Bird-In-Hand Restaurant and Smorgasbord, Bird-In-Hand, PA

The Bird-In-Hand Restaurant and Smorgasbord in Bird-In-Hand, PA is a restaurant and buffet that has been around for many years. It is a buffet that we go to perhaps once a year just to see how it is again - and also when it is the only buffet worth going to that is open when others are closed. This past Memorial Day this was the buffet we had dinner at. It was one of the few that was not closed at dinner time for the holiday. Another buffet that is one of the top on our list of buffets in this area was also open (which we learned by surprise) but we had been there two nights before and decided to give Bird-In-Hand a try again and I was happy that we did.


One thing about this buffet is the price tends to vary a lot from season to season and year to year. The current price is $16.99 for dinner and this includes the beverage which makes it the equivalent of other buffets priced at $14.70 that don't include the beverage.At this price it is not bad. It has been as high as $19.99 (maybe even more) in the past and as low as $14.99 with coupons offered for money off. There was no coupon available for the buffet when we just went there for dinner.  *** Note: The price for this buffet went up three dollars to $19.99 for Summer 2015! We dined here on Memorial Day 2015 and the price was $16.99. This is typical of this buffet - the price goes high in the summer and that price is every day.

A year ago the meal here disappointed me, especially at the $19.99 that they charged then. The food was inconsistent from previous visits - with some of it not up to par and others good as usual. This year it was all good.

The night that we were there, as I said, was Memorial Day Monday at dinner. At this point the tourists are on their way home and the restaurant was not crowded and those who were there were mostly locals. You can order from the menu or the buffet. You can also order the soup and salad bar alone and you can order the dessert bar alone. We, of course, ordered the full smorgasbord that includes all of that plus the hot entrees and side dishes.

I have written about the different foods served here. This is Pennsylvania Dutch cooking and food. Their website lists what is featured each night on the buffet for dinner and lunch (lunch varies from dinner). There may be substitutions. This restaurant serves the best Chicken Corn Soup in Lancaster County and it can easily be made a meal in itself. It is full of chicken meat, has a consistency unlike any other Chicken Corn Soup, and is delicious. I, of course, had this soup and when I saw that on the salad bar there was chicken salad (which is not always on the salad bar) I realized that I could have ordered just the Soup and Salad Bar at almost half the price of dinner and been happy for dinner just making a meal of Chicken Corn Soup and chicken salad on rolls from the bread selection. While I could have changed my order at that point, I saw what was on the hot foods and decided to stay with the whole deal - taking, of course, the soup and chicken salad as well.

The hot foods that were featured were turkey, roast beef, ham balls, meatloaf, chicken pot pie (PA Dutch chicken Bot Bie), broasted chicken, baked fish, pork and sauerkraut, filling, buttered noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, baked lima beans (as in bbq baked beans made with limas) corn, carrots, baked corn pudding, and more. The turkey and roast beef are pre-carved and served from a buffet tray. The turkey is served in a tray of dark meat and a tray of light meat and I prefer this turkey to any other - and I like turkey a lot. It is served in its juices and is very moist and dripping when you put it on your plate. There is turkey gravy and beef gravy to put on your meat if you wish. The mashed potatoes are fresh. The vegetables are fresh. The meatloaf was served with a ketchup glaze and was good. The ham balls - as ham balls often are - are served in a sweet sauce. The chicken pot pie - this is like a chicken and dumpling stew and not baked chicken pie - had too many potatoes added and the large flat and thick dumplings were a bit too dense. They should be lighter. It was tasty, never the less. The food was good.

While we were eating we overheard the waitress at the next table tell the people that the dessert of the day was fresh strawberry pie. My ears perked up at hearing this and I expected to find that on the dessert bar which is extensive in selection. When it was time for dessert there was no fresh strawberry pie on the dessert bar and it did not seem as if it had been earlier. Evidently, the featured dessert is for the menu only - at least on this visit. There were all types of pies, some cakes, quartered chocolate whoopie pies, several prepared desserts, fruits, and puddings, including something called pretzel jello that seemed to be jello, whipped cream and pretzels mixed together. There is soft serve ice cream and also "Slurpee" type drinks at the dessert bar. I had a piece of shoo fly pie which sould have been better - and their baking comes from their very popular bakery that has a bake shop all on its own.The crumb topping on the pie was more of a crust that was difficult to bite through. Perhaps it had been out too long. I have had their shoo fly pie before and it has been very good.

Service was excellent. The server was there to take away plates and refill our beverages.

So - will I go back - yes, but when will depend on circumstances and price. If I had only one buffet  meal to have on a visit to this area, it would not be this one - if there were the other buffets that I have written about available - unless I was looking toward having something that only this buffet has. You can get the chicken corn soup at large and they do make good platters and sandwiches so this restaurant can make a good lunch stop - the buffet is available at lunch also. So if I was craving the soup and I had other buffet choices for dinner I might stop in for lunch.

Should you go - yes! You decide if you have been to the others if you will choose this one over anther - cop out on my part - not really. This is a nice buffet. There are better ones and for less money. If the price goes back up to $19.99 and there are other places to go - go to them. If you can find a coupon in one of the tourist magazines for a few dollars off dinner then it gets to be a whole lot easier to decide to go here - under the circumstances of where you can go. Let me put it this way- you should not be disappointed if you come here for dinner for the buffet.  The food is good and fresh.

Bird-In-Hand Family Restaurant is located at 2760 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, PA 17505. The phone number is 1-800-665-8780. There is a website located at the side of this page.The restaurant closes at 8:00 pm and is not open on Sundays. You will not be seated for the Smorgasbord after 7:30 pm. There is a dinner theater located in another part of the same building and the dinner is served in the restaurant at the smorgasbord for the theater. Performances at the theater are area related musical comedies. 



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