Willow Valley Family Restaurant
Address: 2416 Willow Street Pike, Lancaster, PA 17602
Phone: (717) 464-2711
Breakfast: Mon-Sat 8am-10:30am $12.99, Sun Bunch 11am-2pm $30.99
Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30am-2pm $11.99
Dinner: Mon-Sun 5pm-8pm $20.99
Typical breakfast: ???
Typical lunch/dinner: lettuce, vegetables, salad toppings, Caesar salad, house salad, wheat and white dinner rolls, Seafood Bisque, Creamy Butternut Squash, potato salad, macaroni salad, pasta salad, egg salad, deviled eggs, broccoli salad, coleslaw, sliced turkey, cider ham, butter noodles, chicken pot pie, carrots, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, beef gravy, corn, stuffing, fried shrimp, cocktail shrimp, fried clam strips, sliced roast beef and pineapple ham.
Typical dessert: tapioca, cherry Jell-O, chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding, peach pie, blueberry pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, shoofly pie, coconut cream pie, chocolate cream pie, peanut butter cream pie, red velvet cake, pumpkin cake, carrot cake, chocolate cake, whoopie pie cake, hot cherry cobbler, hot apple cobbler, sugar cookies, chocolate chocolate cookies, chocolate chip filled cookies, brownies and soft serve vanilla ice cream.
The Willow Valley Resort has two buffets. One is located at the Palms Court and is typically just setup for Sunday brunch and holidays. The other is the Family Restaurant which is located on the west side of the resort. I believe they serve breakfast lunch and dinner here 7 days a week. I went to the Family Restaurant on Thanksgiving day. It was quite busy and there were a lot of families there.
You will be asked to place your name on a list but the wait was no more that 5 minutes. The have a fairly large dining room and can seat quite a lot of patrons. The buffet consists of 2 salad islands, 3 hot food tables, a carving station and a dessert section.
The first salad island houses all of your dressings (house, Italian, Ranch, 1000 Island, Caesar, blue cheese), lettuce, vegetables, toppings and a couple tossed salads (Caesar, House). Near here you’ll find a counter with wheat and white dinner rolls, butter, jelly, honey and two soups (Seafood Bisque & Creamy Butternut Squash). The second salad island has a few condiments (tarter sauce, cocktail sauce, cranberry sauce), potato salad, macaroni salad, pasta salad, egg salad, deviled eggs, broccoli salad and cole slaw.
The first buffet table has sliced turkey, cider ham, butter noodles, chicken pot pie and carrots. The second buffet table has fried chicken, mashed potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, beef gravy, corn and stuffing. There is a small third buffet section with fried shrimp, cocktail shrimp and fried clam strips. The carving station has sliced roast beef and pineapple ham.
The dessert section is fairly large and has tapioca, cherry Jell-O, chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding, peach pie, blueberry pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, shoofly pie, coconut cream pie, chocolate cream pie, peanut butter cream pie, red velvet cake, pumpkin cake, carrot cake, chocolate cake, whoopie pie cake, hot cherry cobbler, hot apple cobbler, sugar cookies, chocolate chocolate cookies, chocolate chip filled cookies, brownies and soft serve vanilla ice cream.
Once shown to your table the server will take your drink order which is included in the price. They have an extensive list of sodas and beverages.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality at this buffet. There was not a huge variety of food but very item was above average and extremely fresh. There was not one item that was below grade. The fried chicken was exceptional, crispy but not greasy and very well seasoned. The roast beef was cooked perfectly, still pink. The pineapple ham was delicious along with the pineapple raisin glaze sauce. Both soups were good but the Butternut Squash Cream soup was exceptional. The seafood bisque had whole shrimps in it. The sliced turkey was good. The salads were all good, none that really set me off but all very fresh. The fried oyster strips were delicious. The butter noodles were also extremely good. The chicken pot pie was phenomenal. The crust on it was many layers, nice and crisp on the top but soft in the middle with large pieces of chicken and lots of vegetables. The mashed potatoes were perfect. As were the stewed tomatoes.The main point I would make about all of the food is that it was not over sauced, over salted or over buttered. I tend to see buffets doing this to cover up poor quality cooking but they do not need to do this.
The desserts were plentiful as I mentioned and most were extremely good. Both the cherry and apple hot cobblers were exceptional. The blueberry pie was very good as were all the cakes especially the carrot cake. The puddings were good. The only item that didn’t live up to the rest was the peach pie, the crust was uncooked and there was not much peach filling at all. The cookie were very good. The were not your typical cookies, they had a slight fudge filling that was really good. There were also brownies which were pretty good. The only problem was the soft serve ice cream machine was broken at first. They were finally able to fix it and luckily so, that’s my favorite part of dessert. I don’t know how they make their ice cream but was amazing. It was much creamier than any other soft serve ice cream I’ve ever had. I would call it gourmet soft serve. Unfortunately they have no cones, sauces or toppings.
The food here like I mentioned is all extremely fresh and well made. You can tell they are making everything from scratch and the chefs are true chefs. There seems to be nothing here that was brought in or just warmed up. Because of the high volume of people the items were replenished often and always hot. There was never a problem with items being out but there was a bit of a line at most times. Especially for the meats.
The waitstaff was helpful but a bit scattered at times. I had trouble getting my server several times but she was always helpful once I did. The did not refill drinks quickly nor were they terribly great with cleaning empty plates. I think they were a bit understaffed for the holiday. They did well with what they had to work with and did it all with a smile on their face.
The restaurant was extremely clean as were the restrooms. All utensils, plates, bowls and cups were always clean and plentiful. The dining room and buffet tables were spotless. The clientele here is mostly elderly couples as there is a large retirement community just 2 minutes away. All-in-all this is a very good buffet. The selection is smaller than a lot of other places but the food quality is extremely high. The high price is certainly justified. I would recommend dining here. It is much classier than your typical buffet and better quality then some others at similar price ranges.