I was unhappy about all the restaurants that closed in Kansas City in 2011 but particularly the end of the beloved Peachtree Buffet — the original venue on Eastwood Trafficway — one of the finest examples of Southern cooking in the metro and a real bargain to boot. (The Willis family, who operated the buffet, has opened a new sit-down restaurant in the same complex serving, by most accounts, the same tasty cuisine.)
But the metro isn't without soul-food restaurants and buffets. There's the fabulous Papa Lew's Soul Delicious at 2128 East 12th Street. And a new discovery — to me, anyway — that frequent Fat City commenter Dillo suggested that I visit: DelHi's Southern Cuisine Buffet at 8055 State Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas.
The restaurant, owned by a quartet of friends, including Edna and Linton Donnell, has operated in a strip center on State Avenue for the last two years, serving lunch and dinner in a dining room painted the color of raspberry sherbet. It serves a slightly more elaborate array of soul-food specialties than Papa Lew's, and everything I tasted was delicious.
The name of the restaurant has confused some diners: "We do get a few people who come in and think it's going to be a Southern Indian buffet," Linton Donnell says, "but the name comes from my hometown of Delhi, Louisiana."
The featured dishes include fried chicken, smothered chicken, spaghetti, a first-rate gumbo over white rice, fried catfish fillets, baked white fish, stewed greens, black-eyed peas, yams, green beans, succotash, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn bread and dinner rolls ... and chili. There's a salad bar and a modest selection of house-made desserts like bread pudding, chocolate cake, fruit cobbler and iced spiced cake. Prices range from $8.49 for the lunch buffet to $11.99 for the dinner buffet. The service is excellent.
DelHii's Southern Cuisine Buffet is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Mama's House serves from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.