Shady Maple Smorgasbord
Address: 129 Toddy Drive, East Earl, PA
Phone: (717) 354-8222
Breakfast: Mon-Sat 5am-10am $9.41, $10.55 on Sat
Lunch: Mon-Sat 10:45am-3:14pm $11.95, $18.15 on Sat
Dinner: Mon-Sat 4pm-8pm $16-$23
Typical breakfast: Fresh made eggs and omelets, quiche, sausage, ham, scrapple, bacon, pancakes, french toast, mush, puddings, oatmeal, waffles, biscuits, fruit, cereal, baked goods, beverages.
Typical lunch/dinner: cold salads, coleslaw, macaroni salad, pasta salad, potato salad, sugar-free potato salad, sugar-free macaroni salad, soups, corn, carrots, green beans, baked beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, french fries, onion rings, macaroni & cheese, pizza, mashed potatoes, fried mushrooms, buttered noodles, harvard beets, filling (stuffing), chicken gravy, beef gravy, wheat rolls, potato rolls, apple bread, strawberry bread, peach bread, cinnamon bread, broasted chicken, crabcakes, ham, chicken and seafood croquettes, roasted turkey, smoked turkey, roasted pork, roast beef, baked chicken, meatballs, pot roast, fried fish and other fried seafood, sodas, fruit juices, teas, coffees, hot teas, milks, icees
Typical dessert: puddings, ambrosia salads, cakes, cobblers, apple crisp, apple, peach, lemon, blueberry pies, cheese cake, carrot cake, chocolate layer cake, soft serve ice cream and sundae bar.
The Shady Maple Smorgasbord must be experienced to explain. It’s a truly massive and expansive buffet on par with the size you’ll find at most casinos. It’s located in a large complex with Shady Maple’s other offerings, the Farm Market, Gift Shop, craft store and furniture store. There is parking for probably 2000+. The buffet alone can seat 1,200 and is over 110,000 square feet. On Mother’s Day they served over 9000 diners throughout the day! This is one serious buffet, it’s not kids play.
The is a large foyer or waiting room that although it is big fills up quickly with all the tour bus groups. It can get extremely busy and you’ll find yourself in line to get in but because of the size the line tends to move quickly. There is a huge gift shop located down the stairs but you won’t be waiting long enough to even make a dent in it, that will have to be shopped on it’s own time.
Once you’ve paid the cashier you’ll be asked if you’d like a table or a booth. The booth section is smaller so the line will move slower. Neither section is nearer the serving tables as they have two sets of mostly identical offerings. Once sat you’ll be given an explanation of the buffet and their daily offerings. Each day they have a differnt special and the prices reflect that. Monday is steak night, Tuesday is seafood (and the most expensive at $23), Wednesday is prime rib, Thursday is shrimp and chicken, Friday shrimp, catfish and grilled meats and Saturday is salmon, catfish and grilled meats.
The buffet is in it’s own sort of room, really more like a hall. Like I said previously there are two sides and they offer mostly the same items. In the center where the two ends meet you’ll find the grilling stations with your daily specials being cooked to order along with all their accompaniments and sauces, i.e. grilled onions, sauteed onions, BBQ sauce, horseradish, etc. The breads and cheese are also scattered around this area. One thing I learned about Shady Maple is that there are surprises in little nooks and crannies…like pastries or pizza or apple butter.
The beverages are self serve and there are so many that I can’t remember everything but they have Coke and Pepsi sodas, a bunch of iced teas, different flavored coffees, milk, chocolate milk, orange juice, apple juice, grape juice other fruit juices, regular teas, icees and more, pretty much anything you’d want.
At the first serving table you’ll find all of your salads, toppings and dressings. They have pretty much all your bases cover here with your typical lettuces, peas, carrots, olives, onions, croutons, bacon bits, raisins, etc. as well as Ranch, blue cheese, Thousand Island, oil & vinegar, and more. There is also a number of pasta and potato salads as well as the soups of the day, usually a chicken noodle, chicken pot pie, corn chowder or New England clam chowder. I believe they normally have 3 or 4 soups out.
After that the rest of the serving tables have all the sides and entrees mixed about, there is not too much of a system. You’ll find it all here, French fries, onion rings, macaroni & cheese, mashed potatoes, gravies, meatloaf, pizza, corn, green beans, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, candied yams, ham balls, seafood cakes, buttered noodles, spaghetti, crab cakes, turkey, stuffing, fried chicken, BBQ chicken, fried shrimp, pot roast, fried fish and more. There is really too much here to name. I would suggest walking around the tables at least once to get your bearings.
At either end you’ll find the dessert areas. They have a sundae bar with chocolate, vanilla and swirl soft serve with chocolate, caramel and butterscotch sauces, chopped nuts, sprinkles, chocolates and cookie crumbles. The pies, puddings and cakes are also too numerous to remember but they have most anything you can think of, chocolate cake, yellow cake, carrot cake, red velvet cake, eclair pudding, chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding, banana pudding, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, shoofly pie, whoopie pies, cookies, brownies, apple pie, banana cream pie, coconut cream pie, peanut butter cream pie and lots more.
Most everything I had here was delicious. The problem is that there is so much that it’s hard to try everything you’d like. The steaks were cooked to order and was very good. They also had sausages, chicken and fish on the grill. They have the widest array of sauces and toppings that I’ve ever seen, which is something that always pleases me.
Their soups are really good, I especially liked the corn and New England chowders. The fried chicken and fried shrimp were very good. One of the other outstanding items was the crab cakes and the seafood croquettes. The meatloaf was good. The mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and turkey was good but nothing exceptional. The french fries were alright but the onion rings and pizza were sub-par. They seemed to be store bought. The breads were all very good. The vegetables were extremely fresh and led me to believe that they are all bought locally and cooked on premise. Everything was hot and restocked quickly. There is some much volume and traffic that they’re constantly cooking and refilling all the stations.
You’ll need to save a lot of room for dessert if you have a sweet tooth. They really do have something to please most any palate. The puddings were all fantastic, the wasn’t a bad one in the bunch. The cream pies were a bit lack luster to me. The cakes were fairly decent, the chocolate being the best. The things that were really good were the cookies, brownies and pies. The fruit pies were probably the tops amongst the desserts. The sundae bar was a nice way to top of the brownies.
The entire restaurant is immaculately clean and tidy. The dining area, serving tables, and all areas were spotless. The plates, cups, bowls and utensils were always stocked and clean. The bathrooms were spotless as well. The biggest problem you’ll have here is the sheer amount of other diners mulling about the serving tables but again it’s so large that it’s not too much of an issue, just be prepared for it.
Aside from the good food the sheer size and volume of this place is something to behold. It’s great for a large group as they certainly have something for everyone. They are also used to handling large amounts of people and can accommodate groups of any size really. I recommend anyone that wants a lot of variety and fairly decent food at a reasonable price be sure to stop in to Shady Maple.