Virginia City Buffet
Bally's Wild Wild West Casino - Atlantic City, NJ
My favorite buffet on the Atlantic City Boardwalk is permanently closing today. The Virginia City Buffet opened on July 2, 1997 at the same time as the old west themed Wild Wild West casino. Throughout the 90's and 2000's, my grandparents would take a bus trip to Atlantic City once a month, and this is usually where they ate.
I started visiting Atlantic City in the mid 2000's. I played some roulette, but I'm not much of a gambler, so for me, the main attraction was the beach, the boardwalk, the Ripley's Museum and the food. After hearing for years about how good this buffet was, I had to check it out. I wasn't disappointed.
The Buffet was on the second floor of Bally's Wild Wild West Casino. Guests of the restaurant would stand in line and pay on the first floor. You'd be given a receipt and a ticket for a ribeye steak, and you would then be guided to an escalator that brought you to the restaurant. When you got there, you'd turn in your receipt and then be seated in the dining room.
|Source: The Daily Journal (7/29/2004)|
There was a seating area on the front porch on each of these homes. This area had dim porch lights and hanging plants, and a doorway that led into a small dining room where additional restaurant seating could be found. All of the tables were spaced out well enough that you could go to the buffet and return to your table with no trouble, even when the restaurant was busy.
One of the things that made the atmosphere special was the lighting. I'm not sure if they had a set schedule to adjust the lighting of the restaurant based on the time of day, but it definitely did change. The photo above is how the dining room looked most of the time when I had dinner at the Virginia City Buffet. The courtyard was dimly lit by lights in the trees, street lights and the lights from porches and faux windows on the second floor of the country homes. The center of the ceiling was dark, but the perimeter above the rooftops of the homes were lit with dark blue lights that made it look like the horizon of a night sky.
I suppose that some people would laugh at what I'm saying about this place, or that they'd think it was a cheesy place, but I found the Virginia City Buffet to be a very warm and cozy place to eat. It was a nice tucked away corner of Atlantic City where you could relax and have a cup of coffee with some good food. You could forget about the outside world for a little while and escape into the moment.
If I knew ahead of time that it was scheduled to close today, I would have definitely made it a point to go back and have one last meal here. However, time marches on and the Virginia City Buffet is now just a pleasant memory of a place I liked to have dinner at when I was in my 20's.