YORK — Michael’s in downtown York aims to please palates all day long, from breakfast plates at sunrise to a hearty lunch buffet and steak dinners.
Owner Michael Puckett, the former owner of Mary’s Place in Sharon, shut down that eatery after six years. One day later, he opened Michael’s in York, where he hopes to serve a larger clientele.
“I wanted to go somewhere where it would be busier,” he said.
So far, Puckett has gotten his wish. His eatery, at the site of the former Pork & More restaurant at 122 N. Congress St., has seen brisk business since it opened about three weeks ago.
“The public’s response has been overwhelming; we’ve really been busy,” Puckett said last week as the lunchtime crowd started to arrive. “The first Sunday we were open, people were leaving saying, ‘Pork & More is back.’”
Puckett’s specialty is Southern-style, home-cooked meals. Like Pork & More, a popular eatery that operated at the site for more than two decades, Puckett offers a large lunch buffet Monday to Friday.
“We do a lot of things ourselves,” he said. “Fresh is better, that’s what I think. Because I go out to eat, and when it’s fresh, you can tell.”
Lunch buffet items, which change each day, include meatloaf, country-fried steak, pork roast, stew beef, chicken casserole, chicken pot pie, pork chops, turkey and gravy and more. Fried chicken is a staple. Sides include macaroni and cheese, green beans, corn, potatoes, desserts and more.
“We have fried chicken every day,” he said. “That’s our specialty; everybody loves our fried chicken.”
On Saturday, he said there’s a breakfast buffet from 6 to 11 a.m., and customers can order from the menu at lunch.
The menu changes again around sundown.
“In the evening, we consider ourselves a steakhouse,” he said.
Dinner is from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, featuring a menu of fresh, never-frozen steaks such as ribeye, filet mignon, porterhouse and sirloin tips. The dinner menu also includes burgers, grilled chicken plates, barbecue, flounder, popcorn shrimp and crab cakes.
“On the side menu in the evening with the steaks, nothing is frozen,” he said. “Everything is fresh, sauteed asparagus, sauteed green beans and fresh steamed vegetables, not frozen. Our chicken strips and chicken fillet are hand-breaded, not frozen.”
On Sunday, Michael’s is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a buffet only. The lunch buffet includes two meats during the week and three on Sunday, he said.
Puckett, a 1989 graduate of York Comprehensive High School, got his start in the restaurant business during high school, when he ran a Sharon pizza place owned by his father, called Pizza Palace.
He earned a degree from York Technical College and worked in manufacturing for a while. His father had opened Mary’s Place during the 1970s and suffered a small stroke. He asked Puckett if he wanted to run the restaurant.
“I took a gamble and quit my job and did it,” he said.
Puckett said his parents, Joe and Mark Puckett, have helped him open the York restaurant and pitch in as they can. The staff also includes his wife, Frankie, and several of his five children.
Jane Hoffman of Sharon, who had been eating at Mary’s Place for years, said she now travels to York to eat at Michael’s. She has been a fan of almost everything on the menu.
She is especially fond of his desserts: “It’s always good,” Hoffman said. “Every place he goes, I will go.”