It would have been very easy to fill up this list with eateries from Kansas City or St. Louis; both cities have several restaurants that have been featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. However, I have instead chosen one hidden gem from each of the ten cities below. There are so many great places to eat in the state of Missouri, I have not even begun to mention all the possibilities. So here is just a taste.
1. Espino's Mexcian Bar and Grill, Chesterfield
Located at 17409 Chesterfield Airport Road, this restaurant was featured in Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. The owner takes a personal interest in the operation of the business and the satisfaction of the customers. They serve creative homemade mexican food and experiment with new specials. They have a fully stocked bar/cantina which features Spanish wines, 18 different types of beer and a total of 27 different flavors of tequila. One dish Guy particularly liked was the chile verde with pork. For more information and hours of operation, visit their website at www.espinosmexicanbargrill.com (P.S. They also have a location in O'Fallon)
2. Iron Barley, St. Louis
Another restaurant that was featured in DDD, and also the only one mentioned on this list from St. Louis, this is a great place to go for creative takes on American comfort food, and delicious locally brewed craft beers. Located on 5510 Virginia Avenue, they also feature The Underground and Patio for larger groups. Stay for the late night live music! For more information, hours of operation, and upcoming events visit their website at www.ironbarley.com.
3. YJ's Snack Bar, Kansas City
The final entry on this list that was featured in DDD, YJ's has a menu that changes daily and features varied worldly dishes. Some of their signature dishes include chorizo, meatloaf sandwich and Mayan tostadas. They are located at 128 W. 18th St. You can find out more at www.yjs-snackbar.com.
4. Flat Branch Pub & Brewing, Columbia
Located in the historic downtown Columbia, Flat Branch houses itself in a 1927 warehouse that used to be a Hudson car dealership. The chef, Matt Arnall, experiments with new dishes and fresh ingredients and provides American pub fare with a twist. They also brew their own beer in-house, bake their fresh bread daily, and create their own delicious home-made desserts. You can find them at 115 S. 5th St., and find out more at www.flatbranch.com.
5. Han the Sushi Man, Joplin
Han knows sushi. This tiny little place located in a strip mall at 1901 E. 32nd Street is a must-try for sushi lovers. They offer a wide selection with creative additions regularly and many vegetarian options. They do not have a website, but you can visit their Facebook page for more information and pictures of the food.
6. Broussard's Cajun Cuisine, Cape Girardeau
Located at 120 Main Street in historic downtown Cape Girardau, next to the Mississippi River, this restaurant features both Cajun and classic American cuisine in hearty home-style portions. Their decor includes New Orleans based murals created by local artists as well as neon lights! For more information you can visit their website at www.broussardscajuncuisine.com.
7. Bambino's Cafe on Delmar, Springfield
Bambino's serves "mom and pop" Italian fare in a quaint setting in the Phelps Grove Neighborhood of Springfield. Missouri State University's newspaper, The Standard, named them Best Italian Food, Best Place for Date-Night Dinner, AND Best Restaurant in Springfield. They recently opened a new location on Battlefield. You can find out more, check out their menu and hours of operation and more at their website www.bambinoscafe.com. Address is 1141 E. Delmar Street.
8. Prison Brews, Jefferson
Prison Brews is located in a circa 1895 building on 305 Ash Street. They have a large selection of American bar food and brew their beer on-site. They also feature a large outdoor patio and bocce courts. Find out more at www.prisonbrews.com.
9. Pappy's Grill & Pub, St. Joseph
In 2005, the owners took over what was once known as Stan & Lou's, kept their menu and expanded on it. Today, they provide great reasonably priced food and great service to their customers. They are most known for their best-selling Tenderloin. They are also completely smoke-free every Monday and Thursday. They are located at 2501 Messanie Street. Check out their website at www.pappysgrill.com for menu, hours of operation, and more.
10. Mark Twain Dinette, Hannibal
Established in 1942 by M.E. Pennewell, the dinette has experienced many changes and much growth over the years. Owned by the same family since 1985, they feature family fare such as breaded towers of onion rings, giant tenderloins, the famous Mark Twain Fried Chicken, and Maid-Rite sandwiches. They also serve homemade root beer. You can find out more at www.marktwaindinette.com. They are located at 400 N. 3rd Street.
There are so many great restaurants throughout Missouri. Usually locals are the best judge of their town’s hidden gem. Where is the place to go in your town? Share your comments below.