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Walnut Street Inn Presents: Dinner with Mary

December 28, 2023

Sophia Loren was once quoted as saying, “everything I have, I owe to spaghetti.” While in no way would I dare to compare myself to that wonderful, iconic woman, I can relate. Since I became the owner of an Italian restaurant, I can truthfully say everything I have, I owe to spaghetti—or pasta of some sort.

Spaghetti is the ultimate comfort food. I have noticed when I’m feeling sort of empty, literally as well as figuratively, I instinctively end up in the kitchen putting together a big batch of spaghetti. It just makes me feel better.

We have some pretty mean weather ahead of us, so what we need to do to lift our spirits is get together and eat some pasta at the Walnut Street Inn. Our chef, John Clayton, and I have put together a five-course dinner featuring Spinach Lasagna Bolognaise as the main course. We will be making, by hand, fresh spinach pasta layered with a rich tomato and meat sauce. Our Bolognaise wil begin with finely chopped guanciale, a pork jowl bacon I prefer over pancetta because it is not heavily spiced-it simply deepens the flavor. Ground chuck is the base, followed by all the basics of a good marina. The spinach and bolognaise will be layered with a rich, creamy Mornay sauce.

For starters, there will be loaves of fresh baked bread, and antipasto plates, followed by a brothy, tomato and fennel tinged cioppino featuring the freshest seafood we can get from our vendors. These courses will be accompanied by one of our favorite wines from Bambino’s, Alois Lageder Terra Alpina Pinot Grigio. This wine is surprisingly medium bodied with ripe fruit flavors and a lingering flavor of white pepper. Along with our lasagna we will offer a glass of Fantini Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. This is a full- bodied red wine with good balance.

To clear our palates, our salad course comes next. Alight mix of crunchy lettuces dressed with olive oil and lemon wil lead our way into the dessert course. Traditionally an Italian dinner would end with fruit. Ours will be a combination of the best available in season along with some light cheeses and a bit of olive oil cake. Our dessert wine is a Becchia Modena, Cleto Chiarli, a light and delicate lambrusco, a beautifully dry sparkler

I recently told a grandson, now in high school, that sometimes we need to step outside of what’s happening in our lives and imagine that we’re in a scene from a movie. It helps. One of my favorite all-time movies is “Big Night” starring Tony Shaloub and Stanley Tucci. They create a menu as authentic and elaborate as possible in an effort to save their Italian restaurant. That dinner, that big night, did not save the restaurant, but it was such a great party, and the brothers came together in a cathartic and healing moment. That is not to say that our dinner will have that result for us, but hey.

Dinner With Mary Event Details

Taking place on January 26th at 7:00pm, Dinner with Mary will feature a five-course meal, carefully curated to tantalize your taste buds. The menu includes an antipasto of olives and fresh vegetables, served with freshly baked Italian bread, a seafood cioppino, homemade spinach lasagna Bolognaise, a fresh salad, and a dessert of fruits and cheeses. Each course is designed to take you on a culinary journey, celebrating the richness and diversity of flavors.

Tickets for this exclusive event are priced at $75.00 per person plus tax, and can be purchased over the phone (417) 864-6346. The innkeepers will process your payment upon request for a reservation. Please note that the maximum number of guests per night is 30, ensuring an intimate and personalized experience for all attendees.

Book Your Experience

Spaces are limited for this special event, so we encourage you to book early to secure your spot. This is more than just a dinner; it’s an opportunity to create lasting memories over a meal that’s been thoughtfully put together just for you.

So, mark your calendars and join us for an evening of fine dining and camaraderie. We look forward to welcoming you to the Walnut Street Inn for Dinner with Mary.