Originally featured in the December 2017 issue of Lancaster County magazine.
With the holidays quickly approaching, you’re most likely checking your list and making preparations for festive family gatherings. But, what are your options if your family has dwindled or if you don’t feel like preparing or have space to host the traditional holiday dinner? As you’re probably aware, there aren’t a lot of options for dining out on Christmas Day. However, Café 24 Hundred at The DoubleTree Resort Lancaster is the exception — the restaurant will be serving a Christmas buffet!
“We find there’s a need for the Christmas buffet for both our hotel guests and for local families. There aren’t really many other options; this is the one day that most other restaurants are closed,” says Lisa Sellers, director of sales and marketing. “It’s perfect for small family groups — coming here can help keep the family tradition of being together on Christmas alive,” adds food and beverage manager, Craig Tillman.
Café 24 Hundred’s Christmas Buffet is served from 1:30-4:30 p.m. and is available by reservation only. Tables — a mix of tables, booths and banquettes — in the 90-seat dining room will be draped with linen, and the room itself will be adorned with festive holiday decorations.
The menu will feature salads (including Caesar and fruit); soups; peel-and-eat shrimp; carved meats such as cider-glazed ham and slow-roasted prime rib; citrus-and-sage-roasted turkey with cranberry marmalade; pasta station; garlic and herb tilapia; seafood Newburgh; red skin mashed potatoes; sweet corn; green beans almandine; and rolls and butter. Rounding out the menu will be a selection of desserts including petit fours and warm cranberry-and-walnut bread pudding. Cost for adults is $36.99; children ages 9 to 12, $13.99, and children 4 to 8, $8.99.
The adjacent lounge, which along with a deck for alfresco dining, seats 50. It will be offering a limited selection from its light fare menu on Christmas. The lounge will maintain its regular weekday operating hours of 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Seating is at the bar, hi-tops, tables and booths. There are three large-screen TVs behind the bar.
Café 24 Hundred opened when the property, formerly the Willow Valley Resort and Conference Center, became affiliated with DoubleTree Resorts by Hilton in 2010. Lisa explains that the “24 Hundred” in the restaurant’s name refers to its address. “We’re more than a hotel restaurant. We want people to stop in for lunch, dinner or even a quick bite and a drink,” she adds.
“We use local ingredients such as meats, cheeses and vegetables. It’s a way of giving guests a taste of Lancaster County,” Craig notes.
The menu changes twice a year in order to showcase seasonal ingredients. There are daily soups, as well as seasonal salads, appetizers such as wings (perfect for watching football), sandwiches and entrées. The signature 24 Hundred burger is topped with bacon, cheddar cheese and served on a brioche bun. There’s also a signature salad that features seasonal ingredients — for fall/winter the 24 Hundred salad features sundried cranberries, toasted almonds with a citrus vinegar and olive oil dressing.
The dinner menu even features a selection of “Willow Valley” comfort foods such as fish & chips, spaghetti and meatloaf. The bar menu features mussels, black bean hummus and a warm soft pretzel snack board (definitely a nod to Lancaster County).
There’s also a bit of a regional taste in the beverage area. Craig points out that selections from regional breweries such as Troegs and Lancaster Brewing Company are on tap. They also change seasonally.
Craig notes the Christmas Day buffet is not the only special holiday offering at Café 24 Hundred. Holiday brunches in the DoubleTree’s Palm Court are offered for Easter and Mother’s Day, and there’s also a special Thanksgiving Feast. “Many people remember the Sunday brunches we used to have in Palm Court as Willow Valley. We haven’t done those in quite some time. Now, that space is used for special functions. But, the holiday brunches are a way people can experience Palm Court dining again,” Lisa says.
Café 24 Hundred is located at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Lancaster, 2400 Willow Street Pike, Lancaster. Breakfast hours are 6-11 a.m.; lunch is served 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and dinner is served 5-10 p.m. daily. Lounge hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. Reservations are suggested for weekend dining and for special holiday buffets. Call 717-464-2711 or toll-free 888-251-4379, or visit doubletreelancaster.com/dining and Faceboo