Lambert's Cafe Opens

Apr 26, 2016

It seems like almost yesterday that Lambert's Café opened in Sikeston, Missouri.

Earl and Agnes Lambert borrowed $1,500 from Tish Jones, even though they had only 14 cents to their name. Along with their five employees and eight tables, the establishment opened on South Main Street in Sikeston, MO. It was difficult starting out due to the rationing during World War II. Some days the restaurant went without meat, but they were able to stay in business. Earl and Agnes worked 12-hour shifts just to keep the café open twenty-four hours a day.

Earl Lambert passed away in 1976, leaving the business to Agnes. Left to run the café on her own, she decided to sell Lambert's. A week later their son Norman and his wife Patti bought back the cafe, and they became business partners with Agnes. On April 20, 1981, the restaurant opened for business on 2109 East Malone. Not long after, they outgrew this location, and in 1988 moved to a brand new building conveniently located closer to Interstate 55.

In 2003, Lambert's Café was featured on Travel Channel's "Top Ten Places to Pig Out". Executive producer, David E. Gerber commented on the Café's atmosphere saying, “Everyone there appeared 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."

Lambert's grew in popularity as Norman started passing out pies, telling jokes, and performing magic tricks for his customers. He treated everyone equally, including people in wheelchairs. Norman said, "If you bring your own chair…you eat free." On a particularly busy day, Norman was walking around handing out rolls, and he couldn't get through the crowd. A customer yelled to him "Throw the damn thing!", and that's when the tradition started. The ONLY HOME OF THROWED ROLLS was born.