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On The Road With Doug: Charley’s Buffet

I know many who are passionate about buffet style food in this area. However, some of the best buffet style food around here can be summed up with one word: Charley’s.

Coowners Charley and Evonne Peaster have run Charley’s Buffet for years.  Their locations and directions there will depend on who you ask.  It is down County Road B in Benton County at the intersection of B and W in Lincoln, but has a Cole Camp phone number.  Co-owner Evonne Peaster says on their website, “I tell folks, ‘When you think you’re lost, just go a little bit farther.”

I remember the first time somebody told me about Charley’s Buffet about ten or fifteen years ago.  They talked about the homemade bread and the mile long dessert choices.  I had to seek Charley’s Buffet out.  Since that time about, I normally make an annual trip to Charley’s Buffet, and this time around, I brought the family.

We were greeted with a crowd that lined up outside.  There were two buses that were parked in the Charley’s Buffet line.  I knew it would be about a half hour wait in line, but I never pay attention to the time since good food is worth the wait.  I happened to talk to one man who drove from Clinton and said it was his first time going with his family.  He asked me, “Is it worth the wait?  I responded, “If you never been to Charley’s, trust me, it’s worth the wait.”

One of the reasons the line is long is because Charley’s is only open on Friday and Saturday nights.  The other reason is because everybody takes their time to get that dessert line.  Charley’s specializes in homestyle type food, so this is not your ordinary buffet.

First I took in the aroma of the cinnamon bread, and then the smell of ham and sauerkraut.  You can bet that was on my plate along with the salad with homestyle salad dressing.  Then there were yams, fried potatoes, ham and much more. I just took a little bit of everything. All of it was great.

As we were eating, the line outside appeared to be getting bigger.  It always amazes me that I seem to run into somebody I know when I go there and there are always smiles on the faces as they prepare to dig into the food.

Now as I mentioned, you really need to save room for the dessert.  Whether you enjoy traditional chocolate chip cookies, cake, pie, bread pudding or ice cream, they have quite the spread.  They even have sugar free options.

I should compliment the service at Charley’s Buffet.  A business can make or break it when it comes to service, and everytime you finish a plate, you can expect a waiter or waitress to come pick it up quickly.  They always keep your glass full, even on the busy days.

Don’t forget to check out their souvenir T-shirts, which the waiting staff proudly wears. “Charley’s Buffet is fat-free; we charge for the food, but the fat is free.”  Then there is the one that rolls some eyes, but always gets some good chuckles, “We don’t skinny dip, we chunky dunk.”   In addition to the shirts, you can bring home some rolls and jams that are made.

Bottom line is that if you have not been to Charley’s Buffet, you need to get there.  It may be a little out of the way, but it’s well worth it.   Get there soon because they are open through Thanksgiving and then shut down for the winter, so if you want a taste of home, be sure to make the road trip to Charley’s Buffet.

You can visit Charley’s Buffet website and see more of their story and more of their food for yourself!

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