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.

Christy’s Top Places to Eat in the Ozarks Part II

Excellent menu, delicious burgers and sandwiches.
Worth a stop any time in the Eastern Ozarks-Cattlemen’s Steakhouse LLC

Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, LLC (417)252-2117 1208 E Main off Hwy 60 in Willow Springs Mo is worth the stop.  Friendly staff, great food and the best leftover containers I’ve ever received from a restaurant.  The Reuben was delicious and so big I had to take half home, same with the burger my husband had.  Their happy hour looks fun with drinks like Stump Water, High Faultin, and Rattlesnake Rita; I recommend taking a look if you are ever in the Eastern Ozarks.  They also have a location in Mountain Grove on the square. 

Plenty of space in Curly Que BBQ in Bolivar

Curly Que BBQ, 507 E. Maupin Bolivar Mo (417)777-0004 curlyquecatering.com  is tucked back down a small hill off Springfield Ave as you travel through Bolivar.  They offer catering and are very popular for their ribs.  If you want a side or two of ribs, it’s recommended you call ahead and pre order.  The staff is super friendly and the restaurant is clean and well decorated.  I love, love, love coleslaw on my BBQ sandwiches and theirs was tasty with my pulled pork sandwich with drink for only $8 (prices subject to change).

Pre order your ribs!!! They sell out fast!!!

Donut Palace 1022 W. US Hwy 54 Camdenton Mo (573)346-8377 was a short, unplanned drive thru stop as my husband and I headed to Eldon Mo.  They had a great selection of donuts and breakfast sandwiches.  One of my friends really likes the biscuits and gravy they serve at their Buffalo location at 204 N. Ash St.  Worth a stop if you’re headed up to any of our famous lakes for the day.

Delicious desserts and daily specials at Market House Café and Bake Shop!

Market House Café and Bake Shop 113 N. 2nd St. Ozark Mo (417)551-4370 is a cute breakfast and lunch café located on the square in Ozark.  Their cake was awesome and their dessert case looked even better.  They don’t have a website that I could access but their Facebook page was informative especially with their hours of operation.  If you are headed down to Branson, check this place out before 2 p.m.

Italian cream cake and fresh ice tea

Lindbergs 318 W. Commercial Springfield Mo (417)868-8900 www.lindbergsbar.com has an excellent bar food menu.  The oldest tavern in Springfield boasts a beautiful original oak and mahogany carved bar.  There are lots of stories about Lindberg’s as it has been around for a long time.  Try the Patty Melt with the special sauce for the fries.  You won’t be disappointed.  Lindberg’s does have a very active music scene if you are looking for more than food, check out their website for the weekly entertainment.  There is a cover charge on some nights and that will be posted as well.

The oldest bar in Springfield Mo-check out the history information on the walls and website.

Amore Pizza Kitchen 5492 Hwy H Pleasant Hope Mo (417)267-0147 amorepizzakitchen.com has a very good sandwich selection and I really enjoyed their chicken parmesan sandwich.  We had a hand tossed pizza and side salad this week and I really like their sauce and Italian sausage.  The price was excellent for the pizza and the side salad.  They are open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily.  I would definitely call ahead and have my order ready to pick up on my way home from work in Springfield.  Ordering online was easy and you can pay inside.

Amore Pizza Kitchen in Pleasant Hope.
Catfish, coleslaw and potato salad-The Catfish Café

The Catfish Café 1210 S. Ash Buffalo Mo (417)345-1277 features an all American menu and excellent cobbler with ice cream.  The catfish was good sized and the portions were perfect for the price.  They do a brisk take out business as well and they are generally crowded for dinner whenever I have been there.  Midafternoon is quieter but they are only open until 2 p.m. on Sunday.  Their Facebook page lists their menu, but everything is reasonably priced and delicious.  Check them out on your way up to Pomme de Terre or Lake of the Ozarks soon.

Cobbler and ice cream at The Catfish Café

The Healthy Edge located in Kickapoo Corners at 3604 S. Campbell Springfield Mo (417)501-8188 is like no other restaurant on this list.  Their website: https://the-healthy-edge.business.site lists all their current flavors for protein shakes and teas and their Facebook page also gives special flavors like this month’s Shamrock Oreo.  They specialize in meal replacement shakes and teas that give a great pick me up after any workout.  The counter folks make great suggestions if you can let them know what you are after, for example: recovery after a long hike.  Check them out and remember you’re replacing a meal.  Trust me, I have eaten then gotten a shake and it was a mistake!

The Healthy Edge for a protein shake or refreshing tea-or both!!!

Carriage House Family Restaurant 1537 N. Glenstone in Springfield Mo (417)720-4487 https://www.springfieldcarriagehouse.com  is our favorite breakfast restaurant.  Located in an older building on Springfield’s north side, it caters to blue collar folks looking for hearty meals at good prices.   They serve breakfast any time.  My husband loves their gyro meat when they’ve got the good chunky stuff in stock.  I love the skillets and I’d eat any one of them on any day.  The wait staff is fun and will take good care of you.  It can get busy on weekend mornings so get there early or wait until a little later in the day to go.  They’ve always got a few specials on the board and their desserts look amazing.  I’m generally too full to order dessert there-ever and my waitress knows to bring me a box as soon as I order my breakfast.

The last year has been especially hard on our local restaurant friends in the Ozarks.  We can all help out by supporting our local eateries and looking for new places to love, so get out there!

Check out the Facebook page How to do the Ozarks and Instagram htdto2020 for more pictures and places to visit!

Christy’s Top Places to Eat in the Ozarks Part I

 

Due to Covid 19 I have added phone numbers or websites to assist with ordering curbside or delivery.

Top 10 Places to Eat in the Ozarks

Mr G’s Chicago Pizza and Pub Branson Mo

Mr. G’s Chicago Pizza and Pub (417-335-8156) located at 202 N. Commercial Street in Branson Missouri is the home of Chicago Pizza in the Southwest Ozarks.  We drive 40 miles to this spot for the best Chicago style pizza this part of Missouri has to offer.  Thick or thin crust, the sausage is awesome and the service is usually on point.  When they get busy, you may have a wait.  Or get it to go and eat down at the Branson Landing while people watching, just bring plenty of napkins.

Jose Locos with 2 locations in Springfield, Missouri.  Located at 853 N. Glenstone (417-831-1300) and 300 East Battlefield ((417-885-9097) they have great specials, fishbowl margaritas, and excellent service.  I have been eating at restaurants owned by this family since 1994 and have never been disappointed.  The Cancun Burrito is a special favorite.

Mexican Style food in a fun atmosphere.

Jose Locos N. Glenstone Springfield MO

Deb and Lou’s Café Gainesville (417-679-0048) located in the heart of downtown Gainesville Missouri at 345 S. Main.  Old fashioned Formica tables, metal chairs and great food.  Their cake is homemade and the frosting is fantastic.  Downtown Gainesville is also home to some cute shops so you might want to spend the afternoon browsing in this quaint town.  It’s a beautiful ride down Hwy 14 to Ava then south on Hwy 5 to Gainesville.

Black Sheep Burgers and Shakes in Downtown Springfield (417-319-5905) and Chesterfield Village (417-368-0227) is a must try.  There is also a Black Sheep ASAP on East Sunshine (417-351-3595).  The burgers are HUGE and the shakes are delicious and made with our own Andy’s Frozen Custard.  I seem to always want the Cowboy Carl burger and the Sugar Daddy or Elvis shake.  Share some fries with truffle dipping sauce and you will not want to move from your stylish seat for quite some time.

El Rodeo (417-777-7020) located off the square in Bolivar Missouri at 306 E Jackson is a sprawling Mexican restaurant that has earned its place in the hearts of Bolivar residents.  They have an excellent menu and their service has always been on point whenever I have visited.  My mom and her husband visit them at least once a month and are always satisfied.  Warning: no alcohol sales at this restaurant.

Mickeys 76 Drive In (www.Mickeys76drivein.com) located in Branson West on Hwy 76. Just look for the big Vienna wiener out by the street.  Mickey’s has excellent chocolate shakes, beefs, Vienna hot dogs and more.  Just what northern transplants look for in their Drive In restaurants.   Outside seating only.

Rosie Joes in Ozark (417-581-6047) serves some of the best fried catfish I have ever had.  Located on 1711 South  15th St. in Ozark Missouri, you will not leave hungry.  Portions are large and meals come with 2 sides and bread including cornbread.  They have moved into this location and have more room in a newer building so look them up on Maps if you haven’t been down to visit them in a while.

The Boathouse (417-276-5361) in Stockton Missouri on Hwy 39 is temporarily closed due to Covid 19, but when they open it is worth the drive to check out their fried chicken, huge rolls, and eclectic décor.  Plan to take a walk around the dam after you eat, because you may not be able to resist the desserts.

Top 10 places to eat in the Ozarks

The Boathouse Stockton Mo

 

Flat Creek Restaurant in Republic (417-732-5441) is an off shoot of the original restaurant in Cape Fair.  Catfish is their claim to fame as well as good service and interesting Ozark décor.  I had a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw on the sandwich (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it) and fries which could have fed two people.  They also have daily specials that are reasonable.  Expect a wait on weekends.

Top 10 places to eat in the Ozarks

Flat Creek Restaurant Republic Mo

Whole Hog Café-224 W. Sunshine ( WholeHogCafe.com)-has an excellent selection of BBQ sauces on the table all of which I tried.  Their pulled pork sandwich (coleslaw on the side this time) was delicious served with fresh potato salad and my favorite burnt end cheesy corn.  Delicious!

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Whole Hog Cafe E. Sunshine Springfield Mo

Your favorite, or new favorite restaurant is counting on your support during these troubled times.  Please do what you reasonably can to support their efforts to stay in business as this illness runs its course through our world.  I encourage you to safely get out, enjoy a car ride, limit your physical contact with others, and support your community.

J. Parrinos-Queen City Deli

 

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Queen City Deli on Sunshine near Glenstone-Springfield MO

 

Originally my husband and I are from up north near the Chicago area.  The one thing we are always on the lookout for is Chicago style pizza, beefs, and good Mexican food.  Last week, my husband asked me to run to Queen City Deli, because they have the best beef and sausage combo he has found yet in Springfield Mo.  I ordered the pastrami on rye. The price for both sandwiches, no drinks, no sides was $20. But!  The sandwiches were big enough for two meals especially if I’d paired them with a salad or soup from home.  The meat was very good, piled high, and the bread for the beefs was spot on Chicago-style Italian bread.

J Parrino’s has always been known around here for their pasta which is what I will be trying next time I stop in.  You have the option to eat in their dining room after ordering at the counter or getting take out like I did.  Beer and wine is available as well.  At the counter, you’ll also find a few specialty Italian grocery items that you may want to pick up for the home pantry.

If you’re looking for the best Chicago beef Springfield has to offer, check these guys out.  I was in the store looking for their website menu and got hooked into some sketchy site so just stop in and take a look at the menu.  If you’re looking for Italian, they’ll have something for you.  Happy Eating!