Friday, April 5, 2013

Buffet Maniac's Dream: Shady Maple

Spring break is over and I'm back in classes for my last term as an undergraduate at Drexel! Fortunately I have no classes on Thursdays and Fridays. Anyhow, I'm not sure if four-day weekends is a good way to prepare for the real world.

Speaking of my first week of classes, my cousin Jordan was visiting Philadelphia for the week. So on Thursday, we drove up to Hershey's Chocolate World and stopped for a lunch at the legendary Shady Maple for lunch on the way back.

I sure have heard a lot of good things about Shady Maple, be it about their scrumptious traditional European buffet-style restaurant (smorgasbord) or the really delicious baked goods at its farmer's market. Every time I heard about this place, I always fantasized myself at a small and humble local joint with mountain view. Anyhow, it's so much better than that! I thought I mistook their banquet hall for the smorgasbord, but I guess not! The atmosphere is just so nice and cozy. Forget about the small local joint I imagined, this smorgasbord can serve up to 200 people at any given time. Their service is wonderful as well. Unlike Asian buffet experience that I've had where the waitress always rushed me to get out, Shady Maple's experience is about enjoying food with friends and family. They don't mind if you just sit there and talk even though you're done (or taking a break from) eating.

I also love the fact that they have three grill stations where food are prepared fresh as you order. The first grill serves meat, the second one serves corn and potato patties, and the third one is Asian grill! Oh my gosh. I would never thought they would serve fried rice, lo mein, and teriyaki made on the spot.

And the buffet line is 200 feet of delicious mouthwatering goodness. LOTS of variety of soup, salad, meat, finger food. They also buffet beverages of milk, fresh juice, coffee, soda, and birch beer. Everything they served was delicious and my most favorite is their caramelized baked sweet potato and traditional stuffing.

And please do save yourself some room for dessert because four flavor of ice cream, dozen kinds of cakes, another dozen of pies, cookies, puddings and warm dessert are waiting. If you have limited space for dessert, definitely go for one of the homemade pie or warm desserts (like apple crisp and cherry crumble). Oh wait, their puddings are out of this world too!!

Conclusion: As a buffet maniac who had a myriad buffet experiences in places including America, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand, I should declare that this is the BEST buffet I've been to. A visit to Lancaster County will never be complete without a meal at Shady Maple. Take your time to savor and enjoy, don't fill up yourself to quickly. Plan accordingly on what to eat by surveying everything on their buffet line for the day before eating


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