I'll never forget my family trips to Old Country Buffet when I was growing up. This buffet was heaven for a 9-year-old with zero patience and did not like to wait for service. I remember as a kid that when we would go to the Old Country Buffet by our house, I thought that was fine dining. "This must be how rich people live" was a constant thought I had as an elementary school kid.

"We don't have to wait for service and I can have as many bowls of chicken noodle soup as I want?" There was just something fun about family nights at OCB that I loved. When we were all done eating, my brother, my sister, and I would take turns going to the ice cream machine and we'd put as many sprinkles/chocolate chips in our ice cream bowls as mom and dad would allow. When I was 9 years old, Old Country Buffet was heaven.

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If you've been to an OCB, do you remember trying to make small talk with the poor guy/girl who had to stand there and cut slices of meat for you? Imagine this poor soul trying to talk to an over-hyper 9-year-old who wanted to ask them how their day was going. I always thought this was the coolest person in the entire room and more than likely, they just wanted me to scram.

Is Old Country Buffet Around?

I've dug deep through the internet and as far as I can tell, Old Country Buffets are completely gone. While you might find an OCB location on Google Maps, they all are marked as "permanently closed." *Not all of these locations are in Iowa*

Google Maps
Google Maps

According to Cuisine, you won't be able to find any Old Country Buffet locations that are still in business. While I knew OCB had become less popular, I was still holding out hope that there were a few of them around.

Sadly, Old Country Buffet went through numerous bankruptcies. The brand filed for bankruptcy 4 total times. Bankruptcy and the Covid pandemic were a sad nail in the coffin for the Buffet brand. Old Country Buffet is now owned by an umbrella company that "has no plans to try and reinvigorate the brand."

At one point, there were 600 Old Country Buffets around the country.

While OCB is no longer a restaurant in Iowa, or anywhere for that matter, there have been some historic Iowa restaurants that have been open for 50 years. Check out these classic Iowa restaurants and their incredible longevity.

Eastern Iowa Restaurants That Have Been Open 50+ Years

There are quite a few Eastern Iowa restaurants that have stood the test of time! Here are some of the eateries that have been open in the area for 50 years or more!

Gallery Credit: Courtlin

25 Eastern Iowa Restaurants We Want on 'Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives'

The Food Network show 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives' hasn't made very many stops in Iowa, so we wanted to give them a few ideas for their next visit! Our list contains diners, hole-in-the-walls, small town staples, places that have stood the test of time, and restaurants that just have that perfect dive-y vibe. Most of our picks come from the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City areas, but we did include a few favorites that are a bit of a drive! Here are 25 of the places we'd love to see on 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives' someday:

Gallery Credit: Courtlin


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