Steaming Tender in Palmer, Massachusetts: A Fantastic Restaurant on the Right Track
Steaming Tender Restaurant, Palmer Massachusetts.
by Eric Hurwitz. Created 4/5/2017.
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Steaming Tender in Palmer, Mass., operates on all cylinders when it comes to a wonderful restaurant experience.
Located on a private road a few minutes off the Mass Turnpike in a 19th century Romanesque-style, downtown Palmer railroad station designed by legendary architect, H.H. Richardson, Steaming Tender not only serves amazing comfort foods but also earns high points as a fun, one-of-a-kind dining destination with loads of charm and character. Inside, train and railroad station memorabilia saturate the walls, and the 30 ft. high ceilings and wood design and decor in the large rustic main dining room and bar area lend a cozy, comfortable retro vibe that makes it hard to leave. It's one of the most beautiful restaurant dining rooms I have experienced in all of New England...
Outside, the two rail lines with trains traveling by all day offers true authenticity to the train station setting. The open-air Heritage Museum at Steaming Tender showcases period transportation, including a 1909 New Haven Railroad passenger car, an 1890 Wells Fargo hotel-style Stagecoach, a 1920s Pumper car, various sleighs and wagons, and a gorgeous 1915 Porter Steam Locomotive & Tender, according to the Steaming Tender web site. It's an incredible sight, and quite educational and entertaining to people of all ages.
While the historic train and railroad flourishes make Steaming Tender a destination, it is the excellent food and drink offerings that truly brings the customer "all aboard" with the overall dining experience. The prime rib is to die for, the seafood fresh, the burgers mouthwatering, chili so flavorful, and the lobster bisque tasting like something from the best New England coastal seafood restaurants.
The menu is huge and definitely has something for everyone. Appetizers include beer battered fried pickles, homemade potato chips, shrimp scampi flatbread and stuffed portabella mushroom caps. Homemade soups, fresh salad and sandwich options abound while dinners like whole fried clams, New England haddock and sea scallops, Maine lobster roll, pulled pork and cheese sandwich, pot roast dinner, New England turkey dinner with all the fixing's, baked lobster mac and cheese, porterhouse steak, and baby back ribs create a great foundation to those looking for hearty meals served in big portions.
Pulled pork and cheese sandwich with house-made chips
Overflowing, delicious thick New England clam chowder.
Fresh dinner salad from Steaming Tender.
Burger from from Steaming Tender.
If you have enough room for dessert, strawberry cheesecake, carrot cake, gluten free chocolate lava cake (plenty of gluten free menu items here, by the way) and whiskey bread pudding should satisfy the sweetest tooth.
The main dining room features a handsome bar with an extensive drinks list including house wines, white wines, red wines, bottled beer, on tap beer, martinis, "moonshine drinks," and the signature Locomotion drink: vanilla and coconut rums, and cranberry and pineapple juices served in a pint glass.
The service is always efficient and friendly, and the owners run, and have maintained the restaurant beautifully -- like a well-oiled train! FYI, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and Sunday morning brunch from 9 a.m. - 12 noon. The old-time Parlor Car - separate from the restaurant -- can be rented for functions and special events.
I would place Steaming Tender in my top five of all restaurants in New England. The food, atmosphere, service and historical preservation create an experience that just feels so right. I would never hesitate to drive the 90 miles from our home to central Massachusetts to eat here -- it's that good!
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