Shady Maple Smorgasbord

10 ratings (10 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Very Good
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Jun 29, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Food and Presentation:
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  • Quality of Service:

Pros:Great food, large variety, fair price for what you get.

Cons:Long lines sometimes. Never enough room in the stomach.

The Bottom Line: Great food, great variety just plain old good home style cooking!

Shady Maple Smorgasbord, I have no idea where to start!

I guess the best way to start is for me to say that this is by far the best smorgasbord/buffet that I have ever eaten at. I have eaten at many, such as:

Old Country Buffet (A good buffet)
Golden Coral (A good buffet)
General Pickets Buffet in Gettysburg (Not so good)
The Fantasea Reef Buffet at Harrah’s in Atlantic city (A good buffet)
Broadway Buffet at Trump Plaza in Atlantic city (The worst I have ever eaten at)
And many more including buffets at truck stops.

Shady Maple Smorgasbord, is located in East Earl Pennsylvania, in the heart of Amish country.

I grew up in the area therefore I have been there to eat many times over the years since they opened their doors in 1985. No one would have thought that the popularity of this place would have grown as it did over the years. The lines you waited in to be seated were very long, sometimes taking as long as 2 hours to be seated. Even once the expanded, the demand grew and still the lines were long and tedious.

In the year 2000 the widely loved smorgasbord was relocated to a space set further back on the property to allow for a larger building and to seat more people. It went from seating 500 people to seating 1200 people.

The new building is 2 floors, the upper floor being the smorgasbord with lavish restrooms. I must say that this place is a bit fancy for a buffet but we all need to feel like we are eating in style once in a while.

The lower level of the new building is a magnificent gift shop & Eatery. You can find all kinds of things in the gift shop, scented candles, handmade crafts, home decor, collectibles, quilts, personalized items, bulk candies and much, much more. I have never eaten at the eatery downstairs so I can say what kind of food you will find there.

The atmosphere

You will have a great experience here as it is typically quiet and family oriented. In the lobby there are notes placed asking the patrons to refrain from using cell phones in the dining area as not to disturb others. There all also signs posted asking that proper attire be worn. Not that it is black tie or anything and you can wear almost anything, they just prefer that you not wear things such as micro mini skirts, t-shirt with vulgarity and things like that. Which I understand completely and appreciate as I am sure anyone with children would.

The service

The service is pretty good considering the volume of customers. They are all courteous and pleasant. It sometimes takes a little while for them to clear your dirty dishes from your table but unless you gobble your food it doesn’t really pile up.

I do need to tell you that sometimes the wait to be seated can take as long as about 45 minutes. Depending the time of day and the day of the week. When you arrive, don’t let the length of the lines discourage you because they do mover quicker than you would think and it is well worth the wait.

Shady Maple Smorgasbord, offers an ocean of fabulous food! Whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner, you will not go away hungry. If you do it is your own fault!

Hours of operation

Open Monday through Saturday 5am - 8pm

Closed on Sunday and the following holidays
Christmas, New Years Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day & Thanksgiving


Prices vary a bit depending on the day of the week and what is being served. (These are the current prices as stated on their website subject to change without notice)

Breakfast - Mon-Fri $7.79 Children 4-10 $3.75 Sat $8.79 Children 4-10 $4.25

Lunch - Mon-Fri $9.79 Children 4-10 $4.90 Sat $10.79 Children 4-10 $7.65

Dinner - Mon- Delmonico & NY Strip steak night $13.99 Children $7.00
Tues- Seafood night $18.49 Children $7.85
Wed- Prime rib $14.99 Children $7.50
Thur- Marinated Chicken Breast $12.99 Children $6.50
Fri- Fried Shrimp, Cajun Catfish & Salmon $14.29 Children $7.15
Sat- Crab Cakes, Cajun catfish & Salmon $16.29 Children $8.15

Seniors 60 plus receive a 10% discount off meal.

Note, these prices do not include a 6% Pennsylvania sales tax. There is also an 8% service fee added to entire check (This gets distributed to the staff as a bonus of sorts to compensate not receiving tips as tipping is not allowed)

Reservations, banquet rooms & catering are available. A 12% service fee is added to all reservations.

Breakfast is served from 5am-10am
Lunch is served from 10:45am-3:15pm
Dinner is served from 4pm-8pm

At Shady Maple Smorgasbord, there are so many choices in food and beverage at all meal times I can’t possibly remember all of them but I will do my best to give the best example.

At breakfast you will find some or all of the following as well as much more!

Whole milk
2% milk
Skim milk
Chocolate milk
A variety of juices
Hot Tea
Hot chocolate
Unsweet Iced Tea
Coke & Pepsi Products and more.


First you will find as you approach the buffet tables there are 2 grill sections where you can have a cook prepare your eggs the way you like them as well as omelets made to order with many ingredients to choose from, bacon, ham, sausage, peppers, mushrooms, different cheeses, tomatoes and more.

On the buffet line itself you will find:

Scrambled eggs made a couple different ways
Canadian bacon
Sausage links & patties
Smoked sausage
Tator tots
Home fries with or without onions
Cheesy hashbrowns
Pudding meat
Cream of wheat
Pancakes w/a variety of choices of toppings
French toast
Cold cereals
Fresh fruit (apples, grapefruit, peaches, strawberries, grapes, watermelon & more)
Sausage gravy
Cream chipped beef gravy
Doughnuts (many varieties)
Danish & other pastries
And much more!

At lunch there is even more

The beverages are the same as above plus they add a couple

Different flavors of Turkey Hill Iced teas


On the grill you will find things such as:

Hot dogs
Burgers &

On the buffet line there is much more:

Pork barbeque
Sloppy Joes
Mashed Potatoes
A variety of vegetables (corn, green beans, lima beans, baked beans, brussel sprouts just to name a few possibilities)
Pork chops
Mac & cheese
Augratin potatoes
Scalloped potatoes
Fried chicken
Chicken strips
A full salad bar with all the trimmings (a couple different salad mixes, tomato, cucumbers, mushrooms, cheeses, olives, broccoli, cauliflower, alfalfa sprouts, croutons, sunflower seeds and much more, not to mention a variety of dressings to top your salad off)
Potato salad
Pasta salad
Macaroni salad
A variety of soups (Chicken noodles is the best)
A variety of fresh fruit
Homemade breads & rolls
Chunks of different cheeses to snack on
Fruit crisps
A great sundae bar
And so much more!


As I stated earlier in my review different days brings different things to the buffet I will list as many items as I can think of that I have seen on them.

The beverages are the same as lunch


On the grill line I have seen the following

A variety of fish including salmon, catfish, flounder & more
Grilled chicken plain & marinated with several different marinades
Stir Fry
Steaks of all kinds
Pork loin
Prime rib
Beef brisket
And More

On the buffet line:

First the largest salad bar that I have ever seen! Just about anything you can think of to put on your salad plus pasta salads, tuna salad, chicken salad and more
Fresh fruit
Fruit salads
2 types of mashed potatoes: One being red skinned mashed potatoes and the other being regular mashes potatoes. And let me tell you, when you eat the regular mashed potatoes you would never guess that they were instant! They are the best instant potatoes around)
Loose corn
Cream corn
Corn on the cob
Baked corn
Lima beans
Green beans
Brussel sprouts
Mac & cheese
Pasta dishes
Roast beef
Pork and kraut
Fried chicken
Baked chicken
Barbeque chicken
Chicken Parmesan
Veal Parmesan
Liver & onions
Pork chops
Different kinds of fish from fried to baked to broiled
Shrimp done a variety ways
Fried clam strips
Crab cakes
Much, much more than I can recall!

The desserts are to die for!

I have seen more different kinds of cheesecakes on this dessert bar than I have seen at the Cheesecake Factory, some of which follow:

Traditional, strawberry, cherry, chocolate, white chocolate, peanut butter, chocolate peanut butter, raspberry, blueberry and many others not all at one visit.


Chocolate w/vanilla frosting, chocolate w/chocolate covered cherry frosting, white w/peanut butter frosting, red velvet w/vanilla frosting and many, many more.


Apple, blueberry, cherry, shoofly, rhubarb, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, mince meat and more.

Not to mention many other desserts such as chocolate pudding, rice pudding, bread pudding, tapioca pudding, vanilla pudding, banana pudding, apple & other fruit crisps.

The Sundae Bar

The sundae bar is magnificent!

Vanilla, chocolate or swirl ice-cream as well on occasion a specialty flavor.
Just about every topping imaginable from nuts to many different syrups, cookie crumbs, whipped topping, strawberries, pineapple and even bananas for split and much more.

There is also a variety of sugar free and no sugar added desserts for those who’s diet requires them.

Beware of the whipped cream dispenser! My fiancÚ and I went there a few years ago for my birthday. After I had filled up on delicious hot food I went to make myself a mega banana split. I had added my toppings of choice when it was time for the whipped cream. I pushed the button in which you have to hold in till you get the desired amount. It is supposed to stop dispensing when you let go, well this day it got stuck! I stood there for 5 minutes filling up empty dessert bowls with whipped creams till an employee seen my dilemma and came to my rescue. I had whipped cream all over the place including up my arm to my elbow and on my shoes and I even had some splattered on my legs!

When go up to the buffet lines you will see that there are 2 grill areas as well as 2 complete buffet lines starting with 2 salad bars in the middle and the hot food goes each way with dessert at each end. Be sure to check out both sides as though there may be some of the same things there are also many different items on each side.

There is ample parking, there is a parking lot on 3 sides of the building.

If you go in on your birthday with verification you eat for free. If your birthday falls on a day that they are closed you can go the next day they are open and eat for free but not before your birthday.

Well I am sure you all are going blind reading all this. I hope I didn’t forget anything important.

Final Thought

If you are ever in Lancaster County Pennsylvania be sure to stop in and dine, it will be an experience you will never forget!

Recommend this product? Yes

Kid Friendliness: Yes
Vegetarian Friendly: Yes
Notes, Tips or Menu Recommendations Be sure to use a new plate and/or cup each time to refill. Take your time and your turn as there is pleanty to go around and it is all delicous!
Best Suited For: Kids and Families

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