Rating: As buffets go in the Muncie area this is a 10 of 10.
Address: 4500 Dan Patch Circle, Anderson, Indiana 46013
Phone: (800) 526-7223
At $10.75 for the lunch buffet, it’s well worth it. Tucked into the gaming capital of East Central Indiana-Hoosier Park Racing and Casino for the uninitiated-lays a gem of a restaurant. But then I am biased. I love buffets. They are a smorgasbord of taste when done well. Of course, not all buffets are created equal though. Here in East Central Indiana, we have Chinese buffets, places like Ryan’s and Sirloin Stockade, and pizza buffets. The variety at these sometimes is lacking, to say the least. But the small buffet inside the original racing track side of Hoosier Park is one of the two best deals around that I have been to (my review of Welliver’s in Hagerstown is forthcoming, provided they are still in business by the time I can get back down there). And, as I mentioned in my first sentence, the price is hard to beat.
For just under $11 I was able to gorge myself on perfectly browned, crispy fried shrimp, moist and juicy fried chicken (which is difficult to maintain in a buffet environment), and a variety of meats cut for you depending on the day (sausage and turkey breast were the meats on the day I went). Their lines also have pasta, calamari and green beans. I highly recommend the green beans. There is an initial sweetness to them that I find hard to describe, it is almost honey in sweetness, but that description just doesn’t quite do it justice. That light, honey-ish sweetness sweeps through your mouth and down your throat with each succulent bite too.
The shrimp were crisp and brown, something too often not the case. We’ve all seen those buffets that have soggy or nearly burnt fried shrimp, or bit into a taste of flour instead of a chunk of shrimp. This is not one of those buffets. A bite of the shrimp results in a snapping sound just as it should.
The chicken I had was surprisingly moist and juicy, a feat not easily achieved in restaurants where food stays out on steam tables. I was on my lunch break and nearly had the juice squirt out and soil my shirt once. That, I discovered, is how moist the breasts and wings are at Hoosier Park.
They do have a salad bar that has a nice selection, but I admit that I am not a salad kind of guy. Give me meat and sugar any day of the week. And that would be my cue to segue into a discussion about the desserts. I have never been to a buffet as small as this one and had such a huge selection of desert from which to choose. On both occasions I’ve been the selections must have ranged in the twenties someplace. Oodles of cheesecake, sweet potato pie, assorted cream pies and fruit pies and cakes cover three levels and three or four sections of countertop (roughly 15 feet give or take). I am not a particular fan of pie so I leave the review of those to another foodie, but as a fan of cake and cake-like desserts I highly recommend the cheesecakes-any of them.
Though small, I think this quaint place rivals those of its big brothers and sisters in Las Vegas. Our experience at two buffets in Sin City sated our needs with no problem and they were both well worth the money, which isn’t saying much considering one was free for guests and at the other one we were able to eat at with a deep discount.
So when you get over to Anderson, stop into the best little buffet in town. It’s not a gamble at all. If you want to go gastronomic gambling go down the road to a Chinese or pizza buffet. If you want to feel like you pulled one over on the house, then go to Hoosier Park and Casino.