What To Eat in Missouri
The barbecue of Kansas City is legendary, rightfully so. But K.C., MO, also is home to four-star fried chicken dinners and blue-ribbon steaks. And let’s not forget St. Louis, which has its own fine barbecue customs as well as custard to die for. The Gateway City offers a multitude of unique specialties that include toasted ravioli, St. Paul sandwiches (egg foo young on white bread), and a sweet tooth’s best friend, gooey butter cake.
With a smoke-cooking heritage that derives from both deep south and Texas traditions, Kansas City is a barbecue lover's paradise. Both pork ribs and beef brisket are at their best, not to mention chopped and sliced pork, hot links, and even mutton. Sauce plays a major role in KC barbecue, adding spicy drama to mellow meat. And to the east, St. Louis has its own treasure trove of great smoke-cooked meals.
A low-rise pastry unique to St. Louis, gooey butter cake has a tender crust around the edge and a middle that is custard-soft and overwhelmingly sweet. Originally it was simply yellow cake mixed with butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar. City bakers have taken the idea and run with it, creating such flavors as banana split, white chocolate raspberry, Amaretto, Butterfinger and funky monkey. Center cuts are dripping-moist; outside segments tend to be a balance of gooeyness and plain cake.
Also known as a Wilbur, the Slinger is a kitchen-sink breakfast unique to St. Louis. Eaten for lunch or breakfast or as a pre-dawn prophylactic for an oncoming hangover, its exact configuration varies, but a typical slinger would be two hamburger patties sided by fried potatoes, topped with a fried egg or two, completely blanketed with chili, then garnished with grated cheese and chopped raw onions.
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From-scratch cooking and breakfast all day (until early afternoon closing) make the Hungry Hunter a favorite diner among travelers as well as locals.
Grandma Ruth's utterly fresh, oven-warm cinnamon rolls are a true taste of country baking in Branson, Missouri.
The Branson Cafe remains a bastion of from-scratch home cooking on Main Street. Comfort food includes magnificent onion rings, great tenderloins & mighty pies.
O'Connell's is a popular Irish corner pub with excellent burgers, roast beef sandwiches, and famous house-made Mayfair dressing.
The Keeter Center restaurant, staffed by students from College of the Ozarks, is an oasis of sophisticated country fare and warm hospitality.
Danna's is a big, happy purveyor of hand-pattied burgers and long-smoked meats including ribs, pork, brisket, sausage & chicken.
LC's is one of the great BBQ restaurants in Kansas City. The legendary burnt ends sandwich is immense. Fresh-cut French fries are first rate.
The St. Louis dessert delight, gooey butter cake, is best at Park Avenue, which makes 76 flavors. Expertly brewed coffee is the cake's good companion.
With options from traditional St. Louis ribs to vegetarian falafel burgers, Salt & Smoke is a favorite haunt for locals & visitors on the St. Louis Loop.