A search of hotel billboards while driving along the interstate highways of the American Midwest turns up familiar brands, but I saw one I hadn’t yet experienced when it was time to stop one night last fall: Baymont Inn & Suites Springfield South Hwy 65, 3343 East Battlefield Street, Springfield, Missouri.
The initial lure wasn’t so much the brand (it’s one of 20 that comprise Wyndham Hotels & Resorts) but its location. I’d seen the billboards for years for Lambert’s Café — home of the “throwed rolls”. An intriguing premise to be sure (were the dinner rolls really thrown?). But, it was nearly dinner time and, heck, I could try both Baymont and Lambert’s here.
Baymont Inn & Suites has more than 540 properties in the U.S., so I knew I wasn’t checking into a unique property — in fact, there are two in Springfield — but the hotel hit all the markers of a great roadside choice (it’s categorized as a “mid-scale” brand on Wyndham’s website).
I welcomed the cookie offered at check-in (interstate driving is definitely hunger-producing probably because — most of the time — it’s so boring). Of course there was free WiFi (a requirement these days to be sure), and a hot breakfast each morning. I also was pleased to discover a coffee maker, microwave and mini refrigerator in my room. That’s because I suspected I’d come back to my room with leftovers from Lambert’s (and I was right).
There was an indoor pool in a space with huge windows on three sides, a whirlpool, a fitness center, and a business center at the ready, but my mind was picturing “throwed rolls”. I dumped my luggage and my laptop in my second-floor room, and got back into the car. It was a quick drive south to Lambert’s Café in Ozark, Missouri (one of two locations in the Show-Me State). Evidently Sunday evening is a “slow” night for this enormous eatery, because there was no line at the door (Lambert’s locations don’t take reservations). Once upon a time, they only accepted cash but when I was there this fall, they’d started accepting credit cards.
Yes, I did notice the rolls being thrown (it’s hard not to). Lambert’s staff does toss ’em (one at a time) to customers, often from across the room. Yes, sometimes the rolls end up on the floor. They’ll just keep throwing ’em ’til you catch one. The menu skews “southern”, so of course I had the fried chicken. And of course there was so much I took a piece back to my room to stash in that handy fridge ’til the midnight munchies hit.
Housekeeping note: if you’re snacking on leftover fried chicken while working on your laptop back in your hotel room, be certain to have a damp washcloth handy so you don’t end up with grease all over the keyboard. Just saying…
The bed was comfy, the room was quiet and I fell asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow. The next morning, I was ready for breakfast. Oatmeal hit the spot. I filled up my travel mug with coffee and hit the road again.
You can make a reservation on the hotel’s website, or via one of the usual hotel booking sites such as Travelocity. (And, yes, that’s my dinner, below, complete with peaches, mashed potatoes and gravy).
(Photos by Susan McKee)