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.
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.
The Lamothe Family & Steaming Tender Crew