Fancy an all-you-can-eat buffet? If you’re looking in Peterborough, you might have to search hard.
A la carte self-service dining options were once plentiful in the city. The Carousel Restaurant and Buffet on Lansdowne Street East was once a popular destination for breakfasts and family gatherings. It’s been gone since 2017.
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the closure of a few others. The South China Buffet at 898 Lansdowne St. W. is now permanently closed. Same goes for the Hong Kong Buffet just up the street. The location is now a cannabis store.
Further north, you can still eat at the Daisy Chinese Lunch and Dinner Buffet, but the traditional self-service option is no longer available. However, you can take takeaway meals.
And that’s the only option on the table at Loon Ho Buffet on Chemong Road.
At Shorelines Casino, it took a while, but the traditional buffet is back… but with a few changes.
Bryan Buchanan, regional vice president of Shorelines in Peterborough, knew there was an urge to bring the buffet back to the casino. But they do it carefully and assess how it goes.
Before COVID there were theme nights throughout the week and the brunch buffet was popular.
While the Windward Restaurant at the back of the casino is open daily, the larger buffet restaurant only recently reopened, and only on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
They held a Mother’s Day brunch last week, but they haven’t opened for regular daily brunches yet.
“I would say (the buffet experience) is very similar from a customer perspective of how it would have worked before the pandemic,” Buchanan said. “You still go up to the hot wells, the salad bar, etc., and help yourself. What we are doing a little differently is changing the serving spoons which are used by guests a little more frequently than they would have been before the pandemic.
He says they were careful to follow guidelines provided by public health.
If demand increases, he suspects they will step up the operation.
Customers will also notice that prices have increased. A few years ago you could get brunch for $7.99 with a free membership card. The Prime Rib and Lobster evening would set you back $19.99, but the roast beef buffet could be had for as low as $9.99.
Since reopening, the Roast Beef Buffet will cost you $27.99, as will the Carvery Buffet. The Ultimate BBQ Buffet is $25.99. The Mother’s Day brunch buffet was offered for $19.99.
“I think if we look at everything right now, we’ve seen price increases from some of our suppliers,” he said. “We chose a price that we felt was appropriate for the offer.”
In comparison, at the Pickering Casino, which is owned by a different group, their buffet is open Wednesday through Sunday, but the price is $35 or $45 per person, depending on the day of the week.
The Shorelines Casino in Belleville has not yet reopened its buffet.