PALMER (CBS) — With a name like Steaming Tender, it’s a pretty safe bet this isn’t your typical restaurant.
And as you drive down the dirt road and arrive at the old train depot that houses the place, it’s easy to see that a visit here is way more than a meal.
“When I opened the restaurant I wanted to be more than just a food establishment,” says owner Robin Lamothe. “You have to have the right sounds, you have to have the right smells, you have to have something pleasing for the eye, you need to have something that is more than a dining experience.”
So ever since Lamothe bought the building in Palmer, Massachusetts thirty years ago, she’s been renovating, restoring, and adding to the rich legacy of this historic train station.
“You come right down, we’re wedged in between two tracks,” says Lamother. “So the trains are going by. You have the old 1884 train station, and you just feel like you are placed in another era.”
Steaming Tender is part restaurant, part transportation museum, and all fun–whether you’re watching the trains passing through, enjoying a ride on the antique stage coach, or just feasting on some all-American eats.
“We have all the typicals, your steaks, your pastas, your fresh seafood. Great sandwiches, great desserts,” says Lamothe.
And while the food may be familiar, it’s anything but ordinary. There’s lobster mac and cheese, a thick half-pound Angus cheeseburger smothered with peppers, onions, mushrooms, a deliciously authentic grilled Reuben, and a mountain of absolutely addictive nachos dripping with chili.
“They’re super good, I’m telling you,” Lamothe says. “I could have one a day, but I’ve got to stay away. It’s a great share dish. I recommend at least two people hitting those nachos.”
And no matter what you eat, a meal here is an ever-changing feast for both the eyes and the stomach.
“I love food, I love architecture, I love history,” Lamothe says. “And I just get such satisfaction coming up with a new menu item, or getting a new artifact to show off. Because people appreciate it. People notice.”
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