Southern Buffet had their Grand Opening on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 despite being faced with some challenges in completion of their renovations. The restrooms hadn’t been quite finished, nor had the carpet been laid in their smoking section, but overall, it was a vast improvement over the prior Barnhill’s Buffet.
Prices were higher too, but it still qualifies as a “budget” restaurant, with a price tag under $10 per adult for the buffet. Southern Buffet also has prices for seniors and children. The menu has been revamped, and the new manager, Ricky Raines, told us that the kitchen staff has all been retrained to meet the new owners’ standards. According to what he told us, Southern Buffet owns three restaurants, including an all-you-can-eat catfish restaurant in Gulfport.
Ricky Raines isn’t a physically imposing man, but he does give the impression of high energy. He also comes to Southern Buffet with considerable restaurant experience on the Gulf Coast. We watched him busily tending to numerous issues while we were visiting the restaurant, just before the main dinner hours. He is obviously a manager that pays attention to details, from the restrooms to the dessert bar.
He told us about some continued changes that would be coming to the restaurant, including things like theme nights, seafood buffets, adding upscaled menu add-ons to the buffet such as butterfly shrimp, and new dessert items. My personal hope is that they get better coffee though–the coffee that was served was tasteless and weak. That was my sole “complaint” about our visit, mostly because I was so impressed with the improvements that had already been put into place.
Southern Buffet managed to do their upgrades while the restaurant was open, without closing down. That’s an art in itself, and these improvements included repairing the bathrooms, new carpet, painting the exterior, new signs, and installation of a tiled floor in the buffet area. Many new staff members were hired and trained as well, bringing a fresh new attitude to the business. Staff today seemed efficient and happy, which is another credit to the new manager.
While there are still kinks that will have to be worked out as the staff adapts to the new format, overall their grand opening boded well for the restaurant. While no one likes to pay more, that old adage about “you get what you pay for” is very true. The new Southern Buffet offers a lot more, including fresh food, clean facilities, courteous staff in clean uniforms, and a broader upscaled menu.
Southern Buffet is open Tuesday through Thursday 10:30-8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturdays, they offer breakfast from 7:30-10:00 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, regular menu is served from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. They will also be open for Easter, although information about a special menu or alternate pricing was not available today.
Today, their menu included shrimp, fried chicken, baked chicken, smoked sausage, baked ham, and roast beef, as well as traditional favorites such as yeast rolls, mashed potatoes, rice, white gravy, brown gravy, green beans, corn, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, meatballs in sauce, tortilla chips, cheese sauce, and a variety of salads and toppings. Their dessert bar had soft serve ice cream, carrot cake, almond flavored sugar cookies, cherry cobbler, coconut pie, cherry cobbler, strawberry sauce, white cake, and lemon pie. (I may have missed listing a few things, but there is a wide variety of foods available.)
While Southern Buffet is a new name, with a new manager and new owners, it does have the same familiar location as the previous buffet, making it easy to find. It’s well worth a stop for some local budget dining, and it’s not somewhere that you’d be embarrassed to take your parents to either. It’s got a great family atmosphere, suitable for the entire family from toddler to senior. The varied menu means that even a frequent diner will find some variety, and the theme nights will be something worth checking out too.
For visitors unfamiliar with the area, Southern Buffet can be found at 6706 Highway 63, Moss Point, MS. If you are exiting from I-10, it’s exit 69, and found south of the interstate on the east side of Highway 63. It’s a very convenient location in relation to the interstate for travelers, and is located between Hardee’s and a motel, and near gas stations as well.