What should I eat around Columbia, Missouri?
December 9, 2009 12:29 PM   Subscribe

I'm visiting a friend in CoMo this weekend for a little less than a week and I'd like to immerse myself in some heartland goodness. What should I eat along highway 40 between KC and STL?

I'm from SF, love food and stuff, and have never been to the midwest. I would love to find food I never come across here, down home stuff, I'm not vegetarian and I love county fair and southern cooking, so pretty much anything is good for me. Unhealthy is OK, too!

I'm flying in/out of Kansas City/MCI, so I imagine BBQ recommendations are in order. We'll also probably go to St. Louis one day, so anything there is welcome as well. I'm particularly interested in wayside options during the 2hr(?) drives between Columbia and each of those cities, though.
posted by rhizome to Travel & Transportation around Columbia, MO (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ted Drewes, man.
posted by liketitanic at 12:37 PM on December 9, 2009

Shakespeare's Pizza in Columbia is not to be missed.
posted by something something at 12:43 PM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

Mug's Up

Go to the City Museum when you're in the STL.
posted by nitsuj at 1:06 PM on December 9, 2009

There are several "famous" barbecue places in KC (Arthur Bryants probably the one mentioned most) but for my money L C's Bar-B-Q is the spot you want to hit.

It's on your way from the airport to Columbia, just off I-70, about 30 minutes from the KC airport, and just the kind down-home, dive-y looking place you would never stop at if you were just driving by--but actually has some of the best barbecue in town.
posted by flug at 1:28 PM on December 9, 2009

Flat Branch! I mean, if you're driving, you won't be able to partake in the microbrewery goodness.. or you could just get yourself a growler. The food is seriously wonderful.

If you're hankering for small batch ice cream, I believe that Sparky's (on 9th street) is open on the weekends this year. They usually have a phenomenal red wine and chocolate chunk ice cream that uses wine from Les Bourgeois, the winery in Rocheport.

Shakespeare's is the token Columbia pizza place. I enjoyed the whole wheat crusts, but as a St. Louis pizza person, It's not my favorite.

Sophia's and Addison's are both really good, owned by the same people. They're both upscale-ish, I prefer Sophia's to Addison's.

Sycamore on Broadway is good. There's an Albanian restaurant on Broadway called Felini that's pretty good. Koi on 10th has decent sushi and a sizable sake menu. The Cherry Street Artisan has good coffee and lunch dishes, and often has live music. Lakota (on 9th) is also good for coffee and chatting; Kayotea for the same, only with tea.

Good barbecue comes from Buckingham's. The 9th Street Deli carries Dr. Pepper made with cane sugar (rather than HFCS), and the sandwiches are typically good.
I genuinely hope that you enjoy Columbia - it's a great town with a lot of character (and which I am often intensely homesick for!).
posted by honeybee413 at 1:51 PM on December 9, 2009

In St. Louis, I'd recommend Crown Candy Kitchen. Their chili, with a shake made from ice cream made on site, is fantastic.

St. Louis specific food: gooey butter cake, toasted ravioli, Imo's Pizza (Cheez whiz on a cracker, but you've gotta at least try it!). St. louis has at least three smaller breweries - O'Fallon, Schlafly (relatively large; downtown, great venue, great food), and Charleville. THere's others that don't necessarily have anything available package.

As for things to do in the 'Lou, the City Museum really is a blast. If it's not too cold, I always recommend Missouri Botanical Gardens (full disclosure: I'm a member, and go there about once a week). Between CoMo and STL, it's either farmland or the worst kind of exurban sprawl, but about 20 miles east of Columbia (exit 148) is Kingdom City - might want to drive around there to get a feel for a real truck stop.
posted by notsnot at 2:49 PM on December 9, 2009

Oh, and if the timing is right, perhaps we can set up a meetup in St. Louis! We love that! We're dorks!
posted by notsnot at 2:52 PM on December 9, 2009

Personally I like the burgers at Booche's.

For ideas, you may want to check out these two blogs from local CoMo gourmands:

CoMo Whine and Dine

Show Me Eats

If you like "down home cooking," then you may want to try Mississippi Fish Shack on Broadway in Columbia. I've heard mixed reviews. Most folks agree it was better when it was in Boonville. Glenn's, which is located outside of Columbia in Boonville, usually gets rave reviews. Sycamore can be a bit pricey, but it's among the finer restaurants in town. I know at least one federal judge who says it's favorite restaurant outside of Chicago.

Be safe downtown late at night, but otherwise, have a great time. It's colder than a well-digger's bottom here right now, so bundle up!
posted by Coyote at the Dog Show at 3:15 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also, if you do want to try BBQ in the Columbia region, I prefer Smokin' Chicks to Buckingham's. The service there can be spotty, but the food is good. For the best, I recommend Lutz's in Jefferson City, which is located in a BP gas station in front of Barnes and Noble. They have the best BBQ in Mid-MO and make their own homemade potato chips. I once ate an entire box and gave myself the stomachache of a lifetime. Still, the BBQ in Mid-MO pales in comparison to the BBQ in Southwest Missouri where I'm from. Enjoy your visit!
posted by Coyote at the Dog Show at 3:18 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's a place along 70 btw como and stl called Lambert's -- they advertise themselves as "The home of the throwed roll," which apparently means that they actually throw rolls at you. Always meant to check that out.

When you're in STL, hit up Imo's for some STL-style pizza, which you will NOT find outside of STL. Also, toasted ravioli.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:04 PM on December 9, 2009

With all due respect to Afroblanco, there are only three Lambert's. One is in Ozark, Missouri (south of Branson off I-44); one in Sikeston, Missouri (Southeast Missouri); and the original in Foley, Alabama.
posted by Coyote at the Dog Show at 6:21 PM on December 9, 2009

StL: Blues City Deli, Soulard Coffee Garden, Blueberry Hill, Dewey's Pizza, Blackthorn Pub, (South) City Diner, Pho Grand, ad infinitum. Naturally, there are enough Arch Citizens around here to give good advice. Hit us up.

Skip the St Louis-style pie. [flees from the natives]
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 6:45 PM on December 9, 2009

Abigail's in Rocheport, about 20 minutes from CoMo on the KC side of 70, is good. The ingredients are always fresh, so the menu changes daily.

Also, your friend will probably know that the Artisan has closed/been renamed. *Sniff* I haven't brought myself to go into the new version. Maybe it's good...
posted by bibliophibianj at 7:01 PM on December 9, 2009

Coyote at the Dog Show: "With all due respect to Afroblanco, there are only three Lambert's.

There is, inexplicably, a sign advertising the Sikeston restaurant somewhere about MM 160, east of Kingdom City.

(can you tell I've driven STL to Columbia a bunch?)
posted by notsnot at 8:34 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

I CANNOT BELIEVE no one has mentioned Tropical Liqueurs in Columbia. Now that I live in St. Louis, I have not been able to find anything like it anywhere!!
posted by mynameismandab at 9:20 PM on December 9, 2009

In KC:

Try Oklahoma Joe's BBQ. I think you'll find it just lovely. It will be a little further south than I-70, but reasonable.


On the way to CoMo:

Stop in at Stuckey's. It's a gas station with a DQ in it. Added bonus of a porn shop across the street. It's in Nelson, which is about halfway from KC to CoMo.
posted by damionbroadaway at 9:04 AM on December 10, 2009

notsnot: How weird - I never noticed that before. Thanks for the heads up.

FWIW, Lambert's is okay, and borders on being one of those places you might want to visit once in your life if you're nearby, but wouldn't want to go miles out of your way for. The servers walk around yelling out, "Who wants to take a pea?" which gets the customers to laugh. The food is okay, but the highlight of a visit is catching a throwed roll.
posted by Coyote at the Dog Show at 1:16 PM on December 10, 2009

I like Lucy's in CoMo for breakfast.
posted by jvilter at 11:35 AM on December 14, 2009

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