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Taste Buds: The Buffet at Wheeling Island

Newly remodeled facility is sure bet for Buds

July 28, 2011
By EMILY DOMINICI and SHAUNNA DUNDER - The Taste Buds , Times Leader

It is nice to have a great product.

It is fabulous to make that great product even better.

This is exactly what the folks at the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack have done with their buffet.

Racetrack officials recently unveiled "The Buffet," formerly the Islander Buffet which has gone through extensive renovations totaling a whopping $2 million. In addition to cosmetic improvements, there have also been some additional food choices added to the already popular dining venue.

Naturally, the Buds were eager to check out the new digs, so they hightailed it over there faster than a greyhound chasing a rabbit named Spunky. The hungry duo paid their lunchtime buffet fee of $13.95 and were unleashed on the multi-cultural smorgasbord.

Many of the same dishes that were part of the former buffet have been worked into the new food stations, such as many items from the dessert island, the pasta station and the meat carving area. New options patrons will see include the Italian station, including made-to-order pasta dishes, and the Asian station. So, there is not doubt to be something for everyone!

The Buds had but one problem upon approaching the buffet: there were too many good things to choose from. Where is one to even begin? Realizing the best option was to just jump in with both feet, they grabbed plates and headed in.

The first station they passed was the soup/salad bar. Salads of all types were available. Regular salad, spinach salad, Caesar salad, pasta salads, coleslaw, bean salads and etc. There were also three soups to choose from including chicken noodle, broccoli cheese and minestrone as well as corn bread and various types of rolls. Bud Em found the chicken noodle soup to be quite delicious as did Bud Shaunna with the minestrone.

Moving on, the Buds encountered the Asian station where Bud Em quickly snatched up a yummy sushi roll. Bud Shaunna couldn't pass up the tasty General Tso's chicken, and the spring roll was packed with fresh veggies.

Next up was the Italian station where both Buds found quite a few things to rave about! Bud Shaunna was blown away by the meatballs, claiming they practically melted in her mouth. Bud Em concurred. She also tasted the veggie lasagna which was cheesy and delish. Both Buds loved the antipasto bar which was loaded with olives, stuffed olives, peppers, tomato salad and even hummus with pita chips. Pure delight! The hummus was awesome and the tomato salad - a simple mix of tomatoes, red onion, cucumber and fennel with Italian dressing - was something both will likely recreate at home.

Buds opted to bypass the pasta and carving stations (vowing to return for them soon) and moved on to the American and seafood areas. Bud Em, who never turns down a crabcake, was impressed by the ones the buffet offered. Yum! She also enjoyed the butterfly shrimp. The shrimp scampi, sampled by Bud Shaunna, had just enough buttery, garlic flavor to satisfy. Both gals were also pleased with the mixed vegetable combination and the fried cod pieces.

The Buds estimate that they only got to sample roughly a quarter of the available options when they ran out of room.

That didn't stop them, however, from moving on to dessert!

With the huge selection of pies, cakes, soft serve, pastries and more, the absence of the chocolate fountain was hardly noticeable. The Buds relished the lemon bars, banana cream bars, and especially the chocolate and peanut butter dessert bars. To. Die. For. In fact, unnecessary seconds were obtained, which may or may not have been the Buds' best judgment call ever.

Needless to say, the Buds will be back to The Buffet in the future where great food is not a gamble, but a sure thing!

The Buds may be reached at



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