On the shores of the Lake of the Ozarks, Osage Beach is one of Missouri’s most popular vacation destinations and has a great dining scene. Whether classic steakhouse fare, barbecue or gourmet burgers whet your appetite, our guide to the city’s best restaurants has got you covered.
Classic steakhouse fare and sophisticated seafood dishes are the focus at J. Bruner’s Restaurant– a casual, fine dining spot serving Osage Beach diners since opening more than 30 years ago. The restaurant’s Red Room Lounge is the perfect spot for drinks with friends or a pre-dinner cocktail. Meanwhile its inviting, cozy dining rooms set the scene for dishes like J Bruner’s famous 12-ounce prime rib served au jus or the grilled mahi-mahi with a port-wine mushroom and bacon sauce. Complete your dining experience with one of J. Bruner’s intoxicating ice cream drinks like the Copper Penny made with amaretto and Kahlua.
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With its waterfront location, lively ambience and authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine, Shorty Pants Lounge & Marina is one of Osage Beach’s favorite haunts. Take a seat at its fun lakeside tiki bar during warmer weather or head inside to its buzzing dining room when it’s cold. There are delicious dishes like crawfish and shrimp étouffée, jambalaya and hand-breaded catfish fried to perfection. Or opt for one of Shorty Pants’ hearty po’boy sandwiches. Don’t leave without trying at least one of Shorty Pants’ legendary cocktails – there’s muddled mojitos and Cajun-style Bloody Marys to choose from.
Open from early morning to mid-afternoon, On the Rise is one of Osage Beach’s most favorite spots for hearty breakfasts and light bistro lunches. Owner and chef Michael Castle, who cut his culinary teeth working at some of the Lake of the Ozarks region’s best-loved restaurants, opened On the Rise in 1995. He has since attracted a loyal clientele for his mix of New American and European cuisine. Breakfast fare features classics like bananas foster French toast, omelets and eggs Benedict. Lunchtime offerings include wood-fired burgers and flatbreads, soups, salads and sandwiches.
The winner of a whole host of local awards and competitions, HalfSauced Barbeque is the place to the head in Osage Beach for fans of smoked-to-perfection barbecue classics. Staples like beef brisket, baby back ribs, pulled pork and sausage are smoked daily over HalfSauced’s oak and hickory fired barbecue pit. They are served with sides like pit beans, potato salad and creamy coleslaw. Starters, sandwiches and a children’s menu are offered too. If there’s one must-try dish, it’s HalfSauced’s smoked wings – they’ve scooped several awards at the Lake of the Ozarks Annual Wing Ding over the past 10 years.
Pizza at Chevy's Bar and Grill | Courtesy Chevy's Bar and Grill
With some of the best-loved pizza in town, Chevy’s Bar and Grill is a lively little hidden gem that’s been entertaining locals since opening 20 years ago. Choose from legendary pizzas like the meat lover’s (topped with homemade Italian sausage, pepperoni, smoked ham, hamburger and hickory smoked bacon) or craft your own from a smorgasbord of toppings. If pizza doesn’t take your fancy, Chevy’s menu features juicy burgers and hearty sandwiches like BLT and Philly steak and cheese too. Go on Thursdays and Fridays and enjoy a beer or two, or perhaps Chevy’s Bloody Mary bacon burger, to the sounds of live music.
Something of a Lake of the Ozarks tradition, locals and visitors make it their mission to stop by Randy’s Frozen Custard for a cooling, sweet treat during Missouri’s long, hot summers. All of Randy’s products are freshly made from scratch each day. Guests can choose from build-their-own concretes, shakes, malts and cones. A trip to the popular spot wouldn’t be complete without trying its famous Ozark Turtle sundae. This i a concoction of frozen custard with hot fudge and caramel sauce topped with toasted pecans. It has received recognition from the likes of Midwest Living magazine.
Nestled on a bluff overlooking the lake, Michael’s Steak Chalet has been delighting diners for more than 20 years with its award-winning steaks and romantic location. All of the restaurant’s steaks are 30-day aged and hand-trimmed. While the prime rib, slow roasted for 16 hours, is its most famous dish, there are plenty of tempting seafood dishes on the menu too. The grilled Norwegian salmon with a champagne dill sauce and beer-battered jumbo shrimp are among them. Head outside to Michael’s lovely patio on warm evenings and enjoy a selection from the extensive wine list as the sun sets over the lake.
Dog Days Bar & Grill | Courtesy Dog Days Bar & Grill
Quite possibly the Lake of the Ozarks’ best-loved summertime venues, Dog Days Bar & Grill is a seasonal restaurant dishing up tasty American dishes and signature cocktails alongside live music and fun events. Combine starters like fried pickles and snow crab legs with signature gourmet burgers like the cheddar en fuego – topped with cheddar cheese, candied pepper jam, bacon and raspberry sauce in a warm pretzel bun. Wash it down with one of Dog Days Bar & Grill’s legendary frozen cocktails. Go in June for fun entertainment like the annual Canine Cannonball and AquaPaloooza – the lake’s biggest boating and music event.
Located at the Landing on Main Street, a popular Osage Beach shopping district is this place. Just a short walk from the Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Yankee Peddlers Tea Room is a great lunchtime stop-off after exploring the local area. A quaint and cozy dining room welcomes guests to sip freshly brewed tea. They can also dine on fresh soups, delicious sandwiches, signature salads and daily specials. Diners with a sweet tooth will want to check out Yankee Peddlers’ ‘Sweet Finale’ menu for a range of homemade desserts. These include the turtle pie and blueberry cobbler.
A fixture of Osage Beach’s dining scene since opening in 1984, the long-standing Vista Grande is where local diners in the know head for their fix of tasty Mexican food. A cozy, bright interior decorated south of the border-style sets the scene for plates of chimichangas, fajitas and burritos. There are also local favorites like the Ozark – a flour tortilla filled with seasoned beef and beans, guacamole and sour cream topped with chile con queso and red sauce. Or opt for the grilled tilapia with rice, black beans and steamed vegetables. Top it off with one of Vista Grande’s Mexican beers or classic and frozen margaritas.