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May 16, 2003 11:57 AM

SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI - Are there any good restaurants?

  • c

I might be moving there. Are there any good food markets? Restaurants?

Last time I visited, I couldn't even find a can of Muir Glenn tomatoes in the grocery store. I'm feeling a little discouraged.

Are there any 'hounds out there that can offer me hope?

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  1. Here are a few spots to get you started. Springfield is a good place worth exploring. They also have an international beer festival

    Wellspring Cafe - Vegetarian, mostly vegan - 300 McDaniel, Springfield, MO 65806. 417-865-1818.

    I found this "anonymous" eater review on a local website -
    Tong's Thai Cuisine
    3454 South Campbell Avenue Springfield, Missouri (417)889-5280 "Wednesday night is "Thai night" - the menu is already set and changes monthly - 10-11 courses and it is the best Thai food I've eaten in years - better than Los Angeles! Reservations are needed to participate in "Thai night". Everything is presented beautifully and abundantly. If you haven't tried this great restaurant I highly recommend it - full bar and the prices are very reasonable - $5 for appetizer and $7-$12 for entrees. The sticky rice and mango dessert is awesome!

    "With the opening of our bakery in January, 1996, hand made, hearth baked bread was introduced to Springfield and the surrounding community. Our goal is to become Springfield's most progressive, community-minded neighborhood bakery. We employ a dynamic, open bakery concept that makes it a fun and interesting experience to visit our micro-bakery."
    Conveniently located at 3305 S. Campbell Avenue (in front of Walmart) in Springfield.

    If there is a good vegetarian place, a good Thai place, and a good artisan bakery, I'd say that bodes well for a good grocery and other good eats to be found. Wild Oats organic market lists three in Missouri, one in KC, one in St.Louis and one it Clarkesville? If you don't know Wild Oats, they have pretty much everything.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Betty

      Thank you so very, very much for taking the time to post that information. It's very helpful and encouraging.

      But unfortunately, Springfield is nowhere near KC or St. Louis. I'd never heard of Clarksville, but got out the map and looked. There seems to be several upscale stores there, but the map gives no clue as to why. Clarksville is the tiniest dot on a highway up north of St. Louis - sadly, very far from Springfield.

      Still - the options you mentioned - good vegetarian, good Thai, and an artisan bakery are promising.

      Thanks again for taking your time.

      I appreciate it,

    2. You'd be surprised!
      Check out:
      BIJAN'S downtown. Try the cedar planked Sea Bass with carmelized onions, cashews, and risotto.
      CLARY'S has the best aged steak in town
      LAMBERT'S 10 miles south on Rt 65 has hearty & tasty southern fare..try the meatloaf.
      MARIA'S. Fresh mexican.
      Really no decent Italian..Gilardi's is talked about but is very overrated and mediocre.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Vinny Clams

        Thank you so much, Vinny C. I am going there to care for my aging mother who is in the last stages of Alzheimer's, so it's going to be a rather grim time for me. I appreciate knowing about any good restaurants where I can get away for an hour or so.

        How about markets? Do you know of any good grocery stores that sell "gourmet" (for want of a better word) items - Muir Glenn tomatoes, Italian tuna, good olive oils, smoked pimenton?

        1. re: ChrissieH

          Sorry to hear about your mother.
          I don't know about the market situation. Ask the owner of Bijan's (Billy) When you are there(or call beforehand)and he'll definately know.

          1. re: Vinny Clams

            Thanks again for taking the time...

            And I'll definitely take your advice. You've lifted my spirits considerably.

            Probably seems like a small thing to you, but I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.

            1. re: ChrissieH

              Sure. Be well.
              And, by the way, no matter what the locals say, don't be seduced into trying cashew chicken. Its simply deep fried chicken fingers with sweet gunk sauce and a few scallions and a couple of cashews drizzled on the top. For some reason Springfield is famous for it with every chinese joint touting theirs as the best. Yeech!

              1. re: Vinny Clams

                Sorry, Vinny - but something tells me I'd better not be that picky.

                Horrible it may be (and I'll admit it doesn't sound very appetizing) - but you just KNOW that at least I've got to TRY it, if I'm gonna be stuck there for any length of time. Which it seems that indeed I am.

                1. re: ChrissieH

                  Chrissie, Springfield-style cashew chicken has come down in the world since Leong's Teahouse closed, but it's still tasty. Don't get it at a place that doesn't specialize or prepare to order. The Heritage Cafeteria steamtable version is ghastly! My personal favorite venue is ... oh, crud, I can't remember the name, but it's a little joint near the northeast corner of Sunshine and Campbell, next to a Wendy's. Two other favorite spots of mine: Ott's Pasta, in an oldtime gas station at the intersection of Cherry and Pickwick (to-go only) and the Pizza House, for 50 years at Glenstone and Bennett, now at 312 E. Commercial. Pizza crust doesn't get any thinner. YUM! Buen provecho.

                  1. re: diegof

                    Somewhere, while looking for the best Cashew Chicken in Springfield, I read that the owner of Fire & Ice is the son of Leong's. I had it there, and it really was deep fried chicken pieces in a sweet brown sauce. Good, but I won't go back for it.

                2. re: Vinny Clams

                  Cashew chicken was invented in Springfield and then went nationwide, that's why it's everywhere and they take pride in it.

                  1. re: weewah

                    It's a bland dish. And it was invented to be bland. And unthreatening. To appeal to what its creator referred to as "the Midwestern palate."

                    It's fried chicken nuggets in brown gravy.

                    I just don't get the appeal.

            2. re: ChrissieH

              Thai Pepper on Sunshine
              Clary's on East Sunshine
              Pizza House Glenstone Ave.
              Metropolitan Grill on east Battlefield
              Bijans downtown
              Riverside Inn a few miles south in the town of Ozark

          2. Clary's market, next to the restaurant on E Sunshine and Brown Derby wine center on Glenstone both have a nice selection of gourmet items specialty cheeses and olives etc. There are more and more really good restaurants all the time. Springfield is an eating out town and as long as you avoid buffets and chains you are likely to do well. I agree there is no good Italian I am hopeful about a couple of new ones though. I just always like to eat Italian when I go to St. Louis or Chicago so it keeps me covered there. Chardonnay on E. Republic Road and Argentine Steak house also on Republic Road are both very good. Bijans in my opinion is over-rated much more a be seen kinda place.

            1. Sounds like you are particular about your produce - if you like salads the best place in Springfield is TossAcross. They are incredible - they chop the stuff up right in front of you and also make all their dressings in house, I know there is over 20 of them.

              1. Back to the ubiquitous Springfield-style Cashew Chicken...

                Sooner or later, it always comes down to this, doesn't it?

                My son's best friend was raised in Springfield, and his father is a Chinese master chef. They don't live there anymore, but when they did, and when they're back for visits, they go to Peking House on Sunshine for their Americanized Chinese food, like the Cashew Chicken, Sweet & Sour Pork, etc.