In my move to Atlanta, I seemed to have lost my notes for my write-up of this place. But here's what I do remember.
Steaming Tender is located in an old rail-road station in Palmer, MA and the owners really ran with this historical and train theme to its fullest. Pictured below, there's also an old stage coach store in front of the main door.
The name refers to the 1915 Port Steam engine train and its tender (coal car), that it has its premises.
And they also have a older passenger car sitting on blocks. It was lit at night and had a sign for all you can eat breakfast. As cool as it would be, I'm not sure if people would actually eat inside the car for the breakfast.
Just as an fyi, the rail tracks are still in use today. When we were seated, a train was passing by and it surprisingly did not have much of an effect on diners, either from a sound or vibration stand-point.
Finally the inside had this tall dark wood, arched ceiling, I'm guessing where the old waiting room (or pub judging by this picture?) was positioned.
They still had the ticket counter, which I think was used for a hostess or coat room (?). And they had various vintage photographs, suitcases and objects in and around the place. I'm not much of a train enthusiast or history buff, but looking back, it was a somewhat unique experience, getting to see everything.
As for the food, well, here's what I remember.
Our Award Winning "Secret Recipe" Chili - This one puzzled me a bit, in that there was a sort of slightly darker, yet smoothly sweet and annoyingly familiar taste to this. In the end, my guess on it was a soda (root beer perhaps?), but I'll never really know for sure. I'm not quite sure I was a fan of this per se, since I think my ideal chili would be one that made use of the more complex flavors available in chili peppers. But certainly, it was interesting to try to figure out what the mystery flavor was. Oh yeah, and for an appetizer, this was a huge portion, especially considering there was so much ground beef in it. I was almost full by the time my entree rolled around.
I'm completely blanking on what type of soup this was and my impressions.
The Sampler - Buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, fried jalapenos, Potato skins. The wings, jalapenos and mozz sticks were ok, nothing particularly exciting, but not terrible. The fried jalapenos were surprisingly not spicy at all, yet retained that distinctive jalapeno flavor. I think the big disappointment was the potato skins, which just came off as a bit dry and as if they have been waiting around for a touch too long.
4-Piece Honey Sweet Chicken - Of all of the dishes, I liked this one the most. Freshly deep-fried, not overly oily and tender, juicy chicken. The fries also were freshly-fried. Not mind-blowing, but satisfying.
1/2 Roast Duck - I'm pretty sure this was the duck and I want to say that I found this to be on the dry side. Not really remembering much else.
Steaming Tenderloin - I think this is what my brother got and I simply don't remember this at all.
I will note that they did serve Berkshire Brewing Company ales on tap, to keep in line with the train theme. My brother ordered the Steel Rail Extra Pail Ale and I got the Station Ale (Deep Copper color, Caramel/Malt Flavor) and we did enjoy them.
Without seeing my notes, it's hard to really fairly say anything about this place, except:
1) Go if you like trains.
2) Go if you're intrigued by the setting.
3) The fried chicken and the ales on tap were decent.
Sorry, wish I could have remembered more or that I could find my notes.
28 Depot St Palmer, MA 01069 (Map)