If your travels take you through south-western Missouri you “must” exit the highway, drive to the town of Ozark and get a meal at Lambert’s: Home of the Throwed Rolls.
The delicious “down home cookin” will keep you coming back for years to come, but the uniqueness of the throwed roll brings people from across the country for their first visit.
The first thing you will notice when you arrive at Lambert’s is the full parking lot and the people waiting patiently on chairs and benches outside the building. Oh, yes, you’re going to wait for your meal; the fact that so many are waiting ahead of you should tell you that the wait is worth it. Tip: Plan a 30-45 minute wait into your schedule. The restaurant seats 700. Take the time to peruse a menu- you may change your mind a few times. Or wander around the indoor seating areas. The vintage carnival games and mailboxes (now used for employee paychecks) are really quite intriguing.
When it’s your turn to eat be prepared. While you will order your meat and sides from a menu there are also “pass arounds” which include macaroni & tomatoes, black-eyed peas, fried okra and fried potatoes & onions. These are brought table side in large metal pots and ladled onto your plate (macaroni, black-eyed peas & potatoes) or a large napkin (okra). Every few minutes you’ll hear the shout: “Hot Rolls!” as a thrower rolls trays of large fresh baked rolls out of the kitchen. If you want one stand up and raise your hand. One will be tossed to you. Tip: Be sure to catch it- the entire restaurant is watching!
Meals here are large; you won’t leave hungry. Beverages are “all you can drink”; I’ve yet to drain one of their huge mugs. Pass arounds are all you can eat. Tip: If you want dessert maybe you should order it first, just to be sure you have room.
Lambert’s menu includes the “down home” fare you expect: fried chicken, chicken fried steak, hamburgers, pork and catfish. But you know you’re experiencing real country cooking when the menu also features hog jowl, chicken gizzards, chicken livers and liver & onions. This is comfort food in the Midwest; no apology, cholesterol be damned.
On your way out stop in the gift shop for your own little bit of Lambert’s to take home.
Not heading through southwest Missouri any time soon? Lambert’s has two other locations: the original in Sikeston, Missouri and another in Foley, Alabama. All follow Ol’ Norm’s 13 Golden Rules, serve the same great food and throw rolls. Another thing you’ll need to know at Lambert’s: They accept cash and your check is welcome; credit cards are not accepted.
A few more facts:
Hours: 10:30am – 9pm or so
Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Ozark location also closed New Years Day
And remember: no credit cards!Jody Halsted shares her family travels at Family Rambling. A Midwest girl, she loves sharing the beauty many “fly-over”.