If dining hall food and ramen start to get a little old, Columbia has a wide range of options.
For those who want a classic restaurant off campus, are shopping on a budget, want a quick treat, have a few more dollars because their parents are picking up the tab or want a coffee shop to study at, Columbia has multiple options to try.
MU sophomore Leah Glasser enjoys that students have a range of eateries to choose from.
“I think Columbia offers a wide variety of options for students and community members,” Glasser said. “The food here can accommodate to all budgets and all taste buds.”
Shakespeare’s Pizza, which opened in 1973, is considered a Columbia institution. Tourist Katherine Hefner said she loves the restaurant for its great pizza, kind staff and how well it represents the vibe of Mizzou and Columbia.
“I like this place because one, the tradition; two, great staff and vibe; three, dough balls,” Hefner said.
Individual slices at lunch are popular at $3.25, and the restaurant typically draws a big crowd.
After students pull an all-nighter, Broadway Diner is a popular destination. It offers many classics such as burgers, fries and milkshakes along with breakfast foods for the early morning crowd.
Its well-known item, “The Stretch,” is a mix of hashbrowns, chili, eggs, cheddar cheese, pepper and onion.
Columbia resident Katie Ritchie instantly brought up the vintage eatery as a place students should check out.
“On weekends, the diner is packed with college students,” Ritchie said.
Arguably Columbia’s best-known restaurant, Booches, established in 1884, is known for its burgers.
MU senior Tyler Nicewarner gave it a strong review.
“They only accept cash, but the burgers are good and they got a lot of pool tables, so it’s kinda cool to hang out,” Nicewarner said.
Places to go when your parents visit
Sycamore is an American Grill that is an option when mom or dad use the credit card or cash. It offers happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. that includes many of its small dishes such as gnocchi, oysters and parmesan fries.
With food ranging from flatbreads to steak, Addison’s is another option for a downtown meal. The prices range is $10 to $24 a plate with appetizers being about $10 to $12.
MU senior Carter Sifferman gave Addison’s a favorable review.
“Addison’s was good and they had good nachos,” Sifferman said. “I heard they’re known for that. It was a nice building and the service.”
A few blocks from Addison’s, Flat Branch Pub & Brewing is popular among students, parents and professors. The restaurant has a little bit of everything: pizza, burgers, sandwiches, seafood, Mexican-inspired dishes, steak and pasta.
“Flat Branch was good, too,” Sifferman said. “We went with a really big party for lunch, so I was kinda worried about getting seated, but they seated us pretty quickly. The food was good there, too.”
It also has a selection of paleo and vegetarian options.
Best places to eat when you’re broke
Gumby’s is an option to get some pizza on a budget. It offers a student special that includes a medium pizza with two toppings and four pepperoni rolls for $12.99.
For those craving Mexican, Fuzzy’s Tacos offers foods such as salads, tacos, burritos, nachos and other shareable appetizers, all of which cost less than $10.
“Good tacos, and you buy it by the taco, so they’re like $2.50,” Nicewarmer said.
“They have good portions for the price.”
MidiCi, an Italian Kitchen, is another option for students to get together with friends for a meal on a student budget.
Tyler Skupien, a 2019 MU graduate, recommends MidiCi to any student wanting Italian food without spending too much cash.
“We are an Italian family,” Skupien said. “I think it is great authentic Italian food for the money.”
Where to satisfy your sweet tooth
With doughnuts made fresh every morning, Harold’s Doughnuts is an option to get something sweet. Hefner recommended Harold’s because she said it has “a friendly staff and great donuts.”
Sparky’s Ice Cream, which is named after a white bulldog, is another downtown option. The original flavors such as banana nutella, dark chocolate mandarin orange and honey lavender set them apart.
“The flavors are just different than every place else,” Henry said.
Although it is open year-round, The Candy Factory can have lines out the door near Valentine’s Day because of its renowned chocolate-covered strawberries. Get there early.
Where to have a cram session
Kaldi’s Coffee, which started in the St. Louis area in 1994, is a coffee shop that is often used for a study space because it offers a lot of seating and large tables.
It has a lot of coffee items and offer dairy free milk options such as oat milk, almond milk and soy milk.
A longtime favorite, Lakota Coffee Co. is another spot with a large student following because of its atmosphere. Along with coffee, the shop has tea, pastries and sandwiches.
MU sophomore Carol Ann Barshop recently started getting coffee there, and it has quickly become a favorite.
“The coffee is just really good there,” Barshop said.
For those looking to get away from downtown, The Grind Coffee House has three locations in town.
“No matter where I was in town, I could always get to The Grind, plus they have a lot of coffee options,” Henry said.
Those in a rush will appreciate the drive-thru services at The Grind Coffee House locations.
Ava Grubb is a student at Lemont High School in Lemont, Ill. Fernando Braganza is a student at Plainfield East High School in Plainfield, Ill.