The Grotto resides in historic building

T.J. Gerlach

Fine dining is not always found in big cities.

Such is the case with The Grotto Espresso Café in Neosho.

The Grotto, in its third year of operation, was opened by Vickie Boyt and her husband Art.

The building housing the restaurant is on the Historic Register and the Boyts chose to renovate the building according to the “historic guidelines.” The restaurant sits in the basement of the building with a gift shop above and a courtyard behind the building.

“Customers seem to like the atmosphere,” said Vickie Boyt. “We really wanted to provide a place that would promote lingering conversations. We don’t rush people through.”

Joplin resident, Ruth Mattes said, “The atmosphere is charming and the food is delicious.”

The Grotto started as a deli and espresso café, but Boyt had always wanted to do dinners. The menu has approximately 15 entrees, mostly Italian, but a few other options such as a 8-ounce filet cooked in a red wine sauce.

Boyt said almost everything, including the desserts, are made in-house.

“Creme Bruleé has become sort of our speciality,” she said. “I’d say the steak, our Alfredo sauce and the Creme Bruleé are the things people mention a lot.”

She also said for a small restaurant, The Grotto has a “nice size” wine list with about 40 wines.

The Grotto’s regular customers come from a 40-mile radius with customers from Monett, Webb City, many from Joplin and some from Bella Vista, Ark.

“We get that because we’re unique,” Boyt said.

Mattes learned about The Grotto from a friend and advertisements.

The two friends decided to make reservations and meet some other friends for dinner at The Grotto.

“I think we’ll be back,” she said. “The company is delightful.”

The Grotto has 11 tables, with more in the courtyard during the summer.

“We recommend reservations, especially on Friday and Saturday,” Boyt said.

The restaurant is located at 127 E. Main St. in Neosho on the square. It is open from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

For information or to make a reservation, persons may call The Grotto at 417-451-7979.