Golden Corral Ends Buffet, Renovates Joliet Restaurant – Joliet, IL Patch

JOLIET, IL — After staying closed nearly four months during the new coronavirus health crisis, one of West Jefferson Street’s widely known sit-down restaurants is trying to make a comeback. Golden Corral, 2100 W. Jefferson St., reopened this month and this Golden Corral is much different from the one you may have visited in years past.

First, Golden Corral eliminated the buffet. Golden Corral even removed the word “buffet” from its restaurant sign. The sign now just says Golden Corral Grill.

“Most of the guests are comparing us with Cracker Barrel with better options, especially for seniors, because of the all you can eat,” remarked Joliet’s Golden Corral store manager Alina Bosze. “It is much nicer, and I’m getting a lot of compliments about the taste of the food and the temperature of the food.”

(Joliet Patch article continues below this photo.)

Image via John Ferak/Patch

The Joliet restaurant is now focusing on family style meals. Meals will be dished up and brought to your tables by servers wearing gloves and masks. The restaurant underwent an interior remodeling during the pandemic. One of the most impressive features is the large fireplace installed in the middle of Golden Corral’s main dining room.

Before the pandemic, Golden Corral had a seating capacity of 375. Under the new set-up, Golden Corral has a capacity of 140 guests.

“It is much safer; only the employees are touching the food,” Bosze told Joliet Patch. “We changed from plastic plates to ceramic plates. And of course, our ambiance is different. We have a beautiful new fireplace and round tables. We didn’t remove tables, but we spaced them.”

(Joliet Patch article continues below this photo.)

Image via John Ferak/Patch

In years past, Joliet Golden Corral customers could walk up to the buffet as many times as they wanted. But even though the buffet’s been removed amid health concerns for its Joliet guests, customers can still enjoy endless entrées, Bosze said.

“It’s endless servings to the tables, and no one does that,” she said. “Golden Corral came up with this great family style (offering) and we start with bread and butter, choice of soup and salads and then all you can eat food.”

On weekends, Golden Corral offers salmon, ribs, butterfly shrimp and jumbo shrimp, the manager said.

According to 1,273 Google Reviews, the Joliet Golden Corral shows a 3.9 rating out of 5 stars. Its Facebook page shows that 21,416 customers have checked-in at the Joliet Golden Corral.

Bosze said her restaurant’s food is getting a terrific response from people who have patronized the West Jefferson Street restaurant since reopening in July.

“It is coming very fresh, and we are very famous for our fried fish and on weekends we have catfish,” Bosze told Joliet Patch last ewek. “Our pot roast is still popular and the fried chicken is the biggest seller in our restaurant.”

(Joliet Patch article continues below this photo.)

Image via John Ferak/Patch

The Golden Corral manager told Joliet Patch that “we have a lot of vegetables and starches like sweet potato casserole, rice and Mexican salads.

“People who come in and try us once I can surely say, 75 percent are returning,” Bosze said. “We are not buffet (anymore). All of our employees are wearing masks. Everyone is serving guests with the gloves so safety is the biggest concern right now.”

Golden Corral had about 55 employees prior to the pandemic, Bosze told Patch.

The Joliet restaurant now has 45 staff, however, several servers with more than 10 years of experience are back on the job, the store manager of the past seven years explained.

Under the new format amid the coronavirus outbreak, Joliet’s Golden Corral is closed Mondays and open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Golden Corral also installed new carpeting throughout the restaurant to eliminate “slip and falls,” Bosze said.

If customers are not comfortable eating indoors, that’s OK, too. Golden Corral offers takeout and customers can go online to place their orders here.

Golden Corral has been in Joliet at the Marycrest Shopping Center the past 14 years. The next closest locations are in Bolingbrook and in Aurora near the Fox Valley Mall.

Image via John Ferak/Patch
Image via John Ferak/Patch
Image via John Ferak/Patch
Image via John Ferak/Patch