Buffet restaurants are primarily for dining indoors. When the coronavirus stuck shutting down all restaurants, it seemed like buffets would be the first to close permanently. Converting a buffet-style restaurant to a take-out or delivery business model would be nearly impossible in order to continue operating profitably.
Ruby Buffet with locations in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, and Massapequa (Long Island), NY decided they needed to pivot and, ultimately, re-brand the restaurant in order to survive.
Enter Ruby’s Cajun Seafood Boil.
Seafood boil places in the greater Philadelphia area, including South Jersey, have been on the rise. Restaurants like Crab Du Jour (which is opening a new restaurant at 822 N Broad St soon) and Cajun Heroes are rapidly expanding.
“We made the switch to Ruby’s Cajun due to our need to adapt to Covid-19 restrictions. As a buffet during a pandemic, it is almost impossible to enforce social distancing requirements. The safety of all our employees and customers is our top priority,” owner Jane Li told Philly Grub. “We do not know when and if we can transition back to a buffet restaurant.”
By switching to a seafood boil restaurant, it allows them to stay open and offer pickup and delivery since seafood boil items are transportable and profitable.
Since re-opening as Ruby’s Cajun, they’ve launched a new website with online ordering and partnered with food ordering services GrubHub, Door Dash, and UberEats for delivery.
Menu items include boiled seafood such as lobster, mussels, king crab legs, snow crab legs, shrimp (head-on and head-off), clams, oysters, scallops, and crawfish. Boiled seafood platters can be ordered by the pound or in combination with other seafood all served with potatoes and corn.
Additionally, they offer fried fish and seafood such as catfish, tilapia, soft shell crabs, crab cakes, shrimp, and oysters by themselves or in a basket with a choice of side. Fried chicken, chicken tenders, and breaded or naked wings are available alongside a variety of fried rice dishes with Cajun seasonings. Side dishes include Cajun fries, sweet potato fries, macaroni and cheese, steamed rice, etc. Clam chowder, fried calamari, onion rings, and cocktail shrimp are also offered among other items.
Perfect timing for 4th of July parties. In fact, if you buy $50 worth of food, you’ll get a whole lobster for $1. That’s pretty sweet!
We tried a few items from the Cherry Hill location yesterday and was pleasantly surprised. We will definitely order from them again.
The Philadelphia restaurant is located at 1100 S. Columbus Blvd. Business hours are Sunday-Thursday: 11:30am-9:00pm and Friday-Saturday: 11:30am – 10:00pm. Call 215-468-8889.
The Cherry Hill restaurant is located at 2100 Route 38. Business hours are 12:00noon-9:00pm. Call 856-321-8288.
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I’m very disappointed that you will no longer be a Buffet to eat in. I ate there 2 times per week before. Go back to being a buffet. Please.
This is likely temporary, Gina, due to the COVID-19 restrictions. But honestly, buffets are probably not coming back any time soon. Even when a vaccine is created, it’s going to take some time to feel confident in crowds.