This past weekend, I took the advice of a co-worker who is aware of my present infatuation with soul food to try Dustie's Southern Style Family Buffet in the south suburb of Dolton.
First, I should note that Dusties, located just off the I-94 and Sibly Road interchange, appears to be a bit of an institution. When I arrived around 3pm, the restaurant was quite busy with a line of 8-10 customers waiting to pay the cashier to enter the restaurant.
The pleasant dining area was fully occupied by a number of diners including some pretty good sized families. There are three short buffet lines, arranged at angles and a meat carving station. Dustie's is an enjoyable place to eat because so many of the patrons seem to genuinely be enjoying the company of their families there.
For Saturday lunch ($9.95),the buffet offered a number of hot and cold food items. Of the entrees, the fried chicken didn't fare so well as is often the case on a buffet. It was a bit dry, the coating non-descript, and appeared to have been sitting out for a good while. On the other hand, the smothered chicken was among some of the best that I have had in the Chicago area. The chicken was simmered tender in a very tasty old fashioned gravy. There were also oven prepared ribs and rib tips (tender but not smoky), luscious, tender, and rich braised hamhocks, meat loaf, stewed pork neck bones, fried jack salmon and lasagna on the entree table. There was also a beautiful huge rib roast on the carving station.
The sides were pretty much all winners. The worst of the lot were slow cooked red beans, which were a bit bland. The big winners were the collard greens with big chunks of hamhock, candied sweet potatoes with a delicious hint of ginger, and distinctively sharp macaroni and cheese. I skipped the plain white rice and green beans that looked canned. Other choices included black eyed peas, mashed potatoes and lima beans.
The salad bar had some really interesting old style homemade southern salads including a good macaroni salad and a fantastic potato salad.
The dessert buffet offered the opportunity to sample housemade apple cobbler, housemade peach cobbler and house made bread pudding. All were tasty and were complimented by soft serve ice cream.
Home made yeast rolls are an excellent accompaniment to your Dustie's feast.
Sodas were included in the price. Dusties offers coffee, but not traditional sticky sweet southern iced tea with which you might accompany such a meal in the deep south.
All in all, of the three soul buffets that I have tried in the greater Chicago area, Dusties outperforms both Queen of the Sea and Soul Queen which are located relatively close on Stoney Island.
Dustie's buffet price varies depending upon what day and time of day you are there. Generally, Monday through Thursday, lunch is $8.95 and dinner is $10.95. The Friday Fish Fry is $9.95 at lunch and $12.95 at dinner. Saturday lunch is $9.95 and dinner is $11.95. Sunday "brunch" (served all day) is $13.95. On Saturday nights and Sundays,the buffet includes numerous baked and fried fish items.
Dustie's Southern Style Family Buffet
1321 E. Sibley Rd.