Discovering the Best Restaurants in Missouri: A Comprehensive Travel Guide
Missouri, the Show-Me State, is known for its rich history, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant cities. And when it comes to food, this state has a lot to offer. From delicious barbecue joints to sophisticated fine dining experiences, Missouri is a food lover’s paradise. In this travel guide, we’ll explore some of the best restaurants in Missouri, giving you a taste of the diverse culinary scene that awaits you in this amazing state.
1. St. Louis: Gateway to Culinary Delights
a. Pappy’s Smokehouse
Pappy’s Smokehouse is a St. Louis institution, serving up some of the best barbecue in the state. This popular eatery features mouthwatering slow-smoked meats like ribs, pulled pork, and brisket, all cooked to perfection over apple and cherry wood. Don’t forget to try their famous burnt ends, and pair your meal with one of their delicious homemade sides like sweet potato fries or coleslaw.
b. Sidney Street Café
For an upscale dining experience, head to the elegant Sidney Street Café. This St. Louis gem, located in a historic building, offers a contemporary American menu, featuring locally sourced ingredients and innovative dishes. Indulge in the likes of seared scallops, braised short ribs, and duck confit, all paired with an impressive wine list and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
2. Kansas City: Barbecue and Beyond
a. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que
No visit to Missouri is complete without a stop at Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. This legendary barbecue joint, located in a gas station, has been featured on numerous TV shows and has won countless awards. Try their signature Z-Man sandwich, featuring smoked brisket, smoked provolone cheese, and onion rings on a Kaiser roll. And, of course, you can’t leave without tasting their famous ribs and burnt ends.
b. The Rieger
Located in a historic building that once housed a hotel, The Rieger offers an unforgettable dining experience. The menu showcases contemporary Midwestern cuisine, with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. Start with the pork terrine or the heirloom tomato salad before moving on to entrees like the pan-roasted trout or the bison ribeye. Top off your meal with a handcrafted cocktail from their award-winning bar program.
3. Springfield: Ozark Flavors and Farm-to-Table Fare
a. Black Sheep Burgers and Shakes
For a casual dining experience with a twist, check out Black Sheep Burgers and Shakes in Springfield. This hip eatery specializes in gourmet burgers made from locally sourced beef, with options like the Cowboy Carl (topped with onion rings, bacon, and BBQ sauce) or the Samurai (featuring wasabi aioli and pickled ginger). Pair your burger with a hand-spun shake, and you’re in for a treat.
b. Farmer’s Gastropub
Farmer’s Gastropub is a must-visit for farm-to-table enthusiasts. This cozy restaurant, with its warm and inviting atmosphere, offers a menu that changes daily, based on what’s in season and available from local farmers. From fresh salads and homemade soups to hearty entrees like grass-fed beef pot roast or rainbow trout, Farmer’s Gastropub delivers a true taste of the Ozarks.
4. Columbia: College Town Eats and Eclectic Bites
a. Shakespeare’s Pizza
Shakespeare’s Pizza is a beloved institution in Columbia, especially among the students of the University of Missouri. Known for its hand-tossed, made-from-scratch pies, this pizzeria offers a range of creative topping combinations and a laid-back, college-town atmosphere. Don’t miss their popular Masterpiece pizza, loaded with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers.
Sycamore, located in the heart of downtown Columbia, offers a menu that blends classic American dishes with international influences. This upscale restaurant features seasonal menus with highlights such as lamb shank osso buco, miso-glazed salmon, and handmade pasta. Complete your meal with a selection from their carefully curated wine list, and enjoy the stylish yet relaxed ambience.
5. Branson: Family-Friendly Dining and Comfort Food
a. Billy Bob’s Dairyland
When you’re in Branson, be sure to check out Billy Bob’s Dairyland for a nostalgic, family-friendly dining experience. This 50s-themed diner offers all the classic comfort foods, like juicy burgers, crispy fries, and hand-breaded chicken tenders. Save room for dessert, as they also serve up some of the best hand-dipped milkshakes in town.
b. Dobyn’s Dining Room
Dobyn’s Dining Room, located at the College of the Ozarks, offers more than just a meal – it’s a unique dining experience. Students at the college run this restaurant as part of their hands-on education, and their commitment to quality is evident in every dish. Feast on Southern-style favorites like fried green tomatoes, chicken pot pie, and smoked brisket, all made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Embark on a Culinary Adventure in Missouri
With so many fantastic restaurants to choose from, Missouri is a true culinary destination. No matter what part of the state you find yourself in, you’re sure to discover delicious food and warm, friendly service. So, as you embark on your Missouri adventure, be sure to bring your appetite and get ready to savor the flavors of the Show-Me State!