From brewpubs and bistros to kitsch ice cream parlors and farm-to-table fare, Missouri’s state-wide dining scene has something to suit every discerning diner. We traverse the state to bring you Missouri’s very best restaurants.
44 Stone Public House is a gastropub specializing in upscale pub grub teamed with fine ales and whiskey that is helping put Columbia and Mid-Missouri on the map as a culinary destination. Modelled on the casual, cozy pubs of the British Isles, 44 Stone’s menu takes inspiration from food typical to England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales and combines with a contemporary American slant to imagine dishes like imperial stout-marinated sirloin steak and wild caught north Atlantic haddock with hand-cut chips; all teamed with an extensive list of domestic and imported craft ales and whiskeys.
Frequently listed amongst the best barbecue joints in St Louis (and for a barbecue-obsessed state like Missouri, that’s certainly a compliment) Bogart’s Smokehouse first opened its doors in 2011 and since then its succulent meats, slow-cooked over apply and cherry wood, have reached legendary status. Chef Skip Steele, a pit master veteran who honed his skills growing up in Memphis, cooks all Bogart’s meats in a smoker located in the restaurant’s back yard for up to 24 hours. Diners rave about options such as juicy pulled pork, apricot bruleed prime ribs and succulent pastrami teamed with side dishes like deviled egg potato salad and pit-smoked baked beans.
For unique dining with kitsch personality, look no further than The Fountain on Locust, an award-winning ice cream parlor and food joint voted Best Restaurant for Impressing Out-of-Towners in the St Louis Post-Dispatch’s Readers Choice Awards. An art deco-inspired interior hand-painted by owner Joy Christensen (think retro tiled floors and old-fashioned countertop seats overlooked by bright murals) welcomes guests to try signature ice cream cones, sundaes and floats in flavors like butter pecan and coconut almond joy, and while the much-loved spot might seem aimed at kids, ‘grown-up’ ice cream lovers will get a kick out of the Fountain’s liquor-tinged adult floats and ice cream martinis.
A downtown Columbia tradition since it first opened over 20 years ago (the last brewery pub to do so in the city since 1841) Flat Branch Pub & Brewing is a cozy, upscale pub and the winner of various awards including Inside Columbia Magazine’s Best Overall Restaurant multiple times. Located in a 1927-built brick warehouse, complete with Columbia’s largest bar and a spacious patio, Flat Branch specializes in handmade, traditional pub favorites given an American twist; like deep-fried catfish and chips with tangy tartar sauce, and tender shredded pork braised in a spicy adobo sauce and served in fried taco shells with southwestern slaw and pico de gallo; which, of course, are best teamed with the pub’s handcrafted, in-house brewed beers.
What was formerly a family drugstore run by chef and owner Jonathan Justus’ parents, has been transformed into a beautiful new American bistro offering delicious farm-to-table fare in heart of the small city of Smithville. Since opening in 2007 under chef Justus and his wife Camille Eklof, Justus Drugstore’s renown has stretched far beyond the bounds of Missouri, scoring mentions in the New York Times and a place in ‘Opinionated About Dining’s’ Top 25 Farm-to-Table Restaurants of 2013, and with dishes as delectable and local in character as smoked trout salad and house rabbit sausage with duck egg fettuccine available with suggested wine pairings, it’s no wonder why.
Known as the home of the original ‘throwed rolls’, Lambert’s Café is a Missouri dining tradition dating way back to the 1940s, famous for its hearty portions of traditional American fare and homey diner-style atmosphere. Today, Lambert’s Café boasts two locations in Missouri and a further branch in Alabama, though the Sikeston restaurant (the home of the original restaurant opened in 1942 by owners Earl and Agnes Lambert) is where it all began. Sit back with family and friends in one of its wooden booths and dine on dishes like Bar-B-Q pulled pork sandwich on Texas toast, fried catfish with cornbread or hushpuppies and chicken livers with mushroom gravy.
Located in a landmark Kansas City building, The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange makes much use of its historical location, a 1915 hotel frequented by travelling salesmen and the like during the city’s boom town days, combining a beautiful restoration with classic American grill cuisine. A lively bar welcomes guests to try signature cocktails and locally brewed beers alongside upmarket bar snacks while owner and chef Howard Hanna’s dishes (the Boulevard wheat beer-braised catfish with local polenta, Calabrese chili and cabbage and the Kansas City strip steak with roasted potatoes, smoked butter and creamed kale among them) are served in a stylishly retro dining room with original tiled floors.
An upscale, contemporary take on the neighborhood restaurant Gram & Dun combines sophisticated, culinary-driven American eats with perfectly paired drinks in a sociable space that attracts everyone from craft beer fans, wine snobs and discerning foodies alike. Located in Kansas City’s upscale riverside neighborhood, The Plaza, Gram & Dun’s space is truly beautiful: dramatic slanted, wooden beamed ceilings overlook sumptuous leather banquettes while a patio (voted amongst the city’s best by local publications including KC Magazine and The Pitch) is ideal for seasonal outdoor dining. Standout dishes include jumbo scallops with blackened cauliflower, Swiss chard and bourbon cherry butter and the hangar steak with warm bacon fingerling potato salad.
Don’t let its strip mall location fool you, Touch is one of the Ozark region’s top restaurants and the winner of awards including 417 Magazine’s ‘Best Fine Dining’ and ‘Best Outdoor Dining’. Established by local restaurateur family the Jalilis, who came to southwest Missouri’s Springfield via Iran, Touch specializes in Mediterranean-influenced contemporary American fare in a space that combines a stylish dining room with its own mezzanine balcony, al fresco dining and a lively lounge serving tapas-style eats and tempting drinks. Enjoy plates that include the much raved about Applewood bacon-wrapped dates with goat cheese and blackened swordfish with poblano lime puree and bean relish.
Inspired by the halcyon days of yore when butcher stores were the hub of local communities, The Block is a unique Webster Groves-based restaurant offering guests seasonal, locally inspired American cuisine with its own in-store, full-service meat counter. A stylish, but cozy space dominated by wood and industrial-chic elements reminds guests that The Block is a contemporary neighborhood restaurant, while its menu full of meaty American favorites harks back to traditional fare, with dishes like smoked brisket sandwich with Swiss cheese, pickled red onions and horseradish cream or butcher’s cut, grass-fed beef with garlic fries and signature steak sauce.