Yes, it’s often overcrowded; and yes, there’s hardly room for locals, what with all the tourists who eat here; and yes, service can be brusque. But there is no denying the goodness of food at Branson Cafe.
Here in the heart of an extremely well-visited town, a restaurant easily could be successful serving portion-control fare delivered ready to heat and serve. But this kitchen is the real deal, where pork tenderloins are cut, hand-breaded, and fried to a golden crisp. The meat inside is sweet and succulent; in a sandwich with lettuce, tomato and onion or on a plate topped with cream gravy, it is a country-cooking paradigm.
The menu is replete with such comfort-food staples as pot roast, meat loaf, fried chicken, hot roast beef on Texas toast, Frito pie, and — for breakfast — freshly baked biscuits with sausage gravy. No matter what else you order, do consider onion rings. They cost more than ordinary side dishes, but they are worth every penny. Battered lightly enough that crust is a mere veil around tender hoops of onion, they are fallapart fragile and melt-in-the-mouth savory & salty and vegetable-sweet.
As for what can be brusque service from the team of good ol’ gals who operate the place: Hey, that’s unaffected diner attitude utterly appropriate in a busy town cafe. Anyway, by the time I was finished with my meal, I had earned the moniker “Sweetie” from the one who took care of me.