Oregon Dairy Country Restaurant and Buffet, Lititz, PA

It has been a year since we have been at Oregon Dairy Country Restaurant and Buffet and this was only our fourth visit to dine there. When we get to Lancaster County that likely hosts more buffet restaurants than anyplace else in the U.S., it is always a challenge to decide which buffet to go to - and you know we have been to most, if not all of them. We were recently there and would be there for six dinners and my first thought was to go to Oregon Dairy's buffet. In case you wonder about the "Dairy" in the name - the restaurant is part of a complex that includes a dairy and ice cream stand, a supermarket, and this restaurant. The location is off away from where the tourists will notice it and it is up on the top of a hill from the route that runs in front. From the road you can not even see what is above and you may pass the sign at the entrance road without even noticing. This does not seem to bother the people who own this complex as it is a very popular place with the local people in this area.

This was a Thursday evening - and as it happens the last time that we were here was on a Thursday evening. The complex has a new website and the restaurant's page has been changed. It used to be possible to see what the featured dishes were on the buffet for each night. That is now gone. As it was some dishes were the same as last year and some were different - which was fine. The restaurant is not small but the buffet is smaller than some of the others that we have shared with you. There are two small double sided buffets that comprise the salad bar and two small single sided buffets - one with the desserts and the other with all hot foods. They do fit a lot on these buffet servers, despite their size. The price for dinner has gone up since last year - not much - thirty cents. Dinner on Monday to Thursday is $13.29 and on Friday and Saturday is $14.29. Soft drinks are extra and are unlimited. There is both menu dining and the buffet and there is no need for everyone to have the buffet if one at the table is having it.

We usually start with soup and the soups here have always been out of the ordinary. On this night it was Cheesy Broccoli (same as last year on a Thursday night) and also Chicken Enchilada. I did not want to eat spicy chicken enchilada soup so I took some of the Cheesy Broccoli.  Of course, the picky eater wife passed on both. The soup was good. It would be nice if one of the soups here would be a little more standard - chicken corn or chicken noodle might be nice - but if you are open to trying something you did not expect, you may find that you like it.

The salad bar is extensive and there is a lot to create a salad and then there are the prepared salads. There were three different macaroni salads - I guess one would be considered a pasta salad. They were all good.

I was eager to get to the main course and there were some good things to take. By now you know that I like turkey, but not just sliced, carved turkey (especially not the carved turkey breast that is commonly found) but I guess what is Pennsylvania Dutch turkey - fresh turkey - light and dark - shredded and also pulled into pieces and served in gravy or with the gravy on the side to be added. Here it was served in the gravy and next to the tray of turkey was a tray of filling - or stuffing. This turkey was excellent! As I am writing about it I am craving it. There are only a few buffets in Lancaster where turkey like this can be found.

I have written about Chicken Bot Bie many times and I am not going to go into detail about this specifically PA Dutch dish other than to say it is chicken, square dumpling noodles, vegetables and a chicken based sauce or perhaps a better word than sauce is stew. Excellent here. This dish can vary from restaurant to restaurant; it is excellent here.

I am going to use excellent to describe one other dish that we had here on this night - fresh mashed red potatoes - exceptionally excellent. These were the BEST mashed potatoes that I have ever had and I have had a lot of mashed potatoes over my years. They were perfect.

Everything that we tried was good. The restaurant is known for fried smoked sausage and that was good - and done nicely - not over fried. These are chunks of smoked sausage deep fried. This has the potential to become overdone but on this night they were just right. While some of what we had was good, it was also sweet. Sweet is not a bad thing. The meatloaf with a red sauce - not so much catsup but a thick tomato sauce was good but slightly sweet. The ham balls are supposed to be sweet as they are glazed in pineapple sauce, but these were sweeter than some that we have had in this area. Other entrees out that we did not try were barbecue chicken, baked fish, and stuffed peppers. There was scalloped potatoes and also macaroni and cheese. There were three vegetables - mixed vegetables, carrots, and stewed tomatoes.

Now for dessert - every buffet dinner included a scoop - big scoop - of any of the homemade ice creams from the dairy. All of the flavors at the ice cream stand outside are there to choose from for dessert. In addition there are an assortment of pies, slices of cake, whole whoopie pies (yes full size whole whoopie pies), and a variety of different prepared desserts, fruit, jello, and puddings. We both chose the ice cream and I will talk about that in a moment.

The service was excellent. Used dishes were taken away and drinks were refilled. The server was very pleasant.

Food on the buffet was replenished regularly. As a tray became low, a full tray came out to replace it of the same food. What was necessary on some of the dishes that had not been taken from as much is that they needed stirring and this was not being done by the staff who seemed so attentive to refilling the trays. All they needed was a stir and they were fine - and I did this myself when I took something that needed it. Because of the nature of the hot table food can dry out if it is not stirred. All that they needed was someone assigned to give a stir when they walked by.

We both took notice right through the meal that the food was high in carbs - everything was starch or had starch in it or sugar. All of it was tasty. If you are concerned about carbs, it was something to careful about. We don't usually feel this way in a buffet, but for some reason with the combination of what was on the buffet on this night - it was something to temper how much and what you took. It was possible to go "no carb or low carb", but you were not going to have all of the really good things to take.

Now the ice cream. I have had the ice cream from this dairy before and it is wonderful. I have always in the past chosen one of the many different flavors of ice cream which are a combination of a flavor ice cream chunk full of sweet bits of candies, or nuts or swirls of syrups, etc. Because we both decided that we had topped over the meal in carbs, we chose vanilla and chocolate. Both were nice but not spectacular. These plain flavors should have been better for dairy made ice cream where you were sitting next to the dairy eating them. As I say, the fancy flavors have always been much better. If you are going with the ice cream, get a fancy flavor. Here is a list of the flavors - why did we pick Vanilla and Chocolate? Well we were trying to be sensible. And by the way, the big single scoop that you get with the buffet is almost $3.00 on the menu alone.

Birthday Cake Butter Pecan Caramel Chocolate Chip
Choc. Chip Cookie Dough Choc. Peanut Butter Cup Coconut
Cookie & Cream Orange & Cream Pralines & Cream
Strawberry Cheesecake Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cashew & Raspberry
Choc. Fudge Brownie Coconut Almond Fudge Cotton Candy
Mint Choc. Chip Peanut Butter Ripple Rainbow Sherbet
Vanilla Bordeaux Cherry Chocolate
Choc. Marshmallow Coffee Maple Walnut
Nittany Paws Peach Yogurt (Seasonal) Strawberries & Cream
Triple Chocolate

This meal was a very satisfying meal. This was a meal that I wanted to be able to try more of the items on the buffet and go up and get more and more, but there was just too much to be able to eat that was good and tempting - and as I said at the start, this is a small buffet. I don't feel this way about some of the large buffets.  I am very much looking forward to coming back to Oregon Dairy Country Restaurant and Buffet. The thought occurred to me several times on this trip that I should go to the small out of the way buffets that are so good more than some of the more popular ones. Not that the popular ones are not good, but buffets like this one are really good as well. And being off the tourist beat can be so much better than dealing with the large crowds of tourists.

The Oregon Dairy Country Restaurant and Buffet is located at 2900 Oregon Pike (Route 272) in Lititz, PA 17543. The phone number is (717) 661-6804. There is a website and that is listed on this page at the side of the articles.While this is the town of Lititz it is not near the center of what is thought of as the town of Lititz (where the old pretzel bakery and the Moravian settlement is located). It is also on the top of a hill with a large up hill driveway from Route 272. As you get up into the parking lot, the restaurant is on the left, the supermarket part of the building is on the right, and the dairy/ice cream stand is on the far left. There is a little playground and "park" near the ice cream stand. In season there is a corn maze for the kids.