Fresh Acquisitions, the parent company of a restaurant chain that owns several buffet-style concepts, including Old Country Buffet, filed for bankruptcy.
The Chapter 11 filing more than a year into the pandemic illustrates the struggles the industry faces, particularly ones that are reliant on buffets. Furr's Fresh Buffet, Ryan's, Old Country Buffet, Tahoe Joes Famous Steakhouse, and Hometown Buffet are all owned by Fresh Acquisitions.
Bankruptcy will help "strengthen their operations and recapitalize their businesses," the company said in a statement. It is getting additional liquidity from VitaNova Brands, a Texas-based restaurant chain.
"As with almost every one of our peers, buffet restaurants took the brunt of the loss of sales during the pandemic and as such, the path to success requires hard choices to be made, including the rationalization of our overall footprint," said Jason Kemp, CEO of VitaNova Brands, in the release.
Before we start, obligatory:
This is an article from CNN so I'm praying to god it's just more #FakeNews they're spewing, but in the .0001% chance it's not, this ruins not just my day, but my entire year. I was fully convinced 2020 would be the worst year of my lifetime, but nope! Not on 2021's watch. This news trumps everything that happened in 2020. 2021 is now officially the worst year of all time.
Look, Old Country Buffet is fucking amazing. That Mac and cheese? You fucking kidding me? I could eat MOUNTAINS of that Mac and cheese. It'd be on my plate for my my first, second and third servings. With that said, here's how my typical OCB experience would go:
- Mac and cheese
- battered cod
- Butterfly shrimp
OCB Mac and cheese is ELITE. Elite elite elite. It's Mike Trout, Lebron James and WSD level talent. I hope I don't have to elaborate further and assume we're all in agreement with this statement. No explanation necessary. Just cheesy, gooey goodness. A mixture of love and happiness, if you will.
I'm on record as saying I'm not a huge seafood guy. Well that doesn't count when I'm eating seafood at OCB. Red Lobster is poor people white trash shit and I assume their lobster is farmed in big ass ponds across the country that have blue gills and other random fish swimming with them. In Chicago? Probably the Cal-Sag. OCB's seafood was caught and slaughtered just minutes before making its way to my mouth. We're talking shrimp and cod straight outta the ocean folks, and is so delicious it's making my mouth water as we speak.
- Mac and cheese
- Fried Chicken
HEY MA!!! THE MEATLOAF!!!!! FUCK!!!!! I scream this every time I walk up to the buffet line. The only issue with the meatloaf that it is so juicy, succulent and tender that it falls off the forks when I'm shoveling it into my mouth sometimes. Here and there it'll fall onto my wifebeater that I'm rocking as my actual shirt, but that's fine. Just an occupational hazard at OCB. It's nbd at all, other patrons understand and will have similar issues. But the taste, flavor and composition of their meatloaf is unmatched.
And then we get to the fried chicken. Here's a fact for you - dark meat > white meat every day of the week. Just ask any one of the Kardashians, they'll tell you. I personally like to rip the fried and breaded skin off the meat prior to eating the rest of that beautiful piece of juicy, dark meat.
- Mac and cheese
- Orange and teriyaki Chicken combo
- Ham off the bone
This is the part of the meal where I exude "culture" and "knowledge" of fine, authentic international cuisine. OCB outsources from the finest Chinese butchers for their Chinese style chicken entrees; I know it may come off as blasphemy to mix teriyaki and orange chicken, but I say eat whatever makes you happy. I love to mix these two types of delicacies on top of the soft, pillowy rice that OCB offers. An absolutely exquisite end to the entree portion of my OCB experience. Just succulent in every way.
Then the best part of the meal - the ham off the bone. This is how the typical convo goes:
executive Chef: "how many slices would you like, sir?"
WSD: "slices? how about the entire fucking ham hock you cock sucker?"
Eventually we settle on a 5-6 slices with the option to come back for more later (which you inevitably take advantage of because duh) and holy shit, does that ham hit the spot. Best ham off the bone of the face of the earth and that's a fucking fact.
- Mac and cheese
- Chocolate ice cream
- Apple pie
Depending on how frisky I'm feeling, I'll oft opt for desert. The Mac and cheese is a given, but I am a sucker for a nice apple pie a la mode; just toss a nice scoop of ice scream on apple pie and finish off your 5 course meal full as can be and with nothing on your mind but popping in an after dinner dip and heading home for bed.
As a seasoned OCB vet, this is the proper way to dine at OCB. Take notes you perverted freaks.
PS - go listen to the dog walk