Thursday, November 22, 2012

Spring Mill Inn Buffet: Mitchell, IN

Ian and I needed to get away for a couple days.  We decided to visit Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, Indiana.  They have a little Inn there with a restaurant that contains a buffet.  We ate at the buffet Four times!
When I asked people on Facebook what to do in Mitchell, IN, most of them said, "Eat at the buffet at Spring Mill!"
We ate breakfast, lunch, and two dinners at the Spring Mill Buffet. Every time we walked in, they would ask if we wanted to sit next to the fire place.  The fireplace wasn't every really burning, because the days we stayed there, it was always almost sixty degrees.  The dining room has a nice welcoming appeal to it.  The last day, we ate breakfast in front of a window with bird feeders.  That was more interesting to me.
The Buffet
This is the salad and hot food side of the buffet.  The salad bar had an OK selection.  The first night we ate there, I did get food from the salad end of the bar, but I didn't take pictures of the food that night.  I got some pasta salad, another random salad, and a green salad with lots of veggies.  They had bacon bits and little packages of croutons.  The salad bar was pretty good. 
Fresh Bread with Butter
For lunch and dinner meals, bread was always offered by the server.  It was usually warm when it came from the kitchen. The butter was also melted and easy to spread on the bread.  The fresh bread was always awesome.  It made the table feel welcoming!
Ham and Bean Soup
On the lunch and dinner buffet, there was usually a soup available, sometimes two. The ham and bean soup was pretty good.  It tasted like something my mother would make or the kind I get from Campbells.  Either way, it had a nice flavor to it.  The only problem was, I got too much!  Those mugs are probably hold two or three servings in them. 
Chili
The Spring Mill Inn mugs were always available to put the soup. I love chili!  I had to try this one.  It was OK.  It had a hearty flavor to it.  I only took a couple bites of it.  There were other things I wanted to save room for on the buffet.
Ian and his Plate
When I got the Ham and Bean Soup, I didn't realize there was corn bread available right next to it.  Ian had some on his plate, so, I tried it with my soup. The corn bread was normal corn bread.  There wasn't anything special about it.
Bread, Corn Bread, and Butter
The day they had the chili on the buffet, they actually served the corn bread in our bread basket. For some reason, the corn bread that came in the basket actually tasted better, than the corn bread the day before.
Dinner
The dinner buffet changes some what every night. The mash potatoes and gravy were a staple, and so was the fried chicken.  They usually had a good assortment of vegetables. This plate has corn, green beans, roasted potatoes, and spinach.  Every night, the had fried chicken on the buffet.  I tried the fried chicken the first night, when I didn't take pictures, and it was pretty good.  They always have a second meat with the fried chicken.  The first night, they had beef roast in gravy.  The second time we had dinner, they had ribs.  I wasn't impressed with the ribs.  It's one of those situations where, I make them better at home.  The flavor of the ribs was very blah. 
Lunch
This was lunch one day.  It was mash potatoes with beef noodles, green beans, and tater tots.  I think that the beef roast they had on the first night, which was pretty good, was turned into the beef and noodles.  The beef and noodles were really good!  I think putting noodles, beef or chicken, over the potatoes, is a northern Indiana thing. Not everyone does that! You haven't have tried it, you should!  It's my favorite way to eat noodles!
Dessert Buffet
The other side of the buffet is a dessert buffet.  It always had at least four pies, one type of cake, and one type of cobbler.  
Mississippi Mud Cake and Whip Cream
This is the Mississippi Mud Cake.  I didn't realize that it had coconut in it, until I sat down to eat it.  I'm not a huge fan of coconut, but this chocolate cake with icing still stood on it's own.  It had a sweet chocolate flavor that made the cake.  
Walnut Pie with Whip Cream
The walnut pie was really different for me.  I was expecting something like a pecan pie.  Under the layer of walnuts, was a layer of chocolate chips!  This piece reminded me of eating a chocolate chip cookie with walnuts.  I'm not big on pie, but I really enjoyed this! 
Breakfast, also Buffet Style
The breakfast buffet looked good in the beginning, but to me ended up being a little disappointing.  The white gravy that is on my biscuits, is the same white gravy that is next to the mash potatoes at every other meal.  The cook brought out a fresh batch of bacon, and I almost told the guy I was in love with him.  That he was my favorite person in the whole world, at that moment!  But I didn't.  The bacon was pretty good.  The sausage made me sad.  It didn't have any flavor at all!  I put it on my biscuits and gravy to add to the gravy, but the sausage didn't help.  The eggs were the normal powdered eggs that you find on a buffet or a college dorm cafeteria.  The "Home Fries" or potatoes tasted like they had been sitting on the buffet for a long time. 
For the one place to eat in this city that everyone recommended, by the fourth day eating there, I was over it.  My theory is: if I make it better at home, I don't go out to eat for it! 
By the last day, we figured out, we could have just gotten soup and salad, and not paid full price for the buffet.  Nobody ever explained this to us in the beginning.  I could have just done that some nights, but I didn't realize that I could.  The soft drinks were always a $2 extra per drink.  Even the coffee was almost an extra $2!  Every day, we only ate one meal at the hotel.  We tried two other restaurants in Mitchell.  One was a KFC/A&W and a Mexican restaurant that I will blog about later.  One night, we got down to the dining room at 7:15pm when they close at 7:30pm.  As soon as we sat down to eat, the server was asking if we were going to utilize the entire bar.  Not realization, I could get just soup and salad, I said, "Yes."  She seemed a little put out by that, like she was ready to clear the place. 
Eating at the same place for four days in a row can either be great, because it's your favorite thing in the world, or overwhelming because you're starting to feel over it.  By the fourth meal, which was breakfast, I was ready to be cooking my own food.  In general, the place was clean, the service was king, and if you like "home cooked" food that you didn't make yourself, the Spring Mill Inn Buffet was pretty good.  If you're like me, and refuse to eat at places like the Cracker Barrel, because "I can make this better at home," then, skip it.  
I give this restaurant 2 pizza pies out of 4.  If you're staying at the Inn, definitely try it!  Try it twice even!  But after that, make plans to eat other places. 

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