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Top 8 American Buffet Staples You Shouldn’t Miss


May 28, 2024

The American buffet is a feast for both the eyes and the stomach. Picture tables overflowing with dishes like fried chicken, mac and cheese, and so many other favorites just waiting for you to try. It’s your chance to build your own perfect plate.

What makes buffets special is the freedom to choose and the generous portions. But they’re also great places to gather with friends and family, sharing laughs and making memories over delicious meals.

Feeling hungry? Great Plaza Buffet has everything you crave! We pile high all your favorite American comfort foods. The second you walk in, the amazing smells and sights will hit you, it’s a food lover’s paradise.

Top 8 American Buffet Staples to Explore

With American buffets, you get to create a meal you won’t forget by picking and choosing exactly what you love. Here are the top 8 buffet must-haves:

1. The All-American Classics

Picture sinking your teeth into deliciously crispy and juicy fried chicken. Then, savoring a spoonful of creamy, rich mac and cheese. And who could resist fluffy mashed potatoes, just waiting for a generous pour of gravy or a dollop of butter?

These classics hold a special place in American culture. Fried chicken, for instance, became a national favorite after finding its home in the South after the Civil War. Mac and cheese, with its sharp cheddar twist, puts an American spin on a European dish.

Tips for enjoying these classics at buffets:

  1. Start with a small portion. Buffets are all about trying a little bit of everything. Sample these classics first, then go back for more if you love them.
  2. Don’t drown your food in gravy. These dishes are delicious on their own. Use gravy or butter sparingly to enhance the flavor, not overpower it.
  3. Mix and match. The beauty of a buffet is creating your own combinations. Try mashed potatoes with mac and cheese, or pair your fried chicken with a side of coleslaw for a touch of freshness.

2. The Southern Comfort Fare

Southern comfort food brings a whole new level of flavor and warmth to the American buffet.

Think fluffy biscuits smothered in rich gravy, a resourceful dish born from leftover dough. Then there’s collard greens, a slow-cooked side with a depth of flavor influenced by African traditions.

And you definitely don’t want to miss the cornbread, with its sweet or savory taste, perfect for soaking up all the goodness.

Finally, savor shrimp and grits, a Southern classic that combines Native American grits with coastal shrimp. It’s a taste of history and soul food on a plate.

3. Seafood Extravaganza

The seafood section at an American buffet is a highlight. Mountains of snow-white crab legs promising sweet, succulent meat.

Start your meal with something refreshing, like a shrimp cocktail, each bite bursting with briny flavor. Then, enjoy a bowl of creamy New England clam chowder, filled with tender clams and fluffy potatoes that will warm you up.

Lastly, try the golden-fried fish with its crispy crust—a satisfying and familiar favorite. And remember, buffets offer more than just the classics. Many feature international dishes, which we’ll explore next.

4. International Flavors on the Buffet

American buffets aren’t only limited to fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

Think sushi stations, taco bars, and stir-fry selections. This global influence mirrors America’s cultural melting pot, where you might find a California roll next to BBQ ribs or salsa beside macaroni and cheese.

So be adventurous! Sample a bit of everything, or create your own fusion dishes. Try some teriyaki sauce on your chicken, or add kimchi to your mac and cheese.

You might like: What to Expect From an American Buffet

5. Salad Bar Sensations

Don’t underestimate the power of the salad bar at an American buffet. It’s a haven for fresh greens, crisp vegetables, and light options to balance your plate. You’ll find all the staples: romaine, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and all the peppers.

Ranch, italian, and balsamic vinaigrette are usually on hand for dressing. Plus, most buffets offer specialty salads like Caesar with creamy dressing and croutons, or Waldorf with apples, walnuts, and grapes.

If you’re stuck on how to choose the best combo for you because of all the options, here’s a short guide on building your own salad:

  1. Start with greens. Romaine, iceberg, spinach, or a mix.
  2. Add your favorites. Pile on chopped veggies, sliced fruit, or crunchy croutons.
  3. Pick your protein. Shredded chicken, roasted chickpeas, or a sprinkle of cheese.
  4. Dress it up. Choose a light vinaigrette or a creamy dressing to tie everything together.

6. Delightful Desserts for a Sweet Ending

No American buffet experience is complete without a trip to the dessert station. This is your chance to indulge in treats that satisfy your sweet tooth. For instance, warm apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, rich chocolate cake, or creamy cheesecake.

With so many choices, how do you manage to leave room to try a bit of everything? Here’s the secret:

  1. Pace yourself. Don’t fill up on main courses. Take smaller portions so you have space for dessert.
  2. Sample strategically. Choose bite-sized portions or share with friends so you can try a variety of sweets.
  3. Think balance. Opt for lighter options like fruit salad or a small cup of ice cream to avoid feeling overloaded.

7. Healthy Options at the Buffet

American buffets are catching on to healthy trends. Look beyond the fried favorites and discover delicious options like grilled vegetables, fresh fruit salads, and whole grain breads and pastas.

The key to a great buffet experience is balance. Pile high on the good stuff, but don’t forget about portion control. With a little planning, you can create a satisfying and healthy plate at your next American buffet.

8. Beverages to Accompany Your Meal

Any great American buffet will have a variety of beverages to quench your thirst and complement your meal.

Classic choices include soft drinks, iced tea, lemonade, and coffee. Staying hydrated is important, so be sure to grab a drink throughout your meal.

Here’s how to choose the perfect drink:

  1. Match your flavors. Consider what you’re eating. Iced tea pairs well with spicy dishes, while lemonade cuts through richer foods.
  2. Go light or bubbly. Sparkling water or unsweetened iced tea are refreshing options.
  3. Coffee for the finale. Enjoy a cup of coffee after your meal to help with digestion.

Tips and Etiquette for Navigating the Buffet

Buffets are full of tasty surprises, but a bit of planning can make your experience even more enjoyable.

Before diving in, take a moment to see what dishes are available. This helps you plan your approach and avoid multiple trips.

Don’t overload your plate on the first trip. Take smaller portions so you can try a variety of great American buffet staples. And grab a fresh plate for each trip to the buffet. This prevents mixing flavors and keeping things hygienic.

Lastly, wait patiently in line and avoid hovering over the food. Use serving utensils properly to avoid cross-contamination.

Which American Buffet Staple Will You Try First?

A staple of every great American buffet is a celebration of culinary variety. From classic comfort food to international flavors, these buffets showcase the rich melting pot of cultures that defines American cuisine.

Looking for a family-friendly spot with high-quality food at great prices? We offer over 158 items daily, including shrimp, beef, chicken, fish, sushi, and desserts. Seniors 60+ get a 10% discount, and we have group discounts too. Fresh food always and party trays available.

Come enjoy a true American buffet feast at Great Plaza Buffet!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some classic American buffet staples?

American buffet classics include fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, a salad bar with various toppings and dressings, international selections like pasta or tacos, and of course, delicious desserts.

What’s the proper etiquette for using serving utensils?

Use a clean spoon or fork for each dish you serve yourself. Avoid digging to the bottom of the container or mixing serving utensils in different dishes.

I have dietary restrictions. Can I still enjoy a buffet?

If you have dietary restrictions, don’t worry, Great Plaza Buffet has options for you too.  We offer dishes that are vegetarian, gluten-free, or low-carb. Just let our staff know about your dietary needs, and they’ll be happy to guide you to the dishes that fit your preferences.