The Second Generation

ARRIVING:

November 17th, 2022

Welcome to the Steaming Tender Restaurant located in Palmer, MA also known as the Town of Seven Railroads. The building was purchased by Blake and Robin Lamothe in 1987 and opened as the restaurant in 2004. During the 17-year restoration project they had two daughters, Scarlet and Linea Lamothe, who are still involved in the day to day operations you see here today.

The Steaming Tender is my second home – literally! I was born in 2002 right before the restaurant opened in 2004. When I was about 7 years old, I was helping the servers bussing & cleaning tables. Once I got older, I attended a global private school from sixth to twelfth grade, which took up a lot of my time – with sports, academics, & extra circulator activities. I was able to make relationships with people all over the world, take entrepreneurship classes, find out what I wanted to do before I graduated high school. Since I was graduating high school during the pandemic in 2020, it made me think harder of what I wanted to do. My parents are my role models. They introduced to me a ‘no-quit’ attitude and to never give up. My parents have been perfect ‘cheerleaders’, keeping me motivated to pursue my career with the family businesses. I can see my parents & sister every day and do what I love.

Whenever someone tells you how they have been super busy with work, we automatically interpret this as being a bad thing. No one associates work with sunshine, love, happiness, or any positive feelings. These past few years, the word “work” has had such a negative meaning behind it. Some people dread on going to “work”. In the song ‘Vacation’ by Dirty Heads …“I’m on vacation. Every single day ’cause I love my occupation”, is the true meaning on how I feel. At the Steaming Tender, we are one big family, known as “The Tender Fam”. Every single day, I can establish new goals, laugh, smile, create new memories, build connections with guests who dine here & invest in the future of “Lamothe Block”. My next goal is to open a Café to bring people together, build relationships, all while being in a relaxing environment. I am hoping to serve specialty coffees, juices, smoothies & to open late night for specialty craft cocktails.

I was nine years old when we opened the Steaming Tender Restaurant. I remember painting picnic tables, practicing on the front register, and doing anything I could before opening day on July 17th, 2004. We first began as walk – up service with tables outside. All orders were placed at the ticket window and I would call the orders over the loud speaker, for example, “Order 29 is now ready for departure”, which was one of my favorite memories!

Overtime the original waiting room was cleared and restored for indoor dining. My parents were always restoring and expanding to beautify the building and the surrounding area. I am grateful to have been involved in the changes over the years. I worked at the restaurant all throughout high school and college starting in every position imaginable. During my years at Western New England University, I took some time to focus on my studies and had the opportunity to study abroad. I spent six months studying abroad in Lille, France and had the chance to travel to nine other countries in Europe, The U.K. and Africa. The cultural experiences were eye opening, and the means of travel was such an ease. When I returned home, I joined the International Club at my school to help them experience American culture and its history. The number one issue was getting a group of people from one location to another. The simplicity of travel over in Europe was so easy to maneuver from one place to another whether it be from city to city or from one country to another. My goal is to make public transportation in across our state more accessible. My father has been working on restoring passenger rail services for the past thirty years and
I am trying to do the same. I have worked alongside Senator Eric Lesser to restore passenger service to Massachusetts through his West – East Rail project. Palmer is listed as a rail stop in the initiative and we hope to make it a reality.

DEPARTING:

The Lamothe Family & Steaming Tender Crew

Rally For Rail

ARRIVING:

September 2nd, 2022

All good things take time. Four months ago, we hosted our first Artisan Emporium. Two months ago, we had celebrated 18 years as the Steaming Tender Restaurant. One month ago, we hosted our second Rally for Rail event.

Time goes by fast and in order to accomplish something correctly, it need not be rushed, but should be completed both accurately and in a timely manner. This holds true for many circumstances throughout the past weeks, months, and even years.

Adjacent to the Steaming Tender Restaurant, sits a Railroad Park. This Park was designed by world renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. His most famous work is Central Park in New York City. Palmer Union Station and it’s park was built in 1884. The Railroad Park was once filled with gardens and a water feature under the grotto. The Lamothe’s acquired the park in 2008 and are slowly restoring the grounds. A lot of restoration has gone underway already in exposing the grotto, brick sidewalks, granite curbing and lush grass. The Railroad Park will be named “Passenger Park”, based on Fredrick Law Olmsted’s vision of creating recreational spaces for people to enjoy and connect with nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. Palmer Union Station was built at the peak of the Second Industrial Revolution when the town became known as the Town of the Seven Railroads. Olmsted’s Park was built for the passengers of the Palmer Union Station, hence the name “Passenger Park”.

The goal for the Lamothe’s was to restore the Palmer Union Station to its former glory. They first purchased the building in 1987 and then opened it as the Steaming Tender Restaurant in 2004. The long-term goal for the restoration project, and for Palmer, was to bring back rail passenger service. The dedication and passion for Palmer and its community can not only be seen in the buildings that have been restored by the Lamothe’s but also in the community that have hopped on board in restoring the town into a beautiful place to live and enjoy. Over the past couple years, we have seen new businesses open on Main Street in downtown, some being Angel’s 1376 Palmer Restaurant, Salt Spa Therapy, Bina’s Boutique, and Figlio’s, Restaurant… just to name a few. This is only the start of what’s to come.

In late August, the Rally for Rail event was hosted by Senator Eric Lesser, who is running for Lieutenant Governor, Senator Anne Gobi, and Scarlet Lamothe. Senator Lesser proposed the East-West Rail bill approximately 10 years ago, and about 6 years ago, Scarlet Lamothe worked with Lesser as an intern. The Rally for Rail event was held in the support of returning passenger rail to Palmer, once again, after 50 years. The push for the return of passenger service has been over 30 years in the making, and we must keep on pushing, as we are now closer than ever. The Rally for Rail event had an excellent turnout and an enormous amount of support. What can you do to contribute to the economic revival and return of passenger service to Palmer and its region? Sign our petition at the front ticket office, show up to events, write a letter or email to congress, talk to your friends and family about rail, and vote! Become part of the history that is in the making!

DEPARTING:

The Lamothe Family & Steaming Tender Crew

Celebrating 18 Years

ARRIVING:

July 12th, 2022

On July 17th, 2022, we will be celebrating our 18th anniversary at the Steaming Tender Restaurant. Throughout the 18 years this restaurant has evolved in many ways. Let us take a stroll back in time…
to the year 1987.

A young 24-year-old man by the name of Blake Lamothe came to Palmer to visit a gentleman named Nelson Pease. Mr. Pease had a collection of antique car parts that Mr. Lamothe was in the market for. Traveling from Spencer, MA, Mr. Lamothe picked up the part he needed for his 1928 Ford Model A, and on his way out of Palmer, MA. Mr. Lamothe did a bit of exploring of the town and stumbled upon the Palmer Union Station.
Off Main Street and South Main Street of downtown Palmer was a dirt road, Depot Street. Driving down a dirt road gave Mr. Lamothe a sense of curiosity and adventure. At the end of the street was this large architectural building nestled between the tracks and the rolling hills. The large granite stones, archways and enormous doorways were showstoppers. Mr. Lamothe approached the building and saw the “for sale” sign and immediately contacted the realtor.

Celebrating 18 years

Back in 1987 the station was known as Bruno’s Pool Hall which consisted of pool tables, a small bar, donut shop, judo studio, and an auto shop in the front. The potential for restoration was there but the process was going to take some time. At such a young age, Mr. Lamothe took the project on. At that time, he was dating a young women named Robin who would help him generate some cash to put towards restoration by buying and selling antiques. The walls had to be stripped of paint, floorboards replaced, canopy restored, roof needed repairs and the list goes on. The vision was to restore the building to its former glory and turn it into a restaurant for others to enjoy.

After 17 years of restoration, the Steaming Tender Restaurant was opened on July 17th, 2004. The beginning of the restaurant was a take-out service with dining outside under the canopy and antiques for sale in what is now the main dining room. Slowly, the antiques were moved up to Antique Junction, 1294 South Main Street, to have seating inside the original “Waiting Room”. There are still numerous projects to complete however, all good things take time.

Photo Above: Blake & Robin Lamothe at Blake’s 30th Birthday

Over the years, the restaurant has evolved in terms of function, food, staff, and antiques. One thing that has remained consistent is family. Scarlet and Linea, daughters of Robin and Blake Lamothe are involved in the daily operations and future growth of the company. Over the years, the results you see today wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the team we have and had over the years. Our staff and guests’ inputs are just as crucial to achieving the success and future successes of the Steaming Tender. Our vision is to have our guests take in the rich history, railroad memorabilia, delicious food and provide a one-of-a-kind experience as the trains still come rumbling through…and someday will stop here for passenger service.

DEPARTING:

The Lamothe Family & Steaming Tender Crew