BBQ ribs, chicken and pulled pork at times are good.
HOWEVER: Many times the quality of meat used has to much fat and is of poorer quality. If it were consistantly good I would give a better rating.
THE SIDES: Advertised as "homemade" are not, instant potatoes and instant peppered gravy is what they serve. Boxed desserts, some over done assorted vegetable salads. Store bought rolls. Maybe the baked beans? are homemade!
For an "all you can eat" buffet, the "cook" and the employees have an eagle eye on the buffet and are constantly moving mixing and basically standing in your way while they are messing with the food.
The Hickory Hut in Salina serves consistantly better BBQ.
I love the food: mouth-watering BBQ ribs, beef brisket, pork, chicken and all the sides. I'm especially fond of the tangy, nutty cole slaw. Desserts are all heavenly delicious and included in the price, as is the beverage.
The restaurant is situated in the former Smolan grade school, a delightful old building made of dark red sandstone. School memorbilia from various Saline county schools covers the walls and the main dining area is in the original gynasium. Private parties may use some of the other rooms in the building.
If you like stuffing yourself with superb BBQ then stop on in. Hickory Tree is based in an old school house in the heart of Smolan, KS. If you can stumble upon the small town you will not need directions when they are open as traffic lines the streets as people file in for fine BBQ.
On your arrival you pay before you eat (will not be disappointed) and my tip bring cash as it will save you a little money (charge extra for checks & credit cards).
When you walk in you will be seated. It is nothing-fancy folks. Folding chairs and tables all around. There is a buffet bar, drink/salad bar, and a hot bar. Pick up your can of pop, grab some plastic utensils and a paper plate and pile on the goodness.
I typically have to get two plates as I need a little of everything they offer because its so good. If you feel the need for beer you can visit the appropriate bar and pay the price. Otherwise you are left to yourself. There is not waiter. You must clear your own table off as you go (all staff does is wipe it down and clear it for you on your arrival).
Kind of reminds me like a family reunion. Being in the gym the environment is loud. Unless you speak loud chances are you are not going to want to waist your breath. When you are finished eating you can tour the upstairs of the old school. They used to have classrooms set up for display but now they have been converted to party rooms. They are unique nonetheless.
Not a place for a first date but worthy of chowing down on some great grub. Oh don't wear a white shirt ;-).
The Hickory Tree is a fun place to reminisce about a time gone by. The old high school building has a "gym" where the main buffet is located with local high school memorabilia hanging as if the high school was still open. After eating dinner, take a tour of the whole building and check out the 50's era school.
The staff is friendly and the price is fair. The food was average, but the atmosphere more than made up for that.
Kathy and Lee put a spread that makes you go tell others about. Here in this area on business, and had the pleasure to find this place by word of mouth of a co-worker. The ribs, pulled pork, and chicken rocked. The sauce was nice and not over powering. I have the luck of going back one more time before we leave
We decided that we wanted to do something different besides the same ol chain restaurants. Finding this little gem in the rough was great. Not only did we get to reminisce about old time (a large amount of memorabilia all over) they offered a great BBQ dinner. For the money we paid, we were able to eat our fill at the buffet. From the side dishes to all the hickory smoked meats, everything was great in its own way. All the other BBQ restaurants we had tried smoother their meats with sauce not here. The sauces are kept light so you are able to actually taste the smoky flavored meat. The staff was very helpful with all our questions or any concerns. Also, we found out that it is family owned and the owners actually work there everynight. We had a great time and plan revisit in the near future.