Hannibal holds a rich history as a Mississippi River town

Hannibal, a town in northeast Missouri along the Mississippi River, was founded by Moses D. Bates in 1819. Hannibal was the boyhood home of Samuel Clemens, who authored many books inspired by his upbringing in Hannibal. 

Walking down Main Street in Hannibal, visitors will come upon a brick building with lace curtains hanging in the windows.

It's Ole Planters, a family restaurant serving home-style food that caters to locals and tourists alike.

Inside, the restaurant appears small and narrow, but there's more seating behind a divider and almost every table has a small oil lamp lighting the center. Old prints and antiques line the walls, setting up the charming setting for this family-owned place. 

Known for its home-cooking diners can choose among a variety of meals, such as lasagna and parmesan chicken, burgers and barbecue, Ole Planters is also famous for its breaded tenderloin, which can be ordered as a sandwich ($8.50) or a plate ($9.75) with salad, corn, a roll and German-style green beans.

Southern fried chicken in iron skillet, two pieces of chicken white or dark, three vegetables, bread and butter is $8.75. On St. Patrick's Day, corned beef and cabbage special with new boiled potatoes, corn, and green beans was $8.25.

If saving room for dessert is possible, Ole Planters makes all their pies from scratch. While German chocolate is the favorite, the restaurant rotate through 96 flavors of pie as the seasons change, according to the owner Jack Noonan.

Noonan has been here since the beginning when Ole Planters opened its doors in 1976. The building was the first general store in Hannibal, called Smarr's and built in 1856.

It was the site of the first homicide in Hannibal, after Smarr and a customer staged a shoot-out on the street over a dispute with the bill. The customer lost, Noonan said. 

The city condemned the building after the flood of 1973. A non-profit group was established to raise money and save the building from demolition.

The restaurant is open from March and through Dec. 24. From April through October, it's open seven days a week for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday for dinner.

  • Community reporter, Spring 2019 studying Photojournalism Reach me at jrhdhd@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700


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