After a long trip through the UP, we arrived in town after 8PM and thought we would avoid the downtown rush and try, what the owners claim to be, the "Best Buffet" in Mackinaw City. Well, I would sure like to know who was voting, because there wasn't a person in the house on the night that we were there, that would have called what we found on the buffet anything but crap! We were seated quickly (hardly anyone in the restaurant) and the waitress seemed very nice when she came to the table. Being that it was 8:30PM (and we were very hungry), we opted for the buffet to avoid any wait on getting our food. NEVER were we told that the buffet closed at 9PM, and either were the other two tables who made the same decision and arrived after we had been seated. When we got up to the buffet we found dry, unappealing lettuce and cold salads that had obviously been unattended for some time. (A simple "stir" would have freshened them and made them more appealing). As to the hot food, the majority of the bins were empty, or contained one or two, dried up and overcooked pieces of deep fried and baked fish; there were about a dozen, deep fried shrimp in the bin (which we all scrambled for); potatoes were obviously instant and the gravy was thin and obviously from a can; three dried up chicken legs and a thigh in another bin; crab cakes that were so dry and overcooked that they resembled (and tasting) like hockey pucks; and an entirely full container of a goulash concoction. We managed to put a few odds and ends on our plates (as did the other diners not at out table), and we all went back to nibble and wait for more food to be brought out. When nothing was forthcoming, we FINALLY managed to flag down our waitress to inquire about additional food. We were THEN informed that the buffet was closing in 20 minutes and that the "chef doesn't usually restock things so close to the end of the night!" We explained that we had not been informed of this, and had we known, we would have ordered from the menu or gone elsewhere... as we had not eaten since early morning. She said she would go to the kitchen and ask them to replenish "something" if we told her what we wanted. We tried to explain that it was difficult to request something when nearly every bin had been empty, and what they contained was almost inedible. She then offered to have the "chef" make us chicken tenders! At this point we made it clear that we were not going to pay 15.99 per person for a few tablespoons full of macaroni salad and a dried up chicken wing... oh, and 1/2 dozen greasy shrimp! We were told that they were only going to charge us for the lunch buffet... making our final bill 9.99 for the "meal" and 2.25 per soda!!! I guess they felt that 13.00 per person was a heck of a deal for such fabulous fare! Unbelievable! Of the food that was present, two of the salads had gone "sour" and the "goulash concoction" was entirely tasteless and the pasta overcooked to a mush... (no wonder that bin was nearly full!) NEVER would we return to this restaurant and NEVER would we recommend it to anyone or to any business/corporation booking in this area (the latter being what we do for a living and why we had been traveling in the UP and in Mackinaw that day!). Very anxious to contact the Mackinaw Chamber of Commerce tomorrow to inquire about the "vote" that placed this buffet in the number one slot. My guess is that it consisted solely of employees who receive their paychecks from the owners- the same owners who no doubt compiled the results as well. Don't get burned... go on down the street and brave the downtown crowd! It will be worth your efforts to eat elsewhere.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Newly remodeled and renovated! Embers Inn & Tavern is under new ownership. We are open at 7am daily for breakfast. Family style dining: broasted chicken, fresh fish, pizza, burgers and more. We have a full bar as well. Clean rooms and new mattresses. Room service available and a new casino right around the corner. Come see us soon! ... more less
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