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Is there anything Chow-ish in Columbia, Missouri?

I am possibly moving there.... but there is no Whole Foods, no Trader Joes... all the restaurants I see listed via internet are chains or little pizza or burger places that cater to the Mizzou college kids.

Can anyone make some recommendations!? Help!

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  1. I just spent a week in Columbia--my favorite place is Flat--Branch Pub. Casual, great burgers and beer.

    Addisons is another--I ate with a group, and everyone's dinner looked great. I had the calamari appetizer and some kind of salad--very fresh and good, but the squid was a little oversalted.

    Shakespeare's Pizza is highly overrated.

    I didn't cook while I was there, so no grocery shopping, but I noticed a 'natural foods' grocery and an Asian market.

    There is a thriving farmer's market in the summer, or so I am told.

    There are Trader Joe's and Whole Foods in STL.

    1. Depends upon what you mean by "chowish." In the old days of Chowhound, that meant unique regional or ethnic spots, not necessarily upscale or highly regarded. That's changed a lot. That said, Booches is the place to go for a classic burger joint.

      1 Reply
      1. re: alan

        Yes, by "chowish" I don't mean are there any expensive steak houses ..... I mean are there any non-chain restaurants that could be anything from a really good little "hole in the wall" diner or cool ethnic restaurant or gourmet grocery that carries unique or special products. An expensive place is fine too, but only if it offers a really special dining experience.

        I went through a restaurant directory and was kinda dismayed that nearly everything was a chain restaurant or fast food place ( eg, Applebee's, Mcdonald's, Chili"s, KFC, etc)

      2. There are lots of locally owned and operated restaurants in Columbia. Murry's, Sycamore, Flatbranch Brewpub, International Cafe, Subshop, Shakespeares, Ernies, Cats Kitchen, Addisons, Casablanca, Breadbasket II, Booches, Tellers, Saigon Bistro, Osamas, Chris McD's, Buckinghams, Broadway Brewery, House of Chow, ABC Chinese, Kui Korean, Carlitos, Jack's Gourmet (bar menu), Perche Creek Cafe, Wok Express, Shotgun Petes, and did I say Murry's? I've eaten at all these places and had good experiences.

        1. I found Columbia to be awfully chain-heavy, but I do miss the vegetable sub at the Subshop...really the best veg sub I think I've ever had. Hot. Lots of cheese. I recommend it highly.

          1. Columbia is a great food town. We so miss not having any kids going to school at Mizzou, but we get up there still from time to time. Chinese Wok Express used to have great Vietnamese but changed hands and I haven't been there since then. In addition to the above, we've liked CC Broiler, which is a steak house. Flatbranch and Murry's are favorites as is Sycamore. I think you will have fun trying all the places listed and more.

            Drive outside of town a little and you have
            Lonnie Rays in Harrisburg for q
            Glenn's in Boonville @ the old Frederick Hotel
            Chim's Thai Kitchen @ Cooper's Landing, kind of a funny little place

            You are with in a couple of hours of Kansas City and St. Louis as well and STL does have Trader Joe's and Whole foods. Both cities have all kinds of great food.

            Someone mentioned the Farmer's Market and there is Clover's Natural Market, Root Cellar, many assorted ethnic markets and bakeries.
            This place is supposed open if it isn't already.

            This culinary school has various events where they sell their wares.

            Local food blog by Scott Rowson, who used to write for the Columbia Tribune on food related matters. He has links to some other local blogs.

            2 Replies
            1. re: wekick

              You don't have to go to Cooper's Landing at Easley on the missouri river now to eat at Chim's Thai Kitchen: she has two restaurants actually in Columbia now, one on the south side, and one downtown.

              Don't forget Bleu on Walnut Street downtown located in the old Boone Tavern location. Very creative innovative food and drinks menu and great service, and they have a huge patio as well if you are so inclined. It is one of our favorites.

              Trey Bistro opened downtown on Ninth Street last year right beside the Blue Note. Although we have not tried yet, it is on our radar.

              44 Stone Public House has been open about 2 years now on the south side of Columbia. It fashions itself after a British gastropub and has hundreds of beers and whiskies to offer. Good grub, too.

              We also like Coley's American Bistro downtown on Sixth Street, unpretentious, but nice relaxing atmosphere, great service, and very affordable tasty food.

              We also have tons of Mexican restaurants, the best being Las Margaritas, La Terrraza, and Agave.

              1. re: Christine

                "You don't have to go to Cooper's Landing at Easley on the missouri river now to eat at Chim's Thai Kitchen"

                I knew they did have additional places but the one on the river is pretty unique.

                We like 44Stone Public House too. We will give Coley's a try.

            2. There are also Trader Joe's and Whole Foods in Kansas City along with some great local restaurants.

              Shotgun Pete's is excellent bbq, it is a drive through and I had BBQ all over me and the car by the time i finished the pulled pork sandwich. worth every bite.

              Another bbq that is WORTH the trip is Lonnie Ray's in Harrisburn, sort of northwest of Columbia. It is an experience, Right before the only stop sign in town. Brisket and the fried corn.

              Something that i think is chowish is the fact that Patric Chocolates are made in Columbia. Alan McClure produces chocolate from the raw beans. He is not a chocoliatier, he is a chocolate maker. The Madagascar bars are classic, some of the best made in the United States. His OMG PBJ bars are what chocolate dreams are made of. Patric is one of the top 6 chocolate makers in the America. Another chocolate maker that is in Missouri is Askinoise down in Springfield. I think he is the only chocolate maker currently using kokoa beans from the Phillippines in one of his bars.

              I only pass through so I know nothing about markets.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tiomano

                Shotgun Pete's BBQ has been down at 28 N. 9th St (across street from the Blue Note) for quite a while now. Still top stuff, w/ plenty of long smoke. https://www.facebook.com/pages/SHOTGU...

              2. Oh WOW... these are great suggestions. I'm starting to feel better! LOL.
                Really appreciate you all taking the time to type out all the restaurants and put in links and everything!

                1. Going to Columbia this weekend and we will make our usual stop at Murry's - great catfish sandwich, wine list, and desserts. Very reasonably priced for the quality of food. We have had great meals at Sophia's - very nice atmosphere there, too.

                  About 15 miles west on I-70 is Les Bourgeouis. it is part of a winery - and the restaurant itself is upscale but not terribly fancy. Lovely views - I had great tuna there.Check the hours as they change seasonally. There is also an A-frame that is open seasonally. They serve wine, bread, and cheese and often have bands outside. Very fun. I have always enjoyed my trips to Columbia - nice town.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: SFLisa

                    New chef this year. Haven't been yet.

                  2. UPRISE Bakery - good soups and sandwiches and a nice casual atmosphere.

                    1. Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream would be a must for me. It's on my list of not to miss ice cream shops in the USA. A few years ago they churned a batch of Cicada Ice Cream. The one and only batch quickly sold out and then they stopped making it since the health department couldn't advise on the proper preparation of insects. I totally would have tried it.

                      1. Columbia, MO. One of my favorite places to eat in the midwest.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jamiewayne

                          Can you expand a little on what places you specifically love in Columbia? :-)