Way of the Entrepreneur: The Lantern Steak House, Piedmont, Missouri
As is the general rule with secrets, the more exciting they are, the less chance they have of remaining secret for long. And through word of mouth alone, The Lantern Steak House is rapidly building a solid reputation for exquisite cuisine, cheerful service, and a warm, welcoming elegance capable of enhancing any occasion.
Elaine Bowles is the owner of The Lantern, an eggshell-and-white colonnaded structure which was once a private home. Wear your jeans, office gear, or evening attire to Bowles’s new establishment; bring the children or your fellow club members, or make it an intimate evening for two. From down-home comfort favorites to light, Mediterranean-inspired pastas, The Lantern has something for most every taste.
The restaurant—steadily gaining acclaim for the tenderness and flavor of its flame-grilled USDA Choice Buckhead beef steaks—opened in March of 2007. Elaine Bowles grew up in the southern tradition, and is one in a long line of talented cooks; as such, she was initiated early into the pleasures of preparing satisfying meals and hosting guests whenever the opportunity arose.
“We grew up in Forth Worth,” Bowles explains. “Southern hospitality was a way of life…If you didn’t have a tin of cheese straws and a pitcher of iced tea at the ready, well…”
Fast-forward to The Lantern, where Bowles does as much of the cooking as her other duties permit. On the regular menu are such items as sirloin and lobster tail, fried chicken fillets, grilled Lantern Burgers, and a creamy Fettuccini Alfredo. But Bowles herself may be the one to whip up an off-menu creation by request, if the fresh or seasonal ingredients are on hand. “When a guest says, ‘I want something different,’ I’ll go back and cook it myself if we’re not too busy.”
The bar at The Lantern is handsome, comfortable, and well-stocked. As to the restaurant’s wine list: Bowles continues to refine the selection based on customer tastes. Be assured that there is impressive variety to be found; many wines, from a simple Gallo red to a Chateau Lafite Rothschild, are available to fit both personal taste and the tenor of an evening.
For children, there’s a special menu featuring classic kiddie fare, from hot dogs to grilled cheese sandwiches, but the most unique children’s offering is not on that menu. There is an old staircase in the main dining room, one which had previously drawn pint-sized daredevils like a magnet. To prevent youngsters racing to the top and swooping down via banister, or wedging their little noggins into unseemly spaces, Bowles blocked off access to the staircase—by establishing a mini-gallery for kids’ drawings at the site. Little diners are now invited to create masterworks in crayon, which Bowles will then frame and add to the growing collection of originals lining the stairs.
Whether it’s full-service catering you need, a banquet room for a Christmas celebration, or simply a bowl of hot soup with homemade yeast rolls on a brisk autumn evening, the Lantern Steak House will oblige you with warmth and style.
Memo to the good people of Piedmont’s newest dinner spot: Your secret is out!
The Lantern Steak House, 1019 N. Main Street, Piedmont. Tel: 573-223-7380. Serving dinner from Wednesday through Saturday, 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Please call for information on gift certificates, special daytime bookings, holiday bookings, catering options, or arrangements for special dietary needs. Reservations are recommended for Fridays and Saturdays.
If you have an idea for this column, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.