Monday, November 21, 2011

RIP Prime Rib Buffet :(

The All-You-Can-Eat Prime Rib Buffet for $11.75 down at the Oceanview no more.  Sadly, the buffet shut off its prime rib ovens on Wednesday and shut its doors for good on Thursday.  I gotta say - I'm very disappointed.  These kinds of buffets are rare.  Sure, you got buffets that provide all you can eat breakfasts and you have establishments such as the Great Plaza Buffet...but all the prime rib you can eat?  For $11.75?  I openly challenge anyone to find me a better deal in the San Diego area.  If you do, I'll buy you lunch.

My initial goal was to go into the last buffet and attempt to beat my record of 4 prime ribs.  Unfortunately, I guess word spread of the buffet's closing, so it was ridiculously busy.  It's like wow - where have you all been?  Seriously, they should have waited outside for me to eat my steak and then come in.  My dad and I are celebrities there, not to mention our eating partner, Mr. Tom Jones.  Seriously.  Let's just say it's not unusual to have prime rib when Tom Jones is in the house.  So I wanted to down 5 steaks...but then I thought 3 would be sufficient...but then...they ran out...

The last prime rib plate of the All-You-Can-Eat Prime Rib Buffet for $11.75

I was held to only 2 steaks, which, I think, is a career low.  They were just bombarded with customers and simply ran out.  But before they did, here's what I ate:

Steak 1.  They had already resorted to grilling the roast to get it out faster by the time we arrived

The buffet is open from 11-1 and if they typically don't resort to grilling entire roasts until 12:30 or so.  However, by the time we arrived, at noon, they were well underway as you can see.  

Steak 2

And that was it.  No more steak.  They had chicken, but who goes to an All-You-Can-Eat Prime Rib Buffet for $11.75 for chicken?  Why did the buffet shut down?  They simply didn't do enough business to cover their costs.  As early as last year they had buffets 5 days a week (Italian, Mexican, Prime Rib, Seafood, BBQ).  Then that shrunk to 3 days a week (Prime Rib would be on Tuesday and Wednesday and Seafood would be Thursday.  BBQ eventually took Tuesday so the Prime Rib was just once a week).  However, while there were talks about relocating the buffet and innovating new ideas, they just weren't making enough money.  

And really, we'd usually walk in at noon and a majority of the lunch crowd would be on their way out.  It was usually always wide open.  Another issue in addition to the money is the fact that this place didn't perform well when it was busy.  Running out of steak didn't happen until that last visit, but sometimes it would be a good 10  minute wait between roasts which, at a buffet on a federal Navy base, is a lot.  And then when they'd get busy, tables wouldn't get cleaned.  Used plates, silverware, napkins, glasses, and other trash were everywhere so you just had to find a relatively clean seat.  You were on your own.  How can you succeed if you're at your worst when you're making money?

Don't get me wrong - the staff was immensely friendly (I'll miss you, Cita!), but they could have used some help.  Maybe another person or two so the dining room wouldn't collapse when it got busy.  

Cake and peaches

Ice cream with a little bit of everything

I'll miss you too :(

This is interesting.  The caterer, it seems, will remain in the area, but the buffets are done for good.  We thought maybe they were relocating but no, they're done.  

It's too bad.  It really is.  A clientele of Navy officers, located right on the water, and views of all kinds of military ships coming in and out of the harbor.  Not to mention all the prime rib you can eat for $11.75.  I'll miss it.  But Prime Rib Buffet - Greg's Gourmet salutes you.