A couple of guys from New York City want to open their own restaurant. Where do they look? Manhattan? Brooklyn? Staten Island? Really, Staten Island?
The cost of rent for a small space in NYC would run more than $10,000 a month. Then, there’s the staff, food, etc.
Instead, why not check out St. Joseph, Missouri. Huh? Well, Chef Jeff and James Pallone did just that.
They moved to St. Joseph 12 years ago with the plan to open their own restaurant.
The duo bought a Victorian house – the JC Wyatt house, to be specific – and turned it into a fine dining restaurant and occasional home tour. The restaurant has been in business for about six years.
The JC Wyatt House offers some of the finest dining I’ve ever experienced.
We were fortunate that we had an opportunity to sample the menu – three appetizers, three samples of entrees and three desserts. I had no plans to check the scale the next day.
The restaurant serves both lunch and dinner. Each meal comes with three courses. The lunch entrée will be a specially made sandwich.
The appetizer samples were a goat cheese pizza slice with a date sauce. Yum! I’m not a fan of goat cheese, but that pizza was delightful.
A strawberry lettuce salad with raspberry vinaigrette was next. I like salads, but I loved this one.
A mozzarella and tomato salad with pesto was next. Two slices of cheese in-between slices of fresh tomatoes. My tongue is salivating as I write this.
We had three entrée samples – a grilled salmon atop a black bean and pineapple salsa, petite filet mignon and a loin lamb chop. Our entrée sample included a serving of seasoned potatoes and vegetables. I’m not a fish fan, but I tried two bites of the salmon before asking Lisa to finish it. She happily ate both her portion and the rest of mine.
I told Chef Jeff that the word “delicious” is an understatement in describing the meal.
For dessert, we had a chocolate truffle, lemon cupcake and strawberry shortcake. Each item was delectable. The truffle had just the right amount of warmth to it.
The menu is made fresh daily, Chef Jeff said. The restaurant requires reservations, because the chef prepares his menu based on the reservations.
He feels bad having to turn someone away, but he doesn’t want to resort to using frozen or canned foods for the menu.
The restaurant is busy most of the time. Holiday seasons create unique menus and decorations.
For Halloween, they have used old dead trees as décor, witch hats, and other ideas.
The theme for this year may be a séance.
“We need to figure out how to make a table levitate,” Chef laughed.
For the Christmas season, the house’s main floor has a decorated tree in each room. Plus, each room is specially decorated.
The house tours were part of the original plan, James said. But, without operating as a bed and breakfast, they realized there was not a large market for house tours. They will conduct a tour if requested.
The Wyatt house’ original owner was a part of the Townsend-Wyatt mercantile partnership. The store sold household wares to pioneers moving west.
We received a tour of the first floor. The owners have their living quarters upstairs.
The house maintains a Victorian appearance.
They strive to ensure the pieces on display are from the era of the house, which was built in 1891, James said.
The dining room has a collection of napkin holders, dating back to the Victorian era.
A shelf contains several sets of napkin holders. Each set include a salt container, napkin holder and pepper shaker.
Each member of a family was assigned a personal napkin holder set in the day, James said. It would often match the personality of the person, he added.
Besides running the JC Wyatt House, the owners are St. Joe cheerleaders. They’ll share the pros of visiting the city and area.
For instance, they said, Aunt Jemima pancakes were invented in St. Joe. Saltine crackers originated in the Pony Express city. Even the fire pole used in fire houses came from St. Joe. The city even has a fire department museum.
Whether, in the mood for a dynamite meal or a tour back into the Victorian era, the folks at the JC Wyatt House can set you up. Just call ahead 48 hours. You will be happy you did.
For more information on the JC Wyatt House or its menu, please visit www.jcwyatt.net.
Disclaimer: Thanks to the St. Joseph Visitors Bureau and the JC Wyatt House for the complimentary meals. However, all opinions and views are ours.