During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Natalie’s Hometown Café, Gower
Natalie's is a relatively new restaurant in the small town of Gower. A friendly atmosphere, attentive service, and yummy comfort food combine to make this a new local favorite, particularly for breakfast. Besides the delicious breakfast choices, they also have lunch specials with items like baked pork chops and stuffing with mashed potatoes, green beans or grilled cabbage and Texas toast. Natalie’s is located at 306 Railroad Avenue.
2. Mary Jane’s Burger & Brew, Perryville
This small town neighborhood restaurant with a cool big city vibe serves delicious food with a smile. They use the freshest, most local ingredients, all prepared on site. Besides the yummy food they also offer a tasty selection of craft beers, and offer a “beer club.” Earn your spot in the Mary Jane Beer Club by consuming one pint of beer from each one of their 50 different taps. Once completed, you receive a Beer Club Work Shirt with your name embroidered on it, and special discounts. Try the pretzel with cheese appetizer or their amazing smoked wings, specialty burgers and sandwiches, or many other delicious options. They are located at 102 N. Jackson Street.
3. Lula’s Tavern, Moberly
Lula’s is truly out of the way and unassuming, but the food all but makes up for its lack of aesthetics. This cash-only steak and seafood restaurant is open only from 4-9 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. There are only a few items on the menu, but all are done right with huge portion sizes. Ribeye, shrimp, ribs, cheeseburgers…all roughly the size of a catcher's mitt. Fully loaded giant baked potatoes complete the meal. Ignore the dive bar accommodations and enjoy the food. Lula’s is located at 112 West Carpenter Street.
4. Thirsty Hog Saloon, Fulton
The Thirsty Hog Saloon is located on the east outer road south of Fulton. A popular menu item is the UFO pork tenderloin sandwich as large as a dinner plate. A variety of sandwich baskets come with French fries or onion rings. The unique menu also features half-pound Angus burgers with topping choices like bleu cheese, peppers, bacon and a variety of cheeses. Also try their smoked BBQ ribs or chicken.
The large variety of delicious appetizers include hot wings, fresh hand-breaded mushrooms, and their “Bleu Balls”, chicken cordon bleu bites with ranch sauce. Enjoy your favorite sporting event on their big screen TVs. Special events include Ladies Nights on Tuesdays, Karaoke on Thursdays and TGIF Fridays. They are family friendly, with an outdoor patio with sand boxes for the kids. They also have a paved parking corral for motorcycles. Unique car and motorcycle décor includes a blue 20-foot-long dragster mounted above the bar area with a stuffed monkey hanging from it by one arm. They are located at 7125 County Road 407.
5. Butcher’s Inn, Raymore
This unassuming bar and grill in Raymore offers great steaks and seafood. Specialties include Alaskan King Crab, and other daily specials like Taco Tuesdays. Their homemade soups also cannot be missed. It is a local neighborhood bar that is small and a bit congested, but the food makes up for the lack of fancy ambience.
Be aware that smoking is permitted, so if you are sensitive to that, you might want to grab your food as carry out. If you are a fan of good food and a friendly atmosphere, give them a try. They are located at 422 West Pine Street.
6. Calgaro’s Family Pizzeria, Cole Camp
In business at their Warsaw location since 2002, Calgaro’s promises they are “committed to serving you a Bigger and Better Pizza.” They use the freshest ingredients, and make everything they can homemade. A source of pride is that their pizza sizes are generous, with a medium being the size of most restaurants large. They offer delivery at the Warsaw location as well as a “half-baked” option. For more information, visit their website at
Locations: 104 S Maple Street in Cole Camp and 840 East Main Street in Warsaw.
7. Gordon’s Stoplight Drive-In, Crystal City
Gordon's Stoplight Drive-In is a small diner, “Serving the best hamburgers in the world since 1948.” A “must-try” is their famous Jumbo burger, topped with slaw, chopped onions and barbecue sauce. Tackle the Quadzilla, their 4-patty super-burger, which is not as scary as it sounds as their burgers are made thin-style. Their old-timey atmosphere and friendly service, made to order fresh food, and hand-dipped milkshakes will not disappoint.
For breakfast, they offer classics like the St Louis style slinger with choice of meat, hash-browns & eggs covered with homemade chili. Although they only take cash, they do have an ATM in the building. In classic diner style they only offer counter seating only on a first come first serve basis, but they do have a few tables outside and a walk up window for to go orders. They are located at 500 Bailey Road.
8. Tractor’s BBQ, Lamar
Tractor’s BBQ is located inside a convenience store and gas station. Their breakfast menu is served made-to-order until 10:30 am, and the full lunch and dinner menu is served from 10:30am until 9:00pm. They feature only the best in smoked meats, fresh old fashioned hamburgers, along with a large selection of sandwiches and salads. They have a Sunday buffet from 10:30 am-2:00 pm and a Tuesday night Fried Catfish Buffet from 5:00-9:00 pm. Beer and mixed drinks are also available. Located at 1008 E. 12th Street.
9. Ole Boy’s BBQ, Carrollton
Ole Boy’s BBQ is a small, locally owned restaurant that serves a variety of smoked meats, homemade sides, and various daily specials. Try their hand-breaded tenderloin accompanied by their delicious homemade French fries. They have a large selection of barbecue options including sandwiches, dinner specials and ribs. You can get meat by the pound and family size sides through their catering service. A friendly atmosphere, and great service complete the experience. They are located at 701 N. Mason Street.
10. Silly Goose, Augusta
Silly Goose is a family friendly restaurant that serves farm-fresh food. The seasonally driven menu with a focus locally obtained and sustainable farming ingredients include classic old family recipes. Located in charming small town Augusta, just minutes from St. Louis and in the Heart of Wine Country. They offer wine tastings from various local wineries on a rotating basis. Theme nights with special menu emphasis include Chinese, Fat Tuesday, Italian, German and Irish foods. They are located at 5501 Locust Street.
11. El Nopal Mexican Restaurant 4, Palmyra
The outside looks like a large shed, but inside you will find a colorful wonderland. It would be difficult to not feel your mood lifted by the cheerful décor. The food is arguably the best Mexican food for miles. Try the Carne Asada Burrito with beans and rice, or the giant burrito specials. Tasty refried beans, and delicious guacamole round out the meals with flavor. The yummy food, fast friendly service and great prices keep you coming back for more. They are located at 805 Marion City Road.
12. Love Sushi, Jefferson City
Love Sushi creates a friendly atmosphere by greeting you warmly and enthusiastically upon entering. They offer fresh and flavorful sushi with many different enticing options. The prices are reasonable and the plates are presented beautifully. Some of the favorites include the Sexy Guy, the Sexy Lady, the tiger roll and the shrimp tempura. Try the delicious pot stickers with its amazing sauce. They are located at 2201 Missouri Boulevard.
13. Mugs Up Drive In, Columbia
Mugs Up, a local staple, is a family owned and operated drive-in restaurant. They feature original recipe chili, hot dogs, and burgers, along with root beer that is made fresh on the premises. The chili cheese dog is a skinny dog in a skinny bun with onions and chili. Try one of their zip burgers. They are small, so order two. Fries are steak fries. Make sure to bring cash. They don’t accept credit or debit cards or out of town checks. They are located at 603 Orange Street.
14. Hobo’s at the American Legion, St. Peters
Located in the American Legion building, Hobos may be a simple place, but the food is first rate. With a relaxing atmosphere, you are invited to sit down and kick back. Some of their menu favorites include fried chicken, catfish, ribs and pulled pork. Everything is smoked on site and hand rubbed with a special blend of seasonings. It is cooked over pecan and apple wood with pecan shells thrown in for special flavor. Great service, delicious food, reasonable prices, and a cozy atmosphere make Hobo’s a great dining experience. They are located at 200 Main Street.
15. The Rolling Pin Bakery, Glasgow
Although The Rolling Pin is predominantly a bakery, they also serve a great lunch. They are located in the charming historic town of Glasgow. Customers order at the counter from a menu posted on a signboard. You serve yourself your drinks and the wait staff brings your food to our table. The sandwiches, served in little plastic baskets, include choices like a BLT, Tuscan turkey, ham, and a Reuben. They also have soup and salads, and of course delectable desserts. Inside, the décor includes the building’s originally pressed tin ceiling, and an intricately ornate overhead fan. The outdoors patio includes a waterfall. They are located at 104 Market Street.
16. Billy Gail’s Café, Branson
Billy Gail’s is located in an old, refurbished gas station. They are a down-home breakfast and lunch restaurant serving giant, jumbo pancakes and traditional country comfort food. Their homemade biscuits and gravy are a “must-try”. With generous portions, a friendly staff, homey décor and reasonable prices there are so many reasons to try Billy Gail’s. Make sure to hit the ATM before your visit. They only accept cash. They are located at 5291 Highway 265.
17. Mo’ Beef, Springfield
Mo’ Beef is the place to go in Springfield for Chicago Style Italian Beef and Italian sausages. Try the Don with hot peppers and provolone cheese, and served with delicious au jus, or the Fat Tony with hot peppers and hot sausage. The beef soaks through the freshly baked bread creating the soppy, flavorful bread that makes Italian Beef the genuine article. They also have fried pickles, green beans and hand cut, house made chips and onion rings. Everything on the menu is fresh and made from scratch. They are located at 405 West Walnut Street.
What are some other great spots people may not know about? Have you eaten at any of these places? What was your experience? Share in the comments below.