By Christine A. Holliday
Eddie Lee’s Restaurant will celebrate its 35th birthday in June, but it’s a sure bet co-owner Willie Lee won’t be making many changes to the family-owned business. He is proud to call his restaurant a “traditional, old-school kind of place,” and likens it to TV’s Cheers. “Many of our customers have come here for years, and we greet them by name. They appreciate the idea of having a full meal and being served by experienced waitresses, three of whom have been here since the day we opened,” he said.
The varied menu includes the house specialty, prime rib, as well as several seafood choices including broiled or deep fried scallops, jumbo Gulf shrimp, lobster tails, salmon, or scampi. Chicken breasts come cooked in bourbon or teriyaki sauces, and beef dishes are also available. Dinner includes a fresh salad and choice of potato, and the bread baskets are kept full. Appetizers (marinated herring, escargot, French onion soup or fried onion rings, mushrooms or tomatoes) whet the appetite for the dinners, and desserts (fudge cake, lemon cake or cheesecake) round off a satisfying meal. Diners with smaller appetites might want to enjoy a sandwich or you can watch TV in the bar, tucked away in a quiet spot at the back of the restaurant.
An upstairs banquet room holds up to 100, the perfect venue for holiday parties or office get-togethers where as few as 25 guests can order from a limited menu with full bar service (and no additional room charge). A smaller room on the main level is perfect for gatherings like rehearsal dinners or family celebrations, and waitresses can make room for special party groups in the main dining room during slow periods.
Lee described the restaurant, started by his father (after he ran the Colony Restaurant for many years), as a destination restaurant.
“We aren’t out there on the main street. [Customers] have to plan to come to eat here, and we are blessed to have many long-time customers. We’re not a book with a flashy cover, but we have a great story to tell. The story is and always has been the food. My brothers and I are in the kitchen, so we know about the food we prepare and serve. I personally filet and V-cut every piece of fish we serve, too, so I can answer any question a guest might ask,” he explained.
Eddie Lee’s is located at 4700 Nantucket near Monroe St. Hours are 4:30-9pm Monday-Thursday, 4-9:30pm Friday & Saturday 4-9:30, and Sundays noon-8 pm. Reservations recommended for large groups. 419-882-0616, facebook.com/pages/Eddie-Lee