Branson, MO Family Trip -- Good Eats
Family celebration trip first week of June. Ten in all, six adults, four teens/preteens. Staying at the Big Cedar Lodge. Looking for suggestions as to hidden gems, good values, or just tasty places to eat. Anything from BBQ to splurge dinner at this lodge or others. Will be seeing a couple of shows and spending a day in Silver Dollar City. Any suggestions and experiences are appreciated, including any don't-miss activities -- we are planning on a Beatles tribute band, a Yaakov Smirnov matinee, and a funny, Hee-Haw-esque show.
I'll be interested in reading the other replies b/c I have yet to find good food in Branson -- it's mostly all-you-dare-to-eat buffets & chains.
Depending on where you are traveling from -- regional food is always fun -- fried catfish, hushpuppies (my first time to Missouri was straight from NYC -- so those seemed very exotic at them time.)
There is a great BBQ place in Eureka Springs, Arkansas called Bubbas. And my husband just wandered into the room and said there actually is a really good but expensive Greek restaurant in Reed Springs.
The landing in branson is now also open have not eaten there yet,but heard that joes crab shack is not the best,don't know if the restaurant for the bass pro shop is now open or not, but do know of a very good german restaurant in eureka springs,it's called the Bavarian Inn,go on line for eureka springs restaurants, you'll be able to get the menu and the prices,I know it's a little ride but the scenery is very beautiful.
I drive from St. Louis to the Branson area a lot (we have a cabin on Table Rock Lake) and it's such a long haul that we usually don't stop. I'm sure there are some great mom and pop places in little towns you'll pass through like Buffalo and Nixa -- but I don't know them.
I am not a fan of Joes Crab Shack -- seafood in the Midwest -- just doesn't do it for me. Also they sing at you and do like disco dances.
If you want a slice of good old Missouri fun (I'm not sure where you are flying in from from) there is always Lamberts -- I think there is one in Springfield (I presume you are going down that way). They have a website -- they are famous for their southern cooking and throwed rolls. I don't know if you have time -- but St. Louis has some great places to eat.
When my husband and I were dating about 100 years ago (or 10...) my then future in-laws liked to go to Branson once yearly and would always stop at Lambert's on the way down. On my first trip with the family we were eating when my future mother-in-law raised her hand, thus signaling to the roll slinger that she was ready for a fresh one. From across the room the young man with a cannon for an arm pitched a roll just as my m-i-l looked down at her meal. It whacked her right on top of her head.
Sometimes, in the middle of what can be especially painful family dinners, I think about that day. It puts a smile on my face every time.
Moral of the story: If you call for a roll at Lambert's you had better be ready to catch it!
One of my favorite places in the area of Branson, MO is the College of the Ozarks. The College of the Ozarks or "Hard Work U" is one of those schools that allows students to fund their education through working at the university.
The student-run restaurant serves very good regional foods. We always get the ham and beans which are outstanding. There are also a great variety of homemade breads and baked goods.
The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks
1 Opportunity Avenue
Point Lookout, MO 65726
Attached to the university is an interesting museum:
We LOVE Branson, but it isn't exactly a foodie destination. One highlight is the Sunday Brunch at the Big Cedar Lodge. We also ate at the Top of the Rock restaurant (I think that's the name), which is owned by the Big Cedar Lodge and is attached to their golf course. I remember that being very tasty, but it's been a few years.
One of our favorite shows is the Mickey Gilley show. He is a great showman. The restaurant attached to his theater (kind of Tex/Mex) isn't too bad, either.
I've heard the Keeter Center is great, it's on my list of where to eat the next time I'm in Branson.
DEFINITELY go to Lamberts. It's actually just south of Springfield in Ozark, MO. It's totally fun and people of all ages can enjoy throwed rolls! Beware, though...it can be a long wait to get in for a large group. It's worth it, though, in my opinion. I'm actually going tomorrow afternoon for a get-together!
Thanks to those who replied. The Ozarks are lush and the dam-created lake is fun -- extremely friendly country. We enjoyed the accomodations, grounds, and facilities of the Big Cedar Lodge resort, though we had to fight to correct their mistake double-booking our suite.
Lambert's is fun, well-run, and the food better than expected. "Throwed rolls" amused the teens and while we anticipated big portions, both mains and sides were tasty and very fairly priced. Kudos to the fried chicken wings, meat loaf, fried okra, and potatoes and onions. Our large party was seated before the estimated wait time.
I was particularly happy we had dinner at the Keeter Center at the College of the Ozarks. The dining room surpassed expectations -- it is a beautiful huge room in a lodge with windows overlooking the grounds, large tables, a violin player. The menu was much more ambitious than fried chicken or "regional" food, with entrees such as crab-stuffed trout and complex pasta with shrimp, served in large portions with prices from the teens into the twenties. Execution was hit and miss, service was outstandingly personal, hardworking, and charming, and the housemade desserts were a highlight. We'd bet their Sunday brunch would be very satisfying. The Keeter Center is an easy exit right off Highway 65 just south of the 76 main Branson drag.