KFC All-You-Can-Eat Buffets Still Exist And Are Well Worth The Road Trip

One of the defining characteristics of the 1980s had to be its display of excess and decadence. Think of 1987 flick, "Wall Street" where financial tycoon Gordon Gekko believed "greed...is good." Or the extravagance seen in primetime soap, "Dynasty" or Robin Leach's parting wish of "champagne wishes and caviar dreams" on "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." All that unrestrained display of surplus wasn't just for TV though; it bled into everything in American society, including fast food restaurants — enter, the dawn of the fast food buffet.

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There are tales of buffet lines at such places as McDonalds, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut in the '80s, but the existence of them often gets put into the category of urban legends. However, KFC's all-you-can-eat buffet, which sprouted up back then too, can still be found on a very small scale. There are so few of them left, however, and the ones that remain are so difficult to track down, that they've become destinations. And fans of Colonel Sanders' secret recipe have traveled hundreds of miles just to experience the last remaining remnants. It's hardly the adventure of a lifetime, but fans of the chicken chain, as well as food historians, or anyone just looking for an excuse to go on a road trip, might find visiting one of these relics to be a good time.

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How do you find the last remaining KFC buffets?

In the 1980s, KFC buffets were pretty plentiful, but by the time the next decade rolled around, societal tastes had shifted and many locations ditched the steam tables and hot plates for good. Still, several of them survived well into the 21st century until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, and huge numbers of buffets halted for good, leaving a precious few to search and find. So where are they now?

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In the age of having the internet at our fingertips, you'd think that finding an elusive KFC buffet would be as simple as a quick Google search. Not so fast. If you rely on the KFC website to clue you in on your closest buffet location, you're in for disappointment there, too. With both options, you'll only find the closest KFC restaurant, but there will be no indication of whether it features an all-you-can-eat option. Instead, you may have to rely on bloggers who are passionate about the subject, or Facebook groups devoted to the cause, as well as good, old-fashioned word of mouth.

The Facebook group KFC Buffet Aficionados appears to have decent up-to-date information on where to find active buffets, but they are few and far between, and mostly concentrated in the southern and southeastern states of the U.S., such as Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

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What to expect at a KFC Buffet

Should you find and visit a KFC Buffet, you can expect to find the standard, classic menu items for the all-you-can-eat option, like fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, and biscuits. But, according to various blog posts and websites, you might also find some unexpected dishes and some of KFC's oddest menu items. Visitors have reported fruit cobblers and pudding for dessert, fried chicken livers and gizzards, chicken and noodles, and a salad bar extension.

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Reviews, however, aren't always glowing. After all, these are not Las Vegas-caliber buffets; you are in a fast food restaurant and the degree of freshness and cleanliness is always going to be dependent on the staff of a particular location. (But, honestly, it's unlikely anyone is going to these places searching for the best meal of their life anyway.) Pilgrimages to such locations are, in large part, nostalgic trips for those who might have grown up near a KFC buffet, eating their share of fried chicken legs on Sunday afternoons, and bowls of Jell-O and chocolate pudding for dessert. Today, you might even witness people taking selfies and posting live videos on social media at the remaining buffets. After all, this isn't the '80s anymore.

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