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The Blue Ridge Artisanal Buffet, located inside the historic Omni Grove Park Inn, serves rooms (yes, rooms!) full of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. They also feature a Friday evening seafood buffet, a Saturday evening Prime Rib buffet and a Sunday Champagne brunch. The full is much better and more diverse than you would expect at a buffet. The focus is on quality, not just quantity. The pretty dining room is simply adorned, but comfortable, so as not to compete with the food and the lovely scenery outside the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The breakfast buffet features a doughnut station, a lox bar and a yogurt bar as well as all of the usual morning fare and a made-to-order omelet station. On Fridays, the seafood buffet includes crab legs, BBQ shrimp, scallops, boiled shrimp, crab cakes and oysters, just to name a few of the delicious choices. The best part is that you don’t have to limit yourself to just one food for dinner. There are even multiple options for vegetarians and vegans and a few choices for those on gluten-free diets. Of course, there are piles of artfully-displayed dessert choices.
The Sunday brunch includes seafood as well as eggs benedict (two ways), blueberry compote and the usual breakfast offerings. There’s even a Bloody Mary station! Everyone gets one mimosa with their meal (or a full glass of Champagne if you’d rather forego the juice.)
Dress here is casual and the atmosphere is relaxed. The service is much better than you are probably used to at a buffet and includes far more than simply bringing drinks and clearing plates. Ask about the history of the hotel. It’s been an Asheville area icon for more than 100 years.
It is hard to find a down side to the Blue Ridge Dining Room. If I had to choose one, it would be the slightly pricey tab (at least for a buffet). However, the food is so good, we doubt you’ll regret spending the money. On occasion we’ve found the dining room to be a little loud, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.
A few of our favorite menu items at the Blue Ridge Dining Room include:
New England Clam Chowder
Our favorite part of the Friday night seafood buffet is the creamy, flavorful clam chowder. What makes it a winner in our book? The large quantity of clams in the broth. It’s virtually impossible to take a spoonful without a clam in it.
Southern Food Room at the Sunday Brunch Buffet
Don’t miss the southern food room at the Sunday brunch buffet. Dedicated to delicious (and often decadent) southern cuisine, it features grits, fried chicken, fried green tomatoes and fried pork chops.
A staple in the Blue Ridge dessert room, the bananas foster station creates this classic dessert with sliced bananas in a sweet sauce served over vanilla ice cream and then (briefly) set aflame with brandy to caramelize the sugar in the sauce.
Kids age 5 and younger eat free with a paying adult. Reservations are recommended, particularly for Friday and Saturday evenings. For an extra level of convenience, use the hotel’s valet parking service, and make sure to arrive before sunset to take advantage of the spectacular view.