There's something so gratifying about filling your stomach with a home cooked dinner. Mix that with an all-you-can-eat experience at one of the best buffets in the state it's an experience you won't soon forget. One meal at the Back 40 Junction in Decatur is all it will take to show you just why they were voted Best Buffet in Indiana by Yahoo Travel in 2016.
Head to Decatur on US 27, about thirty minutes south of Fort Wayne to the Back 40 Junction. What you will notice as soon as you park is that there's a railroad-themed charm to the place. The exterior is decorated with cattle statues and train cars perfect for selfies and to help occupy your time in case there's a wait.
Venturing inside, the interior is absolutely enchanting and my eyes were quickly trying to take it all in from the quirky statues positioned just inside the door to the high beamed ceilings adorned with flags. The restaurant is filled with a curious combination of antiques, strategically placed Burma Shave signs, statues of all shapes and sizes and tables covered with classic red checkered table cloths. You won't miss the giant train station mural painted by Donald Bassett that flanks the far wall. It's rumored that he placed a self portrait somewhere in the painting. It's fun to try to guess which one he is.
My children accompanied me on this lunch and we all set out immediately to fill our plates with the homemade goodness. The Back 40 staff make all of the food from scratch and it's evident through each plateful of food. We started with soft, airy yeast rolls and their signature dip with crackers. The salad bar was fresh and had a nice offering of toppings for anyone wanting a healthier option.
The main meal consists of mouth-watering fried chicken, fried/baked fish, fried shrimp and the carving station served up ham and roast beef. Their side dishes were equally as fantastic and I gorged on mashed potatoes and gravy, cheesy potatoes and sweet potatoes with a dollop of marshmallow. For a moment I felt like it was Thanksgiving all over again and I was in food bliss. Please note: If you come on a Friday night, expect a higher meal price of $25.95 but it comes with all-you-can-eat crab legs and peel and eat shrimp - Friday nights are extremely popular and reservations are strongly recommended.
If you still have room, enjoy one of their sumptuous homemade desserts or a scoop of ice cream. Luckily they cut the pieces small so that you can sample more than one. During our visit they had several types of cookies, pies, bread pudding and apple crisp. They also have whole pies that you can purchase during checkout if you would like to take one home.
The buffet is reasonably priced and the pricing does fluctuate between lunch and dinner and from weekly to weekend rates. They offer special rates for children and seniors. See their website for specific pricing for your visit.
We loved our trip to the Back 40 Junction and based on the multiple requests from my children to return since our visit we will be back very soon. If you heading north to the Fort Wayne area and are looking for a unique experience, I highly recommend making a stop in Decatur for this legendary buffet. Just make sure you have time for a nap afterwards.
Back 40 Junction, 1011 North 13th Street, Decatur
Reservations are strongly recommended, call 260-724-3355.