ experience in the restaurant industry as a cook, server, bartender, and more, he is deeply passionate about intertwining his fondness for food with his love of language.