Top Ten Places to Eat in the Ozarks Part 3

Disclosure:  Some of these restaurants are chain establishments, but were so good I had to add them to this list.  I’m always looking for great places to eat with my husband and grown children, as well as good places to hang out with coworkers and friends.  Check out my Instagram page at htdto2020 for other restaurants I’ve visited recently.

  •  Bellacino’s-a chain restaurant that serves pizzas, grinders and other Italian fare.  Two locations in Springfield Mo-one at 2856 S. Glenstone and 4560 S. Campbell.  They have lots of different options but I really liked the blackened chicken grinder.  The portions were big and that matters to me when I’m spending $14 average for a 9” sandwich.  I was able to take half home for lunch the next day.   Most of the time during my visit, the servers were attentive and quick, though I did notice that there was some confusion about who was supposed to be covering one of the tables. 
  • Bambino’s Café is another Italian favorite of mine and has been a Springfield institution for many years.  They also have two locations, one at 1141 E. Delmar in the heart of MSU territory and one at 2810 E. Battlefield at Lone Pine.  Wine, bread with oil and garlic, pasta, salads and pizza make this a first choice Italian restaurant for me.  They are always willing to support local schools with fundraisers and I love going for that reason as well.
Bambino’s at Delmar in the heart of MSU country Springfield Mo
  • Pampas Empanadas is a newcomer to Springfield at 3302 S. National Ste. F, tucked back on the northeast corner of the strip mall.  I have never had an empanada before, but one of my coworkers recommended them especially the Nutella® empanada.  Reminiscent of a pasty, empanadas are smaller and generally filled with meat but can be sweet as well.  I had the chorizo, carnitas and Cuban and they were all phenomenal-again with leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • First Watch-again a chain restaurant with excellent food and service.  I have eaten at both locations-2946 S. National and 3103 E. Sunshine in Springfield.  This is a breakfast, brunch, lunch restaurant which opens at 7:00 a.m. and closes at 2:30 p.m. each day so make sure you get there early in the day.  I had the multigrain pancakes and Morning Meditation from the juice bar.  It was heavenly.  The last time I was there I sat at the bar as I was alone and the service was very quick and attentive.
Morning Meditation at First Watch on E. Sunshine Springfield MO
  • Daisy Queen outside Jasper Arkansas on Hwy 7 located at 8999 AR-7 Harrison Arkansas.  For an old time burger joint feel, delicious burgers and fries this is the place to check out when you are down in Arkansas riding the Pig Trail, which is a scenic drive in the Natural State worth checking out.   The kids and I ordered the strawberry sundae with 3 spoons and after eating our burgers still couldn’t finish the ice cream.
Daisy Queen outside Jasper Arkansas on Hwy 7
  • Hot Cluckers is located at 4406 S. Campbell in Springfield Mo.  This Nashville Hot Chicken restaurant in South Springfield also serves catfish and is worth the trip.  Make sure you check the heat list which features Nancy, 1 Cluck, 2 Cluck, Hot Mother Clucker and Shut the Cluck Up!  I have been able to handle the 1 cluck, but can go no higher! 2 Clucks is too hot for this girl.  Their chicken strips are big and meaty and their smoked Gouda mac and cheese is so yummy!
  • W.F. Cody’s at 3138 E. Sunshine in Springfield has some of the best bar food in town.  Excellent burgers, piles of fried mushrooms with ranch, and beer!  Whether for lunch or dinner, this joint wins my vote every time for best burger.
Bar food and the best burger in town at W.F. Cody’s on East Sunshine
  • Mr. Ed’s Drive In-at 3192 US-65 Urbana Mo is a lake or race day staple.  Located east of Pomme de Terre Lake at NN and Hwy 65, this is the place for ice cream, curly Q fries and a fresh made to order burger.  Order at the walk up window or have a seat in the small dining room.  You won’t regret it.
You can’t beat Mr. Ed’s after a long day at the lake!
  • Early Bird Breakfast Pub located at 1717 E. Cherokee off Glenstone in Springfield Mo opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.  Sunday they open at 9 a.m. and close at 3 p.m. so make sure you time your visit wisely.  Home of the best sweet potato tater tots I’ve ever had, a full bar for breakfast and lunch with a stout coffee my son loves and a great breakfast/lunch menu this is a must try next time you’re in the mood for breakfast and an adult beverage.
Early Bird offers great food with a full bar for breakfast, lunch and brunch
  • Longhorn Steakhouse-at 3121 S. Glenstone Ave in Springfield Mo is another chain restaurant I am recommending due to the fact that the staff was phenomenal, the food was great and reasonably priced.  I had a $50 gift card which made it even better and was able to eat dinner there twice in one week and still tip the wait staff.  The Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Salad was absolutely one of the best salad’s I’ve ever had in a restaurant and this was without dressing.

Eating out right now can be an expensive proposition.  I agonized over this list because I wanted to give you the best I’ve had over the last 8 months or so, but still protect your wallet.  The places I’m recommending this time around generally serve enough food to make 2 meals and right now that matters.  With most restaurant tabs costing between $17 and $28 for one person including tip, value and quality are high on my list as far as the food served goes.  So get out there my friends, the world has opened back up.

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