The Best of the Best

Our pick for the Best Buffet for 2014 was Dutch-Way Family Restaurant in Gap, PA. We have been there a number of times this year and find that the night that I like the best at the Best Buffet is Tuesday nights. All of the nights are good - but I particularly enjoy dinner there on Tuesdays the best.

This is the night when I find the most Pennsylvania Dutch foods mixed in with always good standards. We were the area again recently - and picked Tuesday for the night that we would go to Dutch-Way. The feature on Tuesday nights is not fancy - it is burgers made to order topped the way you like them and also hot wings, both at the Grill. On the buffet on Tuesday's there tends to always be Chicken Bot Bie (Chicken Pot Pie - stewed with large noodles, not baked in a pie shell), Dutch Loaf, Ham Balls, Pork and Kraut, and more. Simple. Plain food which this region is known for - Pennsylvania Dutch cooking of the Plain People. The burgers are an extra thrown in for a very enjoyable meal.

Now, I can't talk about the Wings from personal tasting, as I don't care for hot wings and small chicken legs and wings tossed in sauce and spice don't interest me - or my palate. But I have watched people go up to the Grill on a Tuesday night and order platefuls of these. The chef behind the counter puts the cooked and hot chicken in a bowl and tosses it in the sauce or seasoning that you request from a list - and if you want more than one "flavor", he just tosses more in other bowls - and then all goes onto your plate. Watching them eaten at other tables, I am certain that they are good from the reactions of the dinners. But for me, I don't care for them in general.

The burgers always interest me. You order your burger by filling out a paper at the Grill Counter. There is a sign listing specifically put together burgers each with a different combination of toppings, but you can just ignore that list and put together on the paper by checking off boxes of ingredients exactly what you want. Of course, there is bacon - lately a burger has to have bacon - but if you don't care for that leave it off. There is even a fried egg that can top your burger. You order it cooked the way you like it from rare to well done. You can top the toppings with sauces, lettuce, and tomatoes. It all gets cooked for you and put on a bun. I order mine without the bun. I would rather leave room for more interesting things from the buffet tables than a burger bun.  On the menu here - and in other restaurants - one of these burgers could easily cost you the price of the buffet - and here you could order as many as you like for just one price and have the entire buffet to go along with it.

Then, of course, there is the buffet. On this particular night, aside from the PA Dutch foods that I named above, there were ribs, lasagna, a pumpkin casserole, a vegetable casserole that was very good, fish, fried chicken, and more. As always there are five soups, a large salad bar, and a big dessert bar that spills over to one of the hot buffet servers where there are hot desserts.

I have my favorites on the salad bar also. They have the most wonderful chicken salad. I have sometimes considered just ordering the soup and salad bar for dinner as I could make a meal of this chicken salad. They also have chunks of Lebanon Bologna. This is a cured, dark pork meat with visible, tiny pieces of fat with a smokey, slightly sweet taste. This is a cold cut known in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country - originating in Lebanon County, PA. I have not found this on any other buffet in the area. It may be an acquired taste, but it is good. And if you go out to purchase this locally it is quite expensive for a cold cut. Here it is intended to go into a salad, but I just take the junks and eat them. The chicken salad and Lebanon Bologna are not limited to just Tuesdays.

We dined in a different buffet every night on this trip but this Tuesday night at Dutch-Way was a stand out meal. For Dutch-Way, which is the best, this is the best of the best. Other nights there are good selections also - Thursday is Seafood Night (at their highest price for the buffet) and Friday and Saturday feature Prime Rib, Ham, and Baby Back Ribs.

Service was excellent - and we knew it would be from the moment we were shown our table as our waitress/server was Marie who we have written about before as the BEST buffet server at any buffet anywhere.  This is a young woman who makes you feel welcome and appreciated as a customer and always comes across as enjoying her work.

So, Dutch-Way Family Restaurant on a Tuesday - best of the best. Try it. This is a local restaurant off and away from the main tourist areas and is there for local people including Amish and Mennonites who are seen dining here regularly. Nice decor. Very clean. It also gets excellent reviews from the usual restaurant review sites. Don't go looking for a touristy restaurant. You will not find it. To me that is a good thing and a very strong plus. Others seem to want the tourist hype.

The Dutch-Way Family Restaurant is located at the Dutch-Way Farm Market Supermarket at 365 Gap Newport Pike (Route 41), Gap, Pennsylvania 17527. The buffet is served from 4 pm to 8 pm Monday to Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. The restaurant is closed on some holidays. This is about two and a half miles south of Route 30. There is a web site and that is linked at the side of this page. The phone number is 610-593-6080.