Story by Monika Staszczak, Contributing writer
Students of Murray State got to experience the seventh annual Lambert’s Dinner at Winslow Dining Hall last week. It is an evening dedicated to the tradition from Lambert’s Cafe, a restaurant in Sikeston, Missouri that calls itself “the home of throwed rolls.”
Lambert’s Cafe is a restaurant with two locations in Missouri and one in Alabama; the one that’s most familiar to West Kentuckians is located in Sikeston, Missouri. This particular restaurant was the first one to exist, founded by Earl and Agnes Lambert in 1942, according to the throwedrolls.com website.
What makes it different from other restaurants is the famous throwed rolls, the signature feature of Lambert’s Cafe – servers, instead of just bringing the customers their baked rolls, throw them across the restaurant at the tables for customers to catch.
The Lambert’s Dinner event first happened at Murray State in the fall of 2009 due to the efforts of former manager of Winslow, Linda Hollingsworth, said Tim Bruce, executive chef at Winslow.
The star of the evening at Lambert’s Dinner this year were the baked rolls that the staff served by throwing them to people, just the same as in the original Lambert’s Cafe.
More than 35 people worked at Winslow that night, and around 20 of them were the student staff. One of the workers was Vaires Foster, junior from Murray. It was a very busy night for Foster. His job was to throw the rolls to people across the dining hall and shout “hot rolls!”
“They’re not really hot, we’re just supposed to say that,” Foster said. The point was to make the experience as close to the original Lambert’s Cafe as possible.
Winslow produced 3,200 rolls that night, but they were not the only thing in high demand. Other favorites were cheesecake with 1,000 slices given out, as well as ribeyed stake, fried shrimp, chicken and dumplings and more, Bruce said.
The original Lambert’s Cafe produces 520 dozens of rolls per day, making for a total of over 2 million rolls a year, according to the throwedrolls.com website.
The Lambert’s Dinner event is very popular at Murray State – this year 1,900 people attended, Bruce said, making Winslow really crowded. Spencer Phillips, freshman from Owensboro, Kentucky, was one of the guests to show up at Winslow last week.
“I had a really good time, and throwing the rolls was great” Phillips said.