Sikeston cafe earns top spot in Travel Channel search

Sunday, May 18, 2003

SIKESTON, Mo. -- When the Travel Channel went in search of "places to pig out," they found the nation's favorite trough is Lambert's Cafe.

The Sikeston-Miner's "Home of Throwed Rolls" earned the No. 1 spot in the Travel Channel's feature "Top Ten Places to Pig Out." The show is scheduled to run at 7 p.m. today on the Travel Channel.

In December, the crew arrived at Lambert's and the cameras started rolling.

According to Lee Rataj, office manager for Lambert's, the crew filmed the kitchen, showing how the food is made. They shot footage of the staff bringing out plates laden with ham, eggs, pork chops, potatoes and more along with the bowls of fried okra, macaroni and coleslaw being passed around. Of course, there was lots of footage of rolls being tossed.

The film crew spoke with members of the Lambert family, restaurant general manager Jerry Johnson and many of the customers. They filmed the restaurant inside and out along with the surrounding community.

David E. Gerber, executive producer for the Travel Channel, said the show's goal was to show a variety of places with a variety of cuisine. Some are known for their volume of food served while others feature food contests.

But Gerber said it was Lambert's that earned the No. 1 spot.

He noted the restaurant has a nationwide reputation for its bounty. Even his friends were telling him about it when he spoke of the upcoming show. But it wasn't just the loaded plates that earned them top ranking.

"Everyone there appears to be having a great time. It's a kind of place where people get huge volumes of food and go home having had a great time -- an all-round good experience," he said.

Watching the video as he talked, Gerber laughed and admitted he has never been to a restaurant where the staff was encouraged to throw food at its patrons.

"But the rolls look delicious. This is a feast for the eyes," he said about the film.

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