We stopped here at the end of a Sunday buffet....it happened to be Easter Sunday. We were traveling....on the road....not the best place to be on this holiday, but here we were. Our church & our family were both far away, but we celebrated in a Nebraska church with a roomful of believing strangers, and went on down the road. And now we needed to eat something, somewhere, before every place closed for the day.
Valentino's was full (a good sign to travelers), and the buffet was well-stocked, even though we were nearing the end of the afternoon serving hours.....maybe 2 p.m.?
There was adequate "fill" here. I would not call it food, but "fill." There was enough to keep us from feeling hungry until the next stop. There was a great variety of mediocre salad, pizza, pasta, dessert, etc.....I took small portions of several items & ate them dutifully, but nothing was particularly memorable. Except for the lasagna.....I took one bite, and this was the one choice I could not take a 2nd bite of....almost like ketchup on pasta, sprinkled with cheese. I have made my own lasagna at home for nearly 30 years. I'm not a restaurateur, of course, but I routinely do better than this at home!!!! If I cooked like this, my husband would've probably tried to find cause for divorce!
The waitress was quite friendly, but eager to let us know that she resented working Easter Sunday. Although she was young and sweet, I couldn't sympathize....I'm a 60-yr-old nurse, and have worked my share of holidays. I have always worked from the standpoint of "Drop your troubles at the door....you're here to help others.....if you have complaints, nobody cares!" Yes, it's Easter Sunday, but I've "sucked it up," and you can too. In this economy, it's a blessing to have a job.
But she was sweet, and we gave her a good tip.
One note, that I still find funny. I took a sip of the coffee, and was pleasantly surprised. Usually, restaurant coffee can be a gamble....sometimes good, sometimes OK, sometimes miserable....but this was a good, lightly flavored coffee. Before I went up to that awful buffet, I was encouraged.
When the waitress came back to see what we might need, I complimented her on that coffee. She said, "Oh, we've run out of coffee. We're serving the coffee we usually reserve for the waitresses."
Well. Isn't that special?! This was the coffee earmarked for the help, but in this unusual circumstance, they were serving the really GOOD coffee to the customers?!?!? What on earth?!? Note to the management....if you're running a restaurant, it may not be a good idea to save your best products for the help. If you serve a good product, maybe your customers will come back.
If we EVER drive through Hastings again, we will certainly try to find something better than Valentino's. Maybe a drive-through fast food joint.