Rural Missouri - August 2018 - 15
Above: The blackened ﬁsh tacos are served with jalapeno cabbage, Parmesan and chipotle tartar sauce. Above right: The Depot's pork chop sandwich features a pair of pork medallions on
a brioche bun with provolone and a mustard-mayo sauce. Bottom: Dinner at The Depot starts with an order of the Cajun stuffed mushrooms served with bread and a cream sauce.
by Paul Newton | email@example.com
photos by Libby Moeller
soups, such as vegetable beef, beer cheese, gumbo and gazpacho in the summer ﬁnd their way to the board of specials for hungry customers.
Popular specials oftentimes ascend to the full menu, and that was the case
t didn't take long for Gary Turner to make the decision. He spent his career with the boneless pork chop sandwich. A pair of hand-cut pork medallions are
working for corporate restaurants in St. Louis and wanted to open a small coated in olive oil and sprinkled with Cajun seasoning before being cooked to
cafe when he "retired." After searching for a location to rent in Frederick- perfection on the ﬂat top. The medallions are shingled on a brioche bun, topped
town, the old train depot on the north side of the Madison County seat came with provolone and served with a coarse ground mustard-mayo sauce.
"It's a very juicy sandwich," Gary says. "Not sloppy, just ﬂavorful. We have
up for sale. "I walked into the building for the ﬁrst time and looked around the
great breads that make our sandwiches stand out. We take good products and
room and said, 'this is it.' I left and went straight to the bank."
Gary and his partner, Ken Connelly, breathed new life into the 1917 building cook them well."
Other popular items on the sandwich menu include the Double Cheddar
and in early 2016 opened The Depot Cafe. With a focus on fresh and ﬂavorful
cuisine, customers enjoy an ever-expanding menu which includes mouthwa- Grilled Cheese, hamburger and blackened ﬁsh tacos which are a Cajun-spice
tering appetizers, more than a dozen sandwiches, creative entrees and home- blackened whiteﬁsh wrapped in a ﬂour tortilla with jalapeno cabbage and Parmesan cheese served with chipotle tartar sauce.
made soups and desserts.
Dinner is served after 4 p.m. and at Sunday lunch, and most entrees come
"The commitment from the beginning was two things: great food and great
with a vegetable, potato and the choice of a soup or salad.
service," Gary says. "Concentrate on that and you'll have a great restaurant."
The Depot Sirloin pays homage to the rail service that originated from
Gary and Ken closed on the 1,600-square-foot depot and
the building until 1972 and is another special that graduated to the full
transformed the space into a restaurant in just four months.
menu. Gary cuts a pocket into an 8-ounce top sirloin and ﬁlls it with garThe dining room seats 70 and is ﬁlled with natural light from
lic butter. It's seared to perfection on the charbroiler and topped with
the windows that used to let passengers know their ride had
Swiss cheese and a cracked black pepper gravy.
ood at The Depot is unique and the eclectic menu will have you
" deﬁnitely has a predominant ﬂavor," Gary says. "You're going
to taste this extraordinarily tender steak and it's going to have a
returning time after time. "We're a foodie place," Gary says. "If you're
strong bite to it because of the cracked black pepper. If you like
a foodie person, you'll like our restaurant."
highly seasoned food, you're going to like this."
ary says he uses his restaurant history - which goes back to
If you've saved room for dessert, you're in for a treat. All
being a 17-year-old pizza cook - to create the recipes that feed his
the desserts are made in-house at The Depot. There are up to
customers. "When I write recipes, it's usually because I'm looking for
ﬁve desserts available at a time with three - carrot cake, triple
a ﬂavor," the Black River Electric Cooperative member says. "I guess
chocolate cheesecake and bread pudding with a spiced rum sauce
I work backwards. I taste it the entire time and probably have a dozen spoons
- usually served year round. Other dessert options can vary from zucchini
in front of me."
Meals at The Depot start with an appetizer. While there are many options bread with blueberries to sweet potato pecan pie to an Italian torte with fresh
from chili nachos to hummus with nan, an Indian ﬂatbread, the Cajun stuffed blueberries. "I don't have a set schedule," Gary says. "It's kind of what I'm in
mushrooms are a must try. Onions, red peppers, andouille sausage and gar- the mood for."
Lunch at The Depot is usually full of customers who live and work in Fredlic are ﬁnely chopped and sauteed before being mixed with cream cheese and
bread crumbs. The mixture is then stuffed inside blanched mushroom caps, ericktown with more diners visiting from across southeast Missouri for dinner.
"I knew that we had to be a destination for the restaurant to survive," Gary
topped with Parmesan cheese and served hot with a Cajun cream sauce and
says. "We have to attract people from all over."
Gary and Ken have been attracting those customers to The Depot with their
Other great pre-meal options include the various soup offerings made by
Gary in The Depot kitchen or a salad with housemade dressing. "Soups in delicious food. However, Gary says it's about more than the food to him.
"It's building relationships with our guests," he says. "We're friends with so
particular are one of our specialties," Gary says. "People know to come here
many people here. I've never worked in a restaurant where you get a hug from
because they can always ﬁnd something different."
Marquand Country Stew and The Depot Chili are menu mainstays. Other a guest before."
The Depot Cafe
Specialties: Cajun stuffed mushrooms, homemade soups and stews and fresh salads. Blackened
ﬁsh tacos, boneless pork chop sandwich and double cheddar grilled cheese at lunch. Dinners
include Cajun meatloaf, a variety of Angus steaks and Boxcar Shrimp. Homemade desserts.
Price: Appetizers from $6.75 to $11. Sandwiches from $6.50 to $9.25. Entrees from $12 to $30.
Details: Open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Monday.
Directions: Located at 406 Villar St. in Fredericktown.
Contact: 573-561-1333 and on Facebook.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - August 2018
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - Intro
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - Contents
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - 4
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - 5
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Rural Missouri - August 2018 - Cover3
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