Shane Fields draws upon his experience cooking for U.S. Navy officers, as well as family-reunion tested recipes, as he and his partners build their business at the new Lamp Post in downtown Ashland.
“To us, eating is not just eating ... it’s a moment ... an experience,” said Fields, who explained he is one of three partners who teamed to buy the former Katie’s Corner Café at the corner of Greenup Avenue and 16th Street and transform it into a place where friends and family feel comfortable and well fed.
“We want this to be a place where family and friends can come in for a good-quality meal in an environment where you don’t have to eat and run. You can if you want to, but we want you to feel comfortable to sit and talk for two hours after you are done eating,” Fields said, noting the business offers a Wi-Fi connection for customers before pointing out a multigeneration family group enjoying dinner at a table with a view of Greenup Avenue.
“That’s what it’s all about. We are happy to slide tables together for groups that want to come, such as after church.”
Fields, a 1996 graduate of Russell High School, said the team decided to keep its breakfast and lunch menus similar to that of Katie’s Corner, although it hopes to earn a reputation for the dinners.
“For dinner, we will focus on things like our smoked meatloaf, ribs and steak,” he said, later adding the smoked meatloaf is a signature entree first introduced at a family-reunion dinner and unlikely to be found on anyone else’s menu.
“That’s going to be something that hasn’t been here in a while — a good dinner. Our meat is not frozen and we don’t have precut meat. We buy it all fresh from Logan’s. When you look at a full rack of ribs for $19.93 ... that’s a little bit more expensive than most people are used to here, but you are getting ribs that you can eat with a spoon.
“We want to keep costs low,” Fields said. “This will be a place where you can spend $4 for a good breakfast, or have an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink dinner for about $20.”
Customers will find favorites on the menu, and the Lamp Post also offers new choices, including cashew-and-carrot quiche for breakfast, or a Kentucky Cobb Club sandwich for lunch.
The café is still under development, Fields said, explaining he has been delivering menus to downtown offices and they have already begun delivering lunch to nearby companies. The bar adjacent to the main dining room will be removed to allow space for meetings, parties and overflow crowds, and the owners are looking for big pictures of old Ashland to hang on the walls.
“You won’t leave here hungry,” Fields said, laughing as he patted his belly and explained his family is a big believer in feeding its guests well. Fields said he encourages diners to give honest feedback about the meals, noting the fried-apple formula was changed in response to customer preferences.
“My livelihood depends on you liking your food and coming back with friends. I want to know what you think,” he said. “Ashland has a great history and we want to become a part of that.”
The Lamp Post is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information or to place an order, call (606) 325-5283.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at email@example.com.