14359 Ridge Road, Albion
Visited June 9, 2010
Written by Tyler
While driving through Orleans County two weeks prior, Chad and I noticed a sign that immediately caught our eyes: “B-B-Q Buffet.” I don’t recall any other specifically barbecue buffets around, off the top of my head, so we decided we had to try it soon.
So Chad, Greg and I made our first blog venture outside Monroe County to try the Wednesday night buffet, which costs $10.95 and runs from 5-8 p.m.
The Village Inn, housed in a 19th century tavern and carriage shop, is a relatively upscale restaurant, with many similarities (both in menu and prices) to Hilton’s Arlington, but much larger. We glanced at the menu briefly, but knew we were getting the buffet.
The buffet offerings included chicken, ribs, pork (not pulled), corn muffins, salt potatoes, baked beans, macaroni salad and potato salad.
We all agreed the chicken was the best item available. Picking around the bones was a little annoying, but the chicken was cooked well and the runny sauce, though seemingly generic, was balanced in well to keep from overpowering the chicken.
The baked beans were good, but also very generic; perhaps right out of a can. The corn muffins were fairly sweet, but weren’t warm, and also seemed rather generic.
Overall, Greg was not very pleased with the buffet.
“The ribs were disappointing,” he said. “Bland with very little flavor, while cooked too softly with no texture; like eating Jell-O off of a bone.”
He also said the potato and macaroni salads were disappointingly basic, as they contained just potatoes and mayonnaise, and macaroni and mayonnaise, respectively.
We all were very impressed with the atmosphere, which Greg compared to a grandmother’s dining room. It felt very welcoming and the relatively dim lighting added a comfortable touch.
While Greg probably wouldn’t return for the B-B-Q Buffet, we all agreed we would be interested to come back and try a regular lunch or dinner, perhaps even the Sunday Brunch. We have heard good things about the Village Inn otherwise, and they advertise “Award Winning Prime Rib of Beef, au jus,” along with other meats (especially steak), soups, salads, sandwiches and seafood.
We also agreed we probably weren’t the target demographic for this buffet, as a great majority of the clientele was senior citizens.
“The only reason this place is historic is because you have to be an artifact to eat there,” Greg joked.
Chad and I agreed with Greg that the barbecue wasn’t up to par with other places we’ve been to, but the novelty of a barbecue buffet is something that’s hard to criticize. I wasn’t expecting world-class barbecue anyway, and I feel like I got what I paid for.
It’s not fair for us to give the restaurant overall a grade because we all had the same thing, and it’s clear barbecue isn’t a specialty here. Once we return and try some of the regular items we can give the Village Inn a fair grade, but we will grade the buffet only, for now.
Service/Atmosphere: The buffet didn’t require much service, but we were never asked if we wanted drink refills and it took a while for our bill to come. It was kind of a confusing situations for both sides, though, as all customers sat in common areas, while not everyone had the buffet. For a regular meal, it appeared quite prompt and friendly, however.
Food: The barbecue buffet was very generic, but it seems like a highly regarded restaurant for more typical menu offerings.
Value: You really can’t complain about a buffet; you can get as much food as you want. I wasn’t exactly expecting Memphis or Kansas City-quality barbecue anyway.
Overall: It wasn’t bad, and gains points for novelty. I would be intrigued to return and try some of the more well-known meals.
Grade: C(for the buffet only)
Note: The restaurant’s website lists its price range as $8.95-$23.95 and is open every day from 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., for lunch and dinner.