Imagine with me that a friend in 1942 told you “Hey, I want to start a diner in the town of Sikeston, Missouri.” You might respond by asking a few questions, like “where is Sikeston,” and “how does that possibly sound like a good idea?”
Imagine now that your friend said “it is on a lonely stretch of highway north of the Oklahoma border,” and “because I expect that Elvis Presley, Jay Leno and Morgan Freeman will visit it.” Ignore for a moment the anachronism that your friend in 1942 would have little knowledge of Elvis Presley (who would have been 7 years old,) much less Morgan Freeman or Jay Leno. You would likely tell your friend “you are insane. Stop it.”
And you would be wrong.
In 1942, the Lambert family opened Lambert’s Café in Sikeston, Missouri. In 1976, Norman Lambert threw the first roll at a waving guest across the crowded restaurant, launching (no pun intended) the “throwed rolls” for which Lambert’s is now world famous, as proved by the all-star guest list including the three above and many more.
To be clear, Lamberts is not just a diner with rolls flying across the room. It is also a very well-managed restaurant with a focus on creating an overall remarkable experience for guests.
The point is that, while the obvious answer to “let’s build a diner on a lonely highway in Missouri” would be “no,” it’s not always about the location, or even the concept of a diner. It’s about the power of a family and team determined to create something remarkable, and the effort the world will go through to find them when they do.