I did not like my food at Lantern House.
When I walked into the big stand-alone (and apparently old) restaurant, I was greeted by George. He’s the owner. He was friendly and chatty. I told him that I needed to take my lunch to go. He recommended the “General Lee’s Chicken” over everything on the menu. I ordered it and was a little stung by the $10.95 bill.
From my seat at the bar I could see that there was a bedroom area in the back room. Do they live here?
The chicken was dry, stringy, chewy and all of the other bad adjectives that often describe “General _______’s” dishes. I gave it 6 out of 31. I even got a kind-hearted, discreet DM on twitter warning that the food may not be good.
The conversation, however, was fascinating. I’ve been thinking about this restaurant and its owner all day. George makes giants.
While I was over-paying for my chicken, he asked me what I did for a living. Suddenly we were talking about his kids. George has 3 grown children. They are all Doctors (1 PhD, 2 M.D.). During my 10 minute wait, George showed me two printed articles (including this New York Times article) about his children. He also pointed out his son’s diploma from Carnegie Mellon University – which is hanging over the bar. Here’s Johnny’s profile on Ted.com (I’m honestly impressed).
For my taste, there is something wrong with the way George does chicken. But he’s obviously doing something right. His kids are kind of a big deal. They seem to be making positive contributions to the world in larger-than-average proportions. Maybe the less-than-pretty restaurant and hard-on-the palette food are simply two ingredients in a recipe that’s perfect for changing the world. How dramatic is that? What the heck was in that chicken?
I’m trying to think of a way to hang out around the Lantern House without having to eat the food.
Lantern House is at 7430 Brook Rd. in Richmond.