Where To Eat : Lake of the Ozarks Edition 2011

Posted by Vanessa in News, May 24, 2011

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When we were getting ready to move to the lake a few years ago, I spent some time looking for places to eat in our new neck of the woods.  What I found, you wonder?  Two great reviews for a restaurant that was, wait for it…

Closed.

Yep.  So very, very helpful.

So I thought I’d share with you where we like to eat, and hope to hear from other locals too.  We’re always looking for a new place to try.  And hopefully others visiting or moving here might come across this and have an idea where to get some grub.

I am a bit nervous about posting this because I’d hate to leave a great place out, so just know that for now, here’s a few places we frequent.  We by all means haven’t eaten everywhere here at the lake, but here’s some of our current favorites.

Fine Dining

As far as a nice meal goes, like somewhere The Phoenix would take me on a date (not super formal though, nothing at the lake is)…try JJ’s at the Copper Pot – also known as my favorite place to eat here.  A little out of the way (it’s actually in Laurie, so about 25 minutes from Lake Ozark), but for the foodie in me, totally worth the drive and the toll fee you have to pay to go over the bridge ($3/each way during peak season).

Their salad rocks.  They make all their dressings in-house, along with the croutons, which add just the perfect texture, and they bring out all three of their dressings to the table so you can sample them all.  Plus, it’s unlimited.  Score.  The filet’s the best we’ve had here, and it’s priced better than some other places that really are, well, let’s just say I’ll never be bragging about them here.  It’s treated simply, and they bring out an au jus to dip in.    And, finally, for dessert, we like the lavender creme brulee and the chocolate molten cake of sorts.  Both get two thumbs up.

BBQ

Wobbly Boots : We’ve only had takeout from here because they allow smoking in their restaurant and we don’t tend to take our little birds to places like that, but we’ve had many people recommend it to us.  And they’ve even been mentioned in magazines like Southern Living, so it’s gotta be good.

Half-Sauced : We love their pulled pork with the sweet BBQ sauce.  They don’t have the best choice of sides, but the meat’s top notch.

Pizza

Chicago Bros. & Batters Box are owned by the same people and they make some good pizza.  If we’re having pizza night and I’m not making it from scratch, this is who we call.  Oh, and Batters Box (Lake Ozark off of W) is smoke-free, but be forewarned that you’ll smell like an ashtray after leaving Chicago Bros (Osage Beach off 54 on KK).

Frozen Custard

Andy’s Frozen Custard : There’s a few frozen custard places to choose from, and in my opinion, all about the same quality, so we usually frequent Andy’s because, well, it has a drive-through.  I mean, seriously, what momma of two little ones wouldn’t?  I’m always telling The Phoenix that there’s a few places (say, Panera) that I’d go to way more often if they only had a drive-through.  Because most of the time, I figure the food’s not worth all the energy it takes to take two toddlers in with me.

Mexican

$1 Taco Tuesdays at Mexicali Blues : When we lived closer, we went there just about every Tuesday for tacos – the pork tacos to be exact.  The rest of them are okay, but their pulled pork is awesome.  It actually inspired my search to find a recipe I could make at home that we’d love just as much.  Insert Sweet & Smoky Pork Tacos here.  I will give you a heads up though, the Mexican restaurants here at the lake make some less-than-awesome salsa, and this one is very tomato-y, like a thick tomato puree and I’m pretty sure they use chili powder in it too, which is, um…weird.

Breakfast

On The Rise Bakery : Adore their brown sugar and blueberry pancakes and the beignets with raspberry melba dipping sauce.  On The Rise is more of an upscale place.

Kay’s has made-to-order all-you-can-eat breakfast and it’s good stuff, especially the french toast.  The Phoenix also loves their Western Omelet.  You can find us there pretty much every Sunday after church.  Kay’s is much more casual.

With young kiddos

HyVee Salad Bar (it’s free for young kids and what kid doesn’t like a plate full of fresh fruit).  The food for the rest of us isn’t something I leave there ever feeling great about, but it’s not altogether terrible.  I’d say a few steps above the average cafeteria, if you know what I’m saying.  They have a pizza, Chinese (my favorite’s the Sesame Chicken), a Salad bar and traditional American fare (you know, chicken, potatoes, lots of veggie sides, etc.  But be forewarned that in this category, they need a few lessons in seasoning their food.  Seriously.)  But my little ones love it there and I can feel good about all the fresh fruit and veggies they’re eating.

Greek

We’re quickly becoming big fans of Arris Pizza.  It’s a Greek restaurant that has addicting pita bread, along with some quality dishes.  The Phoenix loves the gyro and I’ve had the Chicken Sharas (charbroiled chicken) a few times – it’s so moist, I wish I could cook chicken like that at home – and the Atlas pizza (chicken, bacon, spinach and tomatoes).  Both I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.  But really, we go there because I crave the fresh pita bread.  It’s delicious.

Thai/Chinese

Wok N Roll :  I’m a big fan of their Paad Thai and the Foley Pork.  It’s a small place (only 3 tables, but they are expanding and will have quite a few more tables available soon) plus there’s always room for take-out.

And One More (as if this isn’t already way too long of a post)

Baxter’s is a pretty decent place with a nice atmosphere and great view of the lake.  The Phoenix is addicted to their Sweet Potato Fries (sometimes we go there just for them) and they also have really good Baby Back Ribs too.  I’ve tried quite a few things on the menu and it’s all okay, but nothing I crave or usually order twice.  I usually end up with the Caprese Salad because it’s hard to mess that up and it’s one of my favorite things in the world.  But I felt like I couldn’t leave it off my list because we do eat there fairly often.

So there you have it.  Locals (and anyone else who’s been here), what places top your list?  Where should we check out next?

3 Responses to “Where To Eat : Lake of the Ozarks Edition 2011”

  1. Natalie says:

    Hey Vanessa,
    I too am a FOOD- E! Coming from New York to the Lake Area was a shock to the taste buds. My husband and I LOVE so many restaurants here and have decided that batter fried lobster tail and onion rings are the lake area delicacies!

    We are most excited lately about a little place on KK, called The Vine. You can taste the FRESH ingredients on their pizza, my husband loves all of their varieties of bruschetta, and the house made hummus. . . . and Rebecca has never disappointed us in her wine selection, it’s always a great pairing!

    I also must mention my latest favorite breakfast/lunch place called The Paint Box Cafe. Also on KK, it’s a treat to walk in and smell home made baking bread, which will eventually become my customized ‘Sammie’. Too many treats to mention, I go every chance I get. : )
    Thank YOu for your blog, it’s exactly what I need, tried and true delicious recipes. (I need all the help I can get), natalie.

  2. Vanessa says:

    Hi Natalie,
    Thank you for the restaurant recommendations. I’ve never been to either one of those places (we live by the dam so we don’t get that way too often), but I told my husband that we’ve got to go try them out now! Can’t wait!

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