(B indicates breakfast; L indicates lunch; D indicates dinner.)
1. The Rails Catfish & Seafood Buffet
Established in 1993 and located in Branson, the eatery has old railroad decor and is famous for catfish.
433 Animal Safari Road,
Branson, 417-336-3401. Hours are selective and seasonal, so please call ahead.
2. Arthur Bryant’s
Famous statewide for barbecue, Arthur Bryant is known as the “King of Ribs” and has attracted the likes of Harry Truman, Steven Spielberg and Jack Nicholson. There are two locations in Kansas City, Mo., and one in Kansas City, Kan. arthurbryantsbbq.com. 1727 Brooklyn Ave., Kansas City, Mo., 816-231-1123; 1702 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, Kan., 913-788-7500; 3200 N. Ameristar Drive, Kansas City, Mo., 816-414-7474. L/D. Open every day.
3. Cookin’ From Scratch
They’re famous for their delicious fried chicken, and they also have a deli that makes pizzas and other eats.
90 Truman St., Newburg, 573-762-3111. B/L/D. Open every day, but no dinner on Sundays.
4. Adam Puchta Winery
The oldest family-owned winery in the state is located in Hermann; it is a great place to escape for a day and sample some wine.
www.adampuchtawine.com, 1947 Frene Creek Road, Hermann, 573-486-5596. Open every day, but hours are seasonal.
5. Booches Billiard Hall
In the heart of Columbia, the restaurant is known for its small, juicy burgers. Don’t expect a check or plates; instead a sever will tell you what you owe, and there’s parchment paper for the burgers. With a small-town feel, dark décor, a massive wooden bar and billiards tables, be prepared to wait for good food.
110 S. Ninth St., Columbia, 573-874-9519.
L/D. Closed Sundays (they will “see you in church”).
5. Lambert’s Café
With two locations in Missouri – Sikeston and Ozark – this restaurant is known as the “only home of the throwed rolls.” It also serves traditional Missouri fare such as catfish and fried chicken.
L/D. Open every day. throwedrolls.com,
2305 East Malone, Sikeston, 573-471-4261; 1800 W. Route J, Ozark, 417-581-7655.