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Bites Nearby: Old Country Buffet

There's something for everyone at this food emporium in the Watertown Mall.

The offers dozens of entrees, a large salad bar and several dozen desserts, in all-you-can-eat quantities and at bargain prices ($8 for lunch, $11 for dinner, and a less-expensive breakfast only on weekends). You pay when you enter, so there's no tipping or even waiting for someone to bring water. You get a glass at the door.

The secret is to choose what you like and leave the rest. And the choices are extensive and varied, from fried chicken, baked fish, seafood patties, smoked sausage, corn bread, biscuits, vegetable dishes and a serious salad bar, to various condiments to spice things up and an impressive dessert station. The dinner menu is often the same as lunch, with the addition of, for example, roast beef, salmon and steak.

Suggested dish: In this case, of course, the choices are up to you. First take several minutes to peruse all the offerings, since there are several large stations, including a substantial salad bar and a dessert area (if you're going to get dessert, better leave some room for it). If you're not sure about a dish, just take a small portion, you can always come back for more.

We sampled a half-dozen entrees, the salad bar, and several desserts. Almost everything was good, including the baked and fried white fish, baked chicken, sauteed onions and cheese biscuit. Only the mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes were disappointingly bland. The salad bar was a pleasant surprise with lots of fresh greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, Caesar salad and different dressings. The desserts were good, too, including coconut cream pie and brownies.

The vibe: Down-home and clean, with a large and attentive staff.

Cool factor no. 1: Seniors get discounts on all meals and customers 60 and up are considered senior citizens.

Cool factor no. 2: Since it's in a mall, parking is plentiful and free.

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