1 Hour at Golden Corral on Valentine’s Day

If America is a melting pot than surely Golden Corral is America.

It’s Valentine’s Day 2017, I’m a city not called Washington, DC, on my own and looking for dinner. Earlier in the day I drove by a Golden Corral. Confession: I’ve never been to a Golden Corral. The Wong’s of Quincy, MA are more of an Asian buffet and Old Country Buffet type of family. In case you’re unfamiliar with Golden Corral I give you this:

The point of my piece isn’t to critique or praise, rather it’s a reflection (in jest and with sincerity) on what will most likely be my only visit to the Golden Corral.


As you approach the counter to pay, Golden Corral invites you to enjoy a tasty beverage before paying. Okay, I see you GC. After paying and with a drink in hand I’m instantly surrounded by people to my left and the copious variety of food to my right. And like Goldilocks looking for everything right it takes me about 10 minutes to find the perfect table and perfect chair.

With my table and chair claimed, I quickly get back up to fill my first plate. I’m not kidding you when I say that I circled the restaurant three times (after already spending 10 minutes looking for a table) before actually putting food on my plate. I get back to my seat and tweet this:

What makes Golden Corral the Golden Corral are two things: the food and the clientele. At the Golden Corral I believe they’re one and the same. Where else can you get Southern fried chicken and okra with a side of nachos served over a bed of fried rice. (I might have seen this plate). Or how about a serving of baked spaghetti, fried shrimp, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pot roast? (I definitely saw this plate). Or in my case a plate evenly split with banana pudding, red velvet cake, and carrot cake with a side of orange sherbet? (Photo evidence below).

Goddamn.

The people serving themselves are more interesting: women and men, young and old, able-bodied and handicapped, short and tall, coupled and single, English and non-English speaking, first generation and multi-generational. It’s an amazing collection of people patronizing one place tonight. Isn’t this America? I’ll spare you from any more comparisons to the current state of politics in the country but I couldn’t help but keep thinking about the direction we’re facing and where it could take us. I’m not qualified enough nor have I digested my dinner to do so.

What I’ll do is say this: for an hour tonight I checked any of my preconceived political leanings and judgements (and ego) at the door (I mean I did eat at a freakin’ Golden Corral for God’s sake). Sure, I got my meal but for a moment tonight I was reminded that America is like the Golden Corral — it’s a crazy-ass mix of everything that might not make sense at first but if you look hard enough and if you take a moment, it does.