The Southern State With The Most Golden Corral Buffets

When you've got a big appetite or a big group, sometimes only an all-you-can-eat buffet will do. Few are more beloved and easy to find than Golden Corral, which calls itself "America's #1 Buffet Restaurant." It operates nearly 400 restaurants nationwide and is particularly iconic in the South, where it's become a cultural institution over its 50 years of operation. 

This association with the South means it likely comes as no surprise which state boasts the most locations. The old saying is that everything is bigger in Texas, and that goes for Golden Corral locations, too. According to ScrapeHero, 55 Golden Corral buffets are located in the Lone Star State. Houston has the most, with five. That's slightly ahead of Florida's 46, a state whose deep Southern roots are sometimes forgotten. Orlando has the most in Florida, with three.

There's a much more significant drop to North Carolina in third place, with 27. However, the state has the most locations per capita, with one for every roughly 390,000 North Carolinians. California and Georgia round out the top five with 21 and 18, respectively.

Some need to ride much further for Golden Corral

While Southerners will likely have no problem finding a Golden Corral relatively close to them, people in other regions may find a much longer drive is necessary. Unfortunately, ten states and Washington, D.C. don't have any Golden Corrals, mainly in New England and the Pacific Northwest. These include Connecticut, Maine, Hawaii, Montana, and Wyoming, among others.

It's no accident that Golden Corral has become a Southern food institution. The chain opened its first location in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1973, primarily serving red meat-based meals. It quickly grew to more than a hundred restaurants before the end of the decade. Through natural growth and acquiring competitors, Golden Corral acquired more than 500 restaurants by the late 1980s before gradually scaling back. This was partly the result of increased competition from similar chains, as well as changing dining habits, which led to the inclusion of the now-beloved salad bar. 

With delicious food choices ranging from fried shrimp and chicken to a huge selection of sides and desserts, some planning may be necessary. So, before your next visit, make sure to scout out the list of popular Golden Corral items, ranked worst to best.