- I visited Golden Corral for the first time this week.
- There is only one location in New York City, the Bronx, where employees are spreading the word on social media.
- Golden Corral far exceeded my expectations, even if it was initially low.
New York City’s first and only Golden Corral is getting a lot of attention thanks to a viral social media campaign.
A video shared on the official Instagram account in December 2023 showed employees dancing to Burna Boy’s “Eat” with 5.6 million views on Instagram.
“This has got to be the most nyc promo ever,” one person said in the comments. “Tell the golden garden, advertise you.”
I have to admit that the video caught my interest as well.
I’ve never eaten at Golden Corral, so the fun and engaging video made me want to check it out, even though I live over an hour away in Brooklyn. I’m a little leery of eating at buffets, but inflation has revived all-you-can-eat restaurants.
CNN reported in May 2023 that restaurants like Golden Corral, Cicis and Pizza Ranch are seeing more customers as people look for bargains.
I didn’t have high expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised by the service and food.
On a Tuesday afternoon I took the train to the Bronx, New York, nestled between the Golden Corral strip of shops and restaurants.
Walking through the parking lot, I could tell it was a popular establishment by all the parked cars and customers sitting inside.
When I walked in and joined the checkout line, I noticed that the restaurant was decorated for Valentine’s Day. I wasn’t sure how ordering worked at Golden Corral since the buffet is buffet style, but luckily it’s intuitive.
Behind the cash register is a board listing the buffet prices along with the types of meals for seniors, adults and children. I ordered dinner for $19.99 and a pink lemonade for $2.99 for an adult. I paid $25.02 for my meal.
Personally, it’s a really great price for the amount of food and free refills on offer. Had I ordered the same amount of food and drink at a different establishment, I would probably have had a slight dent in my wallet.
I also appreciated that even though this Golden Corral location is a chain restaurant, it didn’t feel cookie-cutter. It offered limited-time options like the coquito, which I rarely find at other restaurants. When I searched online, they were the only franchise selling coquito.
Once I chose a table and the waiter delivered my drink, it was officially time to try the food. One of my reservations about buffets is that the food can sit out for a long time, but the stations at this Golden Corral seemed well-maintained. Every area looked clean and I didn’t see any cross contamination with food, which is a plus!
The first thing I grabbed came from the meat carving station, which surprised me with their selection. Along with BBQ pork ribs and carved roast turkey, they also had carne asada – which shocked me.
I did not expect such a varied menu.
The dessert table featured classics like apple pie and offered unique options like piña colada cake. There was also carrot cake, cookies, jelly, brownies and other items.
For dinner, I had honey-glazed fried chicken, a slice of carne asada, baked fish, macaroni and cheese, greens, cornbread, and sweet potatoes with marshmallows.
I can safely say that none of the food was bad. Taste is subjective, but my stuff was tasty and temperature appropriate.
My favorite was the honey coated fried chicken, it managed to mix sweet and savory flavors. The dog greens had a classic flavor and the carne asada was well seasoned.
The only thing I’ll skip next time is the cornbread and mac and cheese, which is a little hard to sit through. I love mac and cheese, but the recipe at Golden Corral could benefit from more seasoning.
I went back for a second plate at Golden Corral, this time intending to try the desserts.
I’m not a fan of chocolate and at this point I was pretty full so I stuck to the piña colada cake, melon slices and mini cupcakes.
Piña colada cake might just become my favorite cake. It was delicious, moist and had a sweet flavor that hit all the right notes. The cake was also a fun treat to go with the melon.
As I finished my meal, I noticed how busy the restaurant had been since I had arrived. Families, couples, friends and singles crowded around the restaurant, proving its popularity.
I never would have wanted to visit Golden Korra before this month, but I’m glad I did. Any preconceived notions I had about food or sanitation were proven wrong.
Everything was clean, orderly and complete.
I don’t know if Golden Corral will ever be my favorite, but I do know that if I’m ever in the Bronx on an empty stomach, I’ll have no problem visiting my local franchise.