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Suburban Chinese buffets in decline?

Suburban Chinese buffets in decline?
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  • Post #31 - March 30th, 2006, 10:24 am
    Post #31 - March 30th, 2006, 10:24 am Post #31 - March 30th, 2006, 10:24 am
    Another northern suburbs Chinese with a secret menu is the Silk Mandarin in Vernon Hills. It is heavily advertised in the Chinese papers and most nights the diners are predominately Asian. The Chinese menu does have English translations. Even their standard dishes are a cut above most standard suburban Chinese.

    Silk Mandarin
    4 E. Phillips Rd.,
    Vernon Hills
    Tel: (847) 680-1760
  • Post #32 - March 30th, 2006, 6:36 pm
    Post #32 - March 30th, 2006, 6:36 pm Post #32 - March 30th, 2006, 6:36 pm
    http://mesh.medill.northwestern.edu/mns ... staur.html

    So maybe this is what the decline is all about, though it was several years back
  • Post #33 - March 30th, 2006, 7:33 pm
    Post #33 - March 30th, 2006, 7:33 pm Post #33 - March 30th, 2006, 7:33 pm
    wesuilmo wrote:Another northern suburbs Chinese with a secret menu is the Silk Mandarin in Vernon Hills. It is heavily advertised in the Chinese papers and most nights the diners are predominately Asian. The Chinese menu does have English translations. Even their standard dishes are a cut above most standard suburban Chinese.

    Silk Mandarin
    4 E. Phillips Rd.,
    Vernon Hills
    Tel: (847) 680-1760


    Yes! I used to pick up from Silk Mandarin both when I lived in Buffalo Grove and Libertyville from around '92 to 2000. That's a long drive, and it was worth it. Although I wasn't straying far from the Suburban Chinese classics, the quality was head and shoulders above any option for miles around. I still thinkg about the shrimp in peach sauce on occasion.
    JiLS
  • Post #34 - April 5th, 2006, 10:00 pm
    Post #34 - April 5th, 2006, 10:00 pm Post #34 - April 5th, 2006, 10:00 pm
    we just went to royal buffet in darien this past weekend. is it me or is it slipping? i swear its almost impossible to get to the crab legs when you have about 5 lil asian women ready to grab at em with the tongs. the whole tray will be gone in like less than a minute! well my hubby finally managed to get a plate of them and they were saltier than they were in the past. maybe we were hungry and delusional when we were searching for a place to eat and ended up there.
  • Post #35 - April 5th, 2006, 10:10 pm
    Post #35 - April 5th, 2006, 10:10 pm Post #35 - April 5th, 2006, 10:10 pm
    mby385 wrote:we just went to royal buffet in darien this past weekend. is it me or is it slipping? i swear its almost impossible to get to the crab legs when you have about 5 lil asian women ready to grab at em with the tongs. the whole tray will be gone in like less than a minute! well my hubby finally managed to get a plate of them and they were saltier than they were in the past. maybe we were hungry and delusional when we were searching for a place to eat and ended up there.

    It is almost impossible to find any crab. It disappears almost as soon as it arrives, and they don't replenish it very often. The extra charge on weekends is mainly for the crab, and you don't get any. That's pathetic. In general, I have stopped going to Royal Buffet or the New China Buffet across the street.
  • Post #36 - April 6th, 2006, 11:21 am
    Post #36 - April 6th, 2006, 11:21 am Post #36 - April 6th, 2006, 11:21 am
    jow wrote:It is almost impossible to find any crab (snip) I have stopped going to Royal Buffet or the New China Buffet.

    the crab "hunting", imo, is now part of the fun. usually i ask the hostess to seat us close by, after that simply keep an eye on the prize. the last few times we were there, we had no problem getting 2 servings each. there is some skill involved; "survival of the fittest" applies.

    however, like an above poster reported, crab's salty, ditto to the duck, etc. i suspect this is to induce water chuggin'/cost reduction :roll:

    me? i'm there for the big 'ol hot out the fryer crab rangoons. it's my secret weakness and i'm not proud to admit the addiction...
  • Post #37 - April 22nd, 2006, 11:40 pm
    Post #37 - April 22nd, 2006, 11:40 pm Post #37 - April 22nd, 2006, 11:40 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:I went a few times with a friend of mine when they first opened. They had all you could eat snow crab legs, which later they began charging a la carte by the pound...

    Senoya Fine Oriental Buffet Restaurant
    8750 West Golf Road
    Niles, IL 60714
    847-299-7717


    Thing1 and I ventured out and tried Senoya tonight. At $10.95 they're a buck more than the nearby buffets. The crab legs were posted as "market price" -- we were never even offered any. Unlike many of the local buffets, you pay as you exit, mainly because they have a liquor license, and your bill will be presented at the end after any crab and booze (soft drinks are complementary). The clientele was mostly asian, but even at World Buffet that was still the case.

    The buffet is a significant improvement over World Buffet and China Buffet, even if you're a fan of WB's faux mex dishes (shudder). First off, the decor, left over from Olive Garden helps class the place up a bit, and even the steam tables look less dingy than World Buffet. It's probably just the lighting, but the place seems, just, well, healthier.

    Condiments, so crucial for appetizers, are plentiful: soy is on every table, and sambal, ground red pepper, tempura sauce, sweet&sour, hot mustard (respectably flavorful but not sinus-shattering), cocktail sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi -- there were probably a few more -- on the buffet.

    Appetizers are abundant: nice purses of crab rangoon, egg rolls, tempura of sweet potato, calamari and zucchini, pot stickers, onion rings, steamed shrimp... I know I left some out.

    Soups also are a nice variety: hot & sour (a little weak, says Thing1), egg drop, fresh bean sprout in seafood stock, and chajang sauce for the bowls of noodles! The chajang was belly-filling, not a good selection for a buffet (Grace Adler would shame me), but not as toasty-onion as the packaged variety.

    The entrees though are a big step above the other local places: Orange chicken approached that of better chinese restaurants: brightly flavored, still somewhat crisp breading, not insipidly sweet. Ma Po Tofu could use a bit more heat (and some pork, IMHO). "Boneless" Galbi was very tasty (also offered was Korean BBQ Chicken).

    A decent salad bar (didn't have any, I was channeling Grace by now), a few varieties of kimchee, and several sushi rolls, and desserts.

    No, I didn't eat some of everything, there's even enough variety I could go back and eat a completely different meal (although I'd be sure to snag the rangoons).

    The only thing I didn't see that I usually look for at the end of the meal was almond cookies. That's only because I'm an habitual dunker, and they're great in tea. But I was too stuffed at this point.

    I'll go back to Senoya. It's worth the extra buck, and I don't usually eat the rapidly-picked-over snow crab at most places.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #38 - August 16th, 2006, 8:58 pm
    Post #38 - August 16th, 2006, 8:58 pm Post #38 - August 16th, 2006, 8:58 pm
    Another somewhat bright note, in the same neighborhood:
    King's Buffet
    308 Golf Mill Ctr
    Niles, IL
    (847) 803-8883

    I've passed this place numerous times and never even thought about going there. I guess anything which could replace a Chi-Chi's automatically had a negative rating in my mind. But on a recommendation from Thing1 (who'd stopped there on his way to work), we went there for his Last Meal Before College.
    • First off, they're cheap: $9.00 per person.
    • Second, they've got a very big buffet: four large tables, one of which is all cold food (dessert, salad, kimchi, sushi)
    • Third, they're a bit less Korean-focused than the other Golf-Mill-region buffets. There's still kimchi, Korean Chicken, and a couple other things, but there's more Chinese items
    • Fourth, they're generous with the seafood: Squid, mussels, crayfish, raw oysters (on a buffet? I'll pass, but your milage may vary), several shrimp dishes, crab legs, and several whole-fish dishes


    Is it an ethereal experience? Hardly. It's a buffet.

    But the Mongolian Beef was pretty good, as was the Tripod Chicken (which tasted like a xerox of a xerox of a xerox of Tony's Three-Chili Chicken from LSC), the Onion Shrimp... the sushi was appropriately moist, and a decent array of fried appetizers.

    Downsides: Low on condiments: not-very-good sweet and sour sauce, no mustard, no sriracha, no hot oil. The mussels weren't great.

    There is also a lot of western food: a pasta dish with cheese and seafood, a potato and seafood dish, fries, pizza, fried fish etc. Certainly you can feed your unadventurous kids.

    I'll go back again when in the mood to graze.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #39 - January 17th, 2007, 10:05 pm
    Post #39 - January 17th, 2007, 10:05 pm Post #39 - January 17th, 2007, 10:05 pm
    I wanted to graze again... and it's gone.
    King's Buffet is no more. Shuttered, and the signs removed.
    Golf Mill has some artist's renderings of a new food court... not much different, but this buffet is gone. Thing1 and I were too lazy to drive over to Senoya, ended up eating in the food court.

    Cheaper, less satisfying (but Horsey Sauce!)
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #40 - January 18th, 2007, 12:12 pm
    Post #40 - January 18th, 2007, 12:12 pm Post #40 - January 18th, 2007, 12:12 pm
    I wonder if the people who own Chinese Buffets are just really bad cooks, or they honestly don't care that their food isn't any good. Has anyone ever seen the owners eating at a buffet?
  • Post #41 - January 18th, 2007, 12:13 pm
    Post #41 - January 18th, 2007, 12:13 pm Post #41 - January 18th, 2007, 12:13 pm
    I used to eat at the China Buffet behind Jimmy Johns in the parking lot of Walmart on Touhy in Niles. They since closed but the ownwer also owned this one which is still open:

    Hong Kong Buffet 6249 N McCormick Rd, Chicago, 60659 - (773) 649-0888

    Generally speaking I'd never choose dinner here, just lunch, and needed to use trial and error in knowing what to have according to my tastes. I'll graze these items:

    sushi (vegetable only....I don't like their fish)
    fried chicken wings
    hot and sour soup
    stuff crab shells
    poached whole salmon
    white steamed rice
    any of the hot veggies
    octopus
    head-on shrimp
    kimchee

    It's under 8 bucks for lunch with tax and you pay as you enter

    Don't take anyone there you are trying to impress.
  • Post #42 - January 18th, 2007, 12:15 pm
    Post #42 - January 18th, 2007, 12:15 pm Post #42 - January 18th, 2007, 12:15 pm
    jonjonjon wrote:Has anyone ever seen the owners eating at a buffet?


    the place I just posted about....the owners gather and eat out of gigantic bowls placed in front of them, and they get their food from the same steam tables customers do.

    Again...let me stress I've tried dinner twice there and it's just not worth it...only lunch.
  • Post #43 - January 18th, 2007, 3:53 pm
    Post #43 - January 18th, 2007, 3:53 pm Post #43 - January 18th, 2007, 3:53 pm
    We had a great meal at Royal Buffet in Darien. In addition to the mounds of all you can eat food on the steam tables, they also have a fresh stir-fry bar and a sushi bar. I mostly filled up on sushi. You need to get there very early on a Saturday or you'll end up in a line all the way out the door.

    Royal Buffet
    1400 75th Street
    Darien, IL
    630.322.8883

    Suzy
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa
  • Post #44 - April 8th, 2009, 10:16 pm
    Post #44 - April 8th, 2009, 10:16 pm Post #44 - April 8th, 2009, 10:16 pm
    sdritz wrote:We had a great meal at Royal Buffet in Darien. In addition to the mounds of all you can eat food on the steam tables, they also have a fresh stir-fry bar and a sushi bar. I mostly filled up on sushi. You need to get there very early on a Saturday or you'll end up in a line all the way out the door.

    Royal Buffet
    1400 75th Street
    Darien, IL
    630.322.8883

    Suzy


    Seems I need to resurrect this post because my mother (which I previously mentioned being the buffet critic in the family) has raved about the Royal Buffet in Darien. We have gone twice in the past week or so and the family has decided we will be hitting it up again for Easter Sunday. Mind you, my family lives just 10 minutes from the Wisconsin/Illinois border and they loved Royal Buffet so much, they're willing to trek it all the way down to Darien and make a glutinous day of it.

    This past Sunday we went and it was $13.95 for the buffet which included all you can eat lobster. I was looking forward to the lobster until I soon realized it wasn't simply steamed as I hoped. Instead, the lobster placed on my plate was split, deep fried in a tempura light batter and lightly sauced.

    Royal Buffet even has a plaque near the register reflecting they are one of the top 50 Chinese Buffet restaurants in the country.
  • Post #45 - April 9th, 2009, 1:22 pm
    Post #45 - April 9th, 2009, 1:22 pm Post #45 - April 9th, 2009, 1:22 pm
    Thanks for bumping this, as I missed it before. I have a deep and abiding dislike of buffets (I have made an exception for Indian buffets, but I am growing to dislike them, too) because of how the food is abused as it sits and sits and sits until it is unrecognizable.

    But I also try to be open minded, and the Royal Buffet is not that far from my house, so I will go, take pictures, enjoy the atmosphere, and report back. Maybe even soon.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #46 - April 9th, 2009, 1:36 pm
    Post #46 - April 9th, 2009, 1:36 pm Post #46 - April 9th, 2009, 1:36 pm
    My friend has been telling me about royal buffet for a few months now, but her lasty recommendation of a chinese buffet in niles was nasty so i didn't believe her. NOw after reading this thread, I will check it out. I am off 294,up north, what is the best way to get there? And when is the best time to go?
  • Post #47 - April 9th, 2009, 2:20 pm
    Post #47 - April 9th, 2009, 2:20 pm Post #47 - April 9th, 2009, 2:20 pm
    lilmomma wrote:My friend has been telling me about royal buffet for a few months now, but her lasty recommendation of a chinese buffet in niles was nasty so i didn't believe her. NOw after reading this thread, I will check it out. I am off 294,up north, what is the best way to get there? And when is the best time to go?


    From 294, head south and take the E - W Tollway/I-88 exit toward Aurora
    Merge onto I-88 W (there is a toll road)
    Exit onto IL-83
    Turn right at Plainfield Rd
    Slight right at 75th St

    Royal Buffet is just west of the 75th St. & Lemont Road intersection in Downers Grove, in a shopping plaza. You'll find it between a Scrapbooking store and a Petco.

    We've gone there during a weekday just shy of 12 noon and were seated within 5 minutes... and we've gone there on a Sunday just after 12 noon and were seated within 10 minutes. The earlier the better as the lunch crowd will often start a line out the door around 12:30pm (which I've noticed on a Sunday).

    The address noted for Royal Buffet reflects "1400 75th Street" in Darien, but when punched in my nav, it takes me further west.
  • Post #48 - April 9th, 2009, 4:20 pm
    Post #48 - April 9th, 2009, 4:20 pm Post #48 - April 9th, 2009, 4:20 pm
    lilmomma wrote:My friend has been telling me about royal buffet for a few months now, but her lasty recommendation of a chinese buffet in niles was nasty so i didn't believe her. NOw after reading this thread, I will check it out. I am off 294,up north, what is the best way to get there? And when is the best time to go?

    You might consider a closer restaurant, Silk Mandarin, in Vernon Hills. They have an excellent lunch buffet on weekdays ($9.95) and a more elaborate one on Sundays (price unknown). I find their food to be excellent and the weekday buffet has lots of choices.
    Take I-294 north and continue on I-94. Get off I-94 at IL-60 and head west past Milwaukee Rd. (IL 21). They're about 1.5 miles or so west of IL 21 on the south side of IL 60. You can see their sign from I-60.
    Regards,
    Grandpa Bob

    Silk Mandarin
    4 E Phillip Rd
    Vernon Hills, IL 60061
    (847) 680-1760
    "It was very nice the time I was there." - my Mother whenever she was asked her opinion of a restaurant
  • Post #49 - April 9th, 2009, 10:13 pm
    Post #49 - April 9th, 2009, 10:13 pm Post #49 - April 9th, 2009, 10:13 pm
    foodie1 wrote:From 294, head south and take the E - W Tollway/I-88 exit toward Aurora
    Merge onto I-88 W (there is a toll road)
    Exit onto IL-83
    Turn right at Plainfield Rd
    Slight right at 75th St

    Royal Buffet is just west of the 75th St. & Lemont Road intersection in Downers Grove, in a shopping plaza. You'll find it between a Scrapbooking store and a Petco.

    A faster route would be to stay on I-88W to I-355, take I-355S to the 75th St exit, turn left/east off the exit ramp, drive 1/2 mile and turn left into the (huge) strip mall when you see the Barnes&Noble on the left.

    foodie1 wrote:The address noted for Royal Buffet reflects "1400 75th Street" in Darien, but when punched in my nav, it takes me further west.

    That's because as you noted above, Royal Buffet is in Downers Grove and not in Darien.
  • Post #50 - May 28th, 2009, 1:52 pm
    Post #50 - May 28th, 2009, 1:52 pm Post #50 - May 28th, 2009, 1:52 pm
    tried Royal Buffet for lunch today, not a bad buffet, lots of selection, and a nice $7.95 price for lunch.

    ate:

    -a couple plates of crawfish, surprisingly nice, held in a spicy broth with whole
    jalapenos.
    - fried rice, a decent version, nothing spectacular
    - ribeye steak, tasty slices of steak on the bone
    - General's Chicken - too sweet, not enough kick
    - hot and spicy chicken, another chicken dish, in a spicy oil based sauce
    - california roll, a decent version with large chunk of avacado, and rolled in fish roe
    - some beef with mushroom dish, pretty tender chunks of meat in a brown mushroom gravy
    - stir fried noodles with veg - ok, alot of ginger
    - crab rangoons - not a good version of these

    I also saw chicken feet, fried fish, mussels, and alot of other dishes I didnt have time to try. THey also have a Mongolian Grill section I didnt have time for. A decent lunch option imho.
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



    @GrubSeeker
  • Post #51 - May 28th, 2009, 2:04 pm
    Post #51 - May 28th, 2009, 2:04 pm Post #51 - May 28th, 2009, 2:04 pm
    Jim,

    Since the quality of these buffets varies from location to location, could supply the address where you visited.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #52 - May 28th, 2009, 2:07 pm
    Post #52 - May 28th, 2009, 2:07 pm Post #52 - May 28th, 2009, 2:07 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Jim,

    Since the quality of these buffets varies from location to location, could supply the address where you visited.

    Regards,


    my bad Cathy,

    Royal Buffet
    1400 75th Street
    Darien, IL.
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



    @GrubSeeker
  • Post #53 - April 10th, 2011, 5:01 pm
    Post #53 - April 10th, 2011, 5:01 pm Post #53 - April 10th, 2011, 5:01 pm
    The "All You Can Eat Lobster" and "Crablegs" they advertised is very dissappointing. You need to stand in line of 10 t0 20 people for 20-25 minutes to get your portion if your lucky or stand in the line again and wait until you get your portion. The lobster server is moody and prejudice. If you're not chinese or well dress white the portion of lobster served is half or less than what was given to the former. Their washroom is so gross. Sometimes it so stingky that it smelled from the outside. Weekends is not good time to go there unless you want wait in line for 40 - 60 minutes and hazzle with the crowded food stations.


    jow wrote:In my opinion, even the New China Buffet in Darien is slipping in quality. It used to be better. There is a new one, called Royal Buffet, just across the street from there (between Cub Foods and Toys R Us). It was good when it opened about 8 months ago, but it is also slipping in quality. Both these places are extremely crowded on weekends, and I think they are not able to keep up the quality when cooking in that much bulk.
  • Post #54 - April 10th, 2011, 5:32 pm
    Post #54 - April 10th, 2011, 5:32 pm Post #54 - April 10th, 2011, 5:32 pm
    Yes, the quality of food at Royal Buffet isn't good any more, but it is amazing to see how crowded it is on weekends. And the weekend rate of $15 isn't worth it. Weekday lunch costs about half that.
  • Post #55 - August 5th, 2011, 8:03 am
    Post #55 - August 5th, 2011, 8:03 am Post #55 - August 5th, 2011, 8:03 am
    Royal Buffet now has a web site: http://www.royalbuffetil.com
  • Post #56 - August 5th, 2011, 10:43 am
    Post #56 - August 5th, 2011, 10:43 am Post #56 - August 5th, 2011, 10:43 am
    Ive given up a lot on chinese and indian buffets to serve quality food. if i do go its for lunch. my go tos are shree in westmont on cass, indian palace on geneva and main in wheaton and beijing on roosevelt road in glen ellyn. these are lunch buffets only. the food is better ordered off the menu but the lunch is cheap and halfway decent for an occasional visit.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #57 - August 5th, 2011, 11:11 pm
    Post #57 - August 5th, 2011, 11:11 pm Post #57 - August 5th, 2011, 11:11 pm
    I will highly recommend

    Chang Jiang Buffet
    1223 E Oakton St
    Des Plaines Il
    (847) 296-2188

    Located on the south east corner of Oakton and Mannheim Rd.
    Ample sized parking lot.

    It is what it is…. A Chinese buffet. The hot foods are usually well stocked and fresh.

    Lunch is about $ 8 and dinner is about $ 10 .. I say “ about “ because I know hey just raised prices— then again who hasn’t.

    They offer Crab Legs on Sunday. I can’t tell you much about how they are as I don’t go there for that… but Mrs Jazzman Likes them and stated they are very good.
    NOTE: They DO go FAST so you have to be alert to get yours as soon as they bring them out.

    They have sushi – again I can’t tell you much… about that either.

    It’s a Chinese Buffet with items like Pepper Steak, Beef and Peppers, all sorts of Chicken entrees’, Egg Rolls, Egg Foo Young and a large Salad bar and Sweet table. And, the staff is usually alert and quick to refill hot tea, drinks etc.

    Somebody will post they didn’t like it, or something else happened… but that happens at all restaurants.

    Give it try for yourself.

    I " will " say that “ everyone “ who we have taken here has been quite satisfied… and all were impressed with the cleanliness of the restaurant.
  • Post #58 - March 30th, 2012, 10:26 pm
    Post #58 - March 30th, 2012, 10:26 pm Post #58 - March 30th, 2012, 10:26 pm
    Ressurecting another old thread. Bear with me. :D Anyway, I am not fond of Chinese buffets. My parents live around the corner from Hong Kong Buffet on McCormick and Devon and I went once years ago with a cousin (who paid) and I just was not impressed. Flash forward almost a decade later and I ended up with my husband and his aunt here:

    New China Buffet
    8339 W North Ave
    Melrose Park, IL 60160
    (708) 345-3278

    We went for dinner earlier this evening and this was after having an underhwleming Italian beef at Jay's on Narragansett at lunchtime. I didn't expect a whole lot but I thought it would be decent. Bah! All I have to say is thank god my husband's aunt was paying. At almost $11 per person it was so not worth the money. The pork egg rolls were decent. The hot and spicy chicken was good though not spicy at all. The crab rangoon, stuffed mushrooms and stuffed mussels all sucked but in all fairness that is because I have mastered the art of making the first two at home and the funny trick is that mine have way more flavor even after using subpar Aldi products. And don't even get me started on the calamari. Rubbery and tasteless and some of the worst I have ever had. Hotmustard was spciy but not the sinus orgasm inducing nirvana I look for in a hot mustard.

    I actually live down the street from the New China Buffet outpost on Addison and Elston and I all i can say is I am glad that the Melrose Park outpost did not swear me off food for life. I know there is better out there. This ain't it. Although a tasteless buffet is perfect for my husband's 80 year old aunt so she will continue to go. I, however, will most certainly not.
  • Post #59 - March 31st, 2012, 8:54 am
    Post #59 - March 31st, 2012, 8:54 am Post #59 - March 31st, 2012, 8:54 am
    Cathy2 wrote:My maternal grandparents lived in the immediate area. Wasn't this location once a Wag's? I never went to a Wag's, which I believe was associated with Walgreens, but I clearly remember the commercial: kid with tongue hanging out, which seemed to get longer with anticipation, as they rolled various entrees and desserts past him.

    Wag's, the experiment, seemed to have a fairly short life.



    Wag's was bought out in the early 80s by Marriott's Restaurant Operations as an attempt to expand beyond their traditional Mid-Atlantic stronghold. Their goal was to start up a chain called Allie's (after the founder's wife). It was an effort to convert the Hot Shoppes Cafeteria chain into a sit-down service restaurant

    About a year after the purchase, the financial whizzes at Marriott decided to divest all of its restaurant holdings (including Roy Roger's, Farrell's, and others) in an effort to expand the hotel operations. Of course, these were the same geniuses who nearly drove into bankruptcy five years later as they lacked the understanding of the negatives of financial leverage.
  • Post #60 - October 23rd, 2017, 3:46 pm
    Post #60 - October 23rd, 2017, 3:46 pm Post #60 - October 23rd, 2017, 3:46 pm
    Apparently it's been long enough that I've forgotten what a bad idea this is, and went to try one the last remaining buffets, China Buffet in Arlington Heights on Rand (another block and I've have been at the pretty good Wing Wah, but no, I chose quantity over quality).

    First off, the buffet is hardly Chinese: there are maybe four Chinese entrees, a lot of appetizer-y things (that weren't very appetizing), weird stuff like "Hawaiian Seafood Bake" and "Braised Pot Roast". The most popular item appeared to be the Salt and Pepper Shrimp: folks dove for that, and there was never anything left when I got through the buffet line, but what I saw heaped on plates looked overcooked. The salt and pepper squid, though, had all the flavor and texture of a fielder's glove left out in the yard over the winter. Hot Pepper Chicken was gloppy, Orange Chicken even gloppier.

    High points: string beans, obviously frozen foodservice fried shrimp, crab rangoon, and the sushi items (merely OK, but the bar is low). Actually, the best thing I ate was the mongolian bbq -- pick your ingredients and sauce (chicken, mushrooms, noodles, chile oil and "mongolian" sauce for me), and they cook it on the flat top. The other folks being served from this were getting tacos -- big stack of tortillas there for the mostly Hispanic clientele.

    Maybe next decade I'll have forgotten, and I'll go again, but I'd have to be crazy.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang

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