The Lemp Mansion is supposedly one of the most haunted places in America.
According to the Lemp Mansion’s official website, it was built in the early 1860’s and functioned as the Lemp family’s home and brewery office. The family built a brewing empire that declined with when the Prohibition hit. In 1922, their brewery that used to be valued at 7 million sold for half a million.
You’ll find the Lemp family’s history includes much sorrow, unexpected death, and four suicides (three taking place in the mansion). The mansion is big, old, and beautiful, and tragedy occurred within its walls. I suppose this is why they say it’s haunted.
Today, the mansion functions as a hotel and restaurant. Despite the morbid events that have taken place and tales of haunting, it appears to be a popular wedding venue.
Visitors can attend special events like trivia night, comedy-mystery dinners, and holiday meals. Enjoy a drink at the bar or visit for lunch or dinner. The upstairs is off-limits unless you are a hotel guest or ticket-holder to a special event or tour. The Thursday evening Lemp Experiences advertise a spooky experience involving cocktails, appetizers, and infrared cameras for chasing ghosts . I read this woman’s blog post about embarking on a paid tour and decided that my $35 was better spent eating fried chicken.
The Lemp fried chicken is no ordinary fried chicken. It’s only-on-Sundays, haunted mansion fried chicken. For the mere price of $17.95, guests can enjoy a huge pan-pan fried chicken meal with roast beef, pineapple ham, and every imaginable side and fixing. This Sunday dinner is served family-style and you can have as much of anything as you’d like.
On Father’s Day, even for a very early dinner, the restaurant was doing brisk service. The interior is as grand as you might expect. The walls are ornate and colorful, the dining area opens into many rooms, and the ceilings are tall.
Even though Jake and I showed up as a small party of two, we were warmly welcomed and seated at a small table. Our server explained that on Sundays, the menu for the day is the fried chicken dinner. He returned shortly with our beverages. We took in our surroundings and watched as servers in suits carried big trays loaded with fried chicken feasts to tables.
Then ours arrived.
We watched as fried chicken, ham, roast beef, corn, mashed potatoes and milk gravy, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, green beans, biscuits, fruit salad, cinnamon apples, and sweet pickles appeared before us. “The green beans are my favorite,” our server added. You can actually find the recipe here.
Fried chicken reigned supreme. We started here and it was the only item we asked for one more taste of. The chicken arrived fresh from the fryer. It was so hot that we had to wait several minutes for the chicken to cool down. The breading was crunchy and flavorful and the meat was moist and tender. Each bite contained crunchy fried bits, juicy meat, and and melting fat. This chicken is beyond reproach.
The rest of the dishes were noteworthy, too. With this many dishes and this many people, I assumed the restaurant would phone some of the dishes in. But no. Everything tasted homemade. The mac and cheese was good. Really, really good. And the small biscuits were fluffy and slightly sweet. Even the cinnamon apples. I expected them to taste like that overly sweet, ordinary apple sauce, but found they tasted tart and bracingly cinnamony.
We imagined that every dish came straight from someone’s grandma’s kitchen.
One thing to note is that you can’t take home your leftovers. This is a good incentive to only order extras of what you can eat. On the way out, we browsed the small gift shop. I burst out laughing as we passed a loaded dessert tray and couldn’t imagine any scenario where one could leave room.
We didn’t know what to expect from the Lemp Sunday dinner and felt blown away by the friendly service and quality of food. St. Louis is a city full of incredible chefs and meals around every corner. Even so, this dinner ranks at the top of our most favorites, thus far, here in St. Louis and possibly ever.
I’ll leave the ghosties and EVP records and dowsing rods to the paranormal professionals and stick to what the living do better: Fried chicken.
My other posts about exploring supposedly haunted places: