In big cities, multitudes of restaurants compete for your business, creating lots of excellent, delicious options. In a smaller town, it’s harder to find such a unique gem. Often filled with chains and fast food (if that), when you come across a local favorite, you take note. Here are some great restaurants that just happen to be in smaller towns. Bon Appetit!
1. The Main Event, Mountainview
This small town bar and local favorite is a great place to go for yummy food at a great price with friendly service. Try the Santa Fe Chicken or delicious Catfish while enjoying whatever game is on the T.V. Relax in the cozy non-smoking restaurant area. Cozy up to the fully stocked bar area where you can play games like Keno. Bring your group and enjoy the privacy in the meeting room, comfortably able to entertain up to 25 people.
Location: 1215 E US Highway 60
The Main Event
2. Charley’s Buffet, Cole Camp
Arguably the best country-style buffet in the area, Charley’s offers American comfort food in a casual setting. Since they are only open Fridays and Saturdays from 4:30-8:30 p.m., there is usually a line of people waiting before they even open! Dinner items like pulled pork, ham, fresh veggies, mashed potatoes and chicken and homemade noodles are some of the offerings. Don’t forget dessert! The dessert table is something to see with a huge variety including homemade pies and cobblers. Charley’s is the best place for home-style food, reminiscent of a church potluck. They even make their own butter!
Location: 23785 Highway B
3. Hickory Log, Dexter
The Hickory Log is a family owned and operated restaurant that has served the town of Dexter since 1953. They are most famous for their Bar-B-Que Ribs, cooked outdoors on open brick-walled pits using hickory wood fire. Besides their famous ribs, they also have a full menu with certified angus steaks, grilled chicken, sandwiches, and a great selection of salads and appetizers. Take-out is also a popular choice, and ribs and sauce can also be shipped anywhere in the U.S. by contacting the restaurant at 573-624-4950.
Location: 1314 W Business US Highway 60
4. Booches, Columbia
Booches is a well-known Columbia establishment that has been around since 1884! This restaurant and pool hall is famous for their cheeseburgers served on wax paper. In fact, USA Today named them one of the top ten burgers in America on more than one occasion. Known for witticisms posted on their walls, they are most known for the saying “Closed on Sunday, see you in church.”
Booches' name comes from the nickname of original owner, Paul Blucher Venable. Male-only until the 1970s, the restaurant has seen many owners for the years, but still thrives. Today it gets plenty of University of Missouri and St. Louis Cardinals fans as customers, and has become considerably more family-friendly than they once were.
Location: 110 S 9th St
5. Avalon Café, Weston
The Avalon Café is charmingly located on a hilltop overlooking Weston’s historic downtown. Originally called “White Lace” for the white gingerbread adorning the front porch, this 1847 antebellum home now serves American Bistro-style cuisine. Among the house specialties is the Beef Tenderloin, grilled over Missouri Apple Wood and served with Mushroom and Bourbon Sauce. You might also try the New Zealand Green Mussels in enriched wine sauce. Finish things off with yummy Cinnamon Bread Pudding served with Vanilla Cream Sauce. The Avalon also features a full service bar with an extensive wine list, a large assortment of single malt scotch, small batch bourbons, cognacs and armagnac.
Location: 608 Main Street
6. The Fred Restaurant & Lounge, Boonville
This restaurant is located in the historic 1905 Hotel Frederick, and the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic ambiance created by wooden floors, large windows and tin ceilings, create the perfect dining experience. Favorite appetizers include fresh oysters on the half shell or the Spaghetti Squash Fritters, sautéed golden brown and served with sriracha aioli. For an entrée, try the pork medallions, brown butter salmon, or the wild chicken with mushrooms. With great food, service and ambience, the Fred is a must-visit while in Boonville.
Location: 501 High Street
7. Justus Drug Store, Smithville
This accolade-rich restaurant, housed in a former drugstore, is one of the best farm to table restaurants around. Food from local farmers is prepared by skilled artisans and served to you in a beautiful, modern, and classy atmosphere. Absolutely everything is made from scratch and presented in unique and creative ways, and available in three courses. One delicious third course entrée is the Lamb Chops, featuring lamb from the Hi Ho Sheep Farm, served with polenta, crowder peas, bok choy, broth, ginger, carrot, cilantro, parsley, and rose petal vanilla black pepper.
Location: 106 W Main Street
8. Alpenhorn Gasthaus, Hermann
This amazing restaurant is in a bed and breakfast in the middle of Missouri Wine Country. Their four and five course gourmet dinners are second to none, and made with the freshest seasonal & local ingredients. The romantic setting and excellent wine selection round out the experience as truly special. Try the Herb Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Wine Reduction Sauce or the Sauted Atlantic Salmon with Lemon Burre Blanc. All dinners are served with mixed grains, local seasonal veggies and homemade bread with herbed oils or whipped butters.
Location: 179 E Highway 100
9. Rob and Kricket’s Tater Patch, Rolla
This Rolla staple is known for its amazing food and live entertainment. They offer truly unique, home cooked meals with items like the Belly Buster Fish Sandwich and the Colossal Nachos. This is small town American comfort food at its best. They also feature a full-stocked bar, and live entertainment most nights. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in a great environment for a good time with family or friends.
Location: 103 Bridge School Road
10. Almost Famous Grille & BBQ, West Plains
Almost Famous is a barbecue and burger restaurant that claims to be “Low and slow pit BBQ at its finest!” They offer fresh Angus burgers and southern pit-style barbecue, as well as sandwiches, plate dinners, specialty items like Junkyard Fries and BBQ Tacos, and a kids menu. Finish it all off with one of their delicious homemade pies.
Location: 1027 Porter Wagoner Blvd
What’s the local favorite in your home town? Have you been to any of these places? Please let us know in the comments below.