We struggle with the notion of best buffet over top buffets every year. We go to many great buffets - all of which I write about here. We also go to some not so good buffets, and you all hear about those as well. Then it comes to the end of the year and we look at all of the buffets we have been to during that year and try to rank them - and there are some that we had gone back to during the year from years past that consistently come to the top of the list of the best. The problem is deciding which one really is the best. This is not the first time that we came to the conclusion that there are several top buffets that really need to hold a place of honor and that is true this year again. There is no BEST buffet for 2015, but there are four TOP buffets. These are the buffets that are at the top of the list and that have each met the criteria that we set for Best Buffet. And since Lancaster County, PA hosts the most buffets of anywhere, three of this year's buffets are in Lancaster County, PA and one is near home.

The TOP BUFFETS for 2015 named by "Art of the Buffet" are (and in no specific order) - Dutch-Way Family Restaurant in Gap, PA, Shady Maple Smorgasbord in East Earl, PA, Yoder's Restaurant at Yoder's Country Farm Market in New Holland, PA and Yummy China Buffet which is calling itself Yummy Super Buffet now in East Meadow, NY which is named as Top Asian Buffet of 2015.

The criteria for Top Buffet - or Best Buffet - are simple but not easy to meet. The buffet must give excellent value. The buffet must serve quality food. The food must be prepared properly and taste very good to excellent. The restaurant must be managed properly. The service must be good. And all of this must be consistent - meal to meal, visit to visit.Then it must be a buffet that comes to mind to go back to whenever possible. There must be something that sets the buffet apart (in a superior way) to all the rest. We have been to many who don't even come close and then there are some very good buffets that are on their way to meeting all of this. While no one criteria is more important than the others - and they all must be met - the idea that this is a buffet that I cannot wait to get back to is very much in focus when we decide on which buffet makes the cut. And I must say that there is one small buffet in PA that is coming up to this.

Over the next two months (four buffets - four articles) we will talk about each of these buffets and what makes them stand out beyond the rest. We will feature each in its own article.

Each buffet that is a Top Buffet of 2015 will receive a certificate declaring that fact. Some buffets display their certificates proudly - and we are thrilled when we see that they do - but there is no requirement to do so. Look to the coming articles to see why these buffets hold this site's special designation for the year 2015!