Brawl breaks out at a Golden Corral over alleged beef in the buffet line

The war of words escalated the second an unidentified customer at the Golden Corral lifted a high chair over his head and wielded it like a hatchet. Some diners scattered for safety. Others looked for other potential weapons inside the Bensalem, Pa., restaurant. Some started filming the melee on their phones, with added commentary that was little more than a string of fearful, slightly comedic exclamations.

On Friday afternoon, about 40 customers turned what the Golden Corral owner calls a “family-friendly restaurant” into a WWE main event, with patrons throwing high-chairs, regular chairs and even tables at each other. In a clip posted on social media, one Golden Corral employee stepped between the warring parties in an attempt to stop the brawl.

“All I’m going to say is we’re a family-friendly restaurant, and this was a very unfortunate incident,” Jonathon Kornblau, owner of the Golden Corral in Bensalem, told The Washington Post on Tuesday. He said none of his employees were injured and his restaurant sustained only minor damage. After it was closed on Friday following the brawl (and again on Saturday because of the weekend snowstorm), the Golden Corral reopened on Sunday as usual, Kornblau said.


The owner said he has heard a number of theories on what started the melee, but he wouldn’t comment on the causes until after the police wrap up their investigation.

William McVey, director of public safety for the Bensalem Police Department, said officers are still investigating the incident. “We’re very thankful that no one sustained any life-threatening injuries or any serious injury,” McVey told The Post. “All that we are aware of is very minor, superficial injuries,” such as a swollen eye or cut nose.

Police said they have not yet decided whether charges will be filed in connection with the fight.

One local news report said the brawl broke out after the restaurant location ran out of steak, but a spokesman for the chain said that is false. The restaurant, known for its buffet, never ran out of meat. The spokesman couldn’t confirm another report, from WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, which quoted a patron who said the fight started after he received his steak before the customer in front of him in line.


“I had a rare steak, which is a lot faster to cook than a well-done steak. That’s why I got my steak first,” Alexis Rios told the reporter for 6 ABC. “I grab a chair to defend myself, and then sooner or later that was it. Punches were getting thrown. Chairs were getting thrown.”

The Post could not reach Rios to confirm the story.

Rios told the TV station that he thought masks contributed to the brawl. “With covid right now, masks and everything, nobody can hear nobody sometimes,” he said.

McVey said the fight escalated from a “few patrons” to people who apparently were connected to the argumentative diners in the steak line. He declined to comment on the cause of the fight.

The brawl quickly ignited a culture war online over the merits of Golden Corral, the chain that boasts an “endless buffet” at more than 360 locations around the country.

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