Branson, MO  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Branson Area Features

Taste of Branson

Most regions of the country have a particular food that is unique to them. It’s something that visiting travelers must try, like pizza in Chicago or gumbo in New Orleans. In Branson, it’s not just one single food but a variety of dishes that bring unique and interesting flavors to the table. Many of these foods are made from scratch using local ingredients and a whole lot of love!

Local Food Finds

Speaking of love of local foods, Missourians adore their barbeque! Though the state has two claims-to-fame—Kansas City and St. Louis style barbeque—you’ll also find barbeque styles from around the nation including Texas and Memphis. In Missouri, it doesn’t matter if the meat used is beef, pork, chicken or even fish, so long as it is rubbed with dry spices, slowly cooked to perfection and topped or served with a sweet and tangy tomato-based sauce. Ribs are perhaps the most popular barbeque dish and never disappoint in this region. Each bite is fall-off-the-bone tender!

Branson is known for having strong family values and often, those tenets are formed around the dinner table with a shared homemade dinner. Local restaurants excel in creating those same dishes that fill the stomach and warm the soul. These are your comfort foods such as meatloaf, mashed potatoes, fried catfish or chicken, pot roast, prime rib and even lasagna. And it’s usually very difficult to choose between such mouth-watering options. Fortunately, Branson has a number of top-notch buffets where you can try them all!

“Throwed” or tossed rolls are famous in Missouri not only for their deliciously soft interior and buttery flavor but also for the way they are served. The staff will literally throw the roll—sometimes across the entire restaurant—to a hungry diner. Once the catch has been made, the roll is topped with more creamy butter and sorghum (a syrup that is similar to molasses but made from the grassy sorghum plant instead of sugar cane). Branson visitors can try to catch a roll at Fall Creek Steak and Catfish House or travel 30 minutes north to Lambert’s in the city of Ozark. No catcher’s mitts are required!

A well-liked appetizer found on many area menus is the onion loaf. A whole onion is cut into “strings” before each piece is battered and deep-fried. Then, all of the fried onions are formed into a loaf while still in the fryer (another fry basket is used to form the shape). Served with a sauce like a spicy ranch, this shareable, pick-apart dish is always a crowd-pleaser!

While in Branson, definitely stop for a slice of pie that tastes like those grandma used to make. From sweet to savory, every variety can be found—or made. One of the best places to try a slice of this decadent dessert (or buy a whole one to take home) is McFarlain’s Family Restaurant, located in the Branson’s IMAX® Entertainment Complex. The restaurant’s menu is based on regional fare and on the featured movie, Ozarks: Legacy and Legend. Here, you’ll find a large assortment of cream and fruit-based pies that are made in-house as well as cobblers and hearty meals. Be sure to try their Branson Traffic Jam Pie—it’s a perfect mix of cherries, strawberries, cranberries and rhubarb within a flaky, golden crust.

Apple butter is a delicious blend of slowly cooked apples with sugar and spices such as cinnamon, allspice, and clove. Strangely, there is no butter in the recipe as the name might indicate, but before spreading this concoction onto toast for a tasty treat, you may want to spread some butter on the bread for a slightly richer flavor. Apple butter can be found in numerous stores throughout the city, but it is also made (and available for sale) by students at The College of the Ozarks in the Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen. While you’re there, be sure to take home one of their famous and in-demand fruitcakes!

Local Beverages

Adults will find a nice selection of potent beverages to complement their meals in and around the city. Nearly 40 years ago, St. James Winery began southwest of St. Louis as a means to create easy-drinking wine. Now, it has grown into Missouri’s largest vineyard and has recently opened a second location in Branson! This family-operated business produces award-winning wines that are winning over oenophiles from around the world. The winery reflects the family’s Italian heritage while creating blends from grapes that have historically flourished in Missouri. Stop by their new location to try the highly recommended Vignoles or Estate Norton. Those with sweeter palates may opt for one of their fruit wines or a cider. Non-alcoholic grape juice is also available so everyone in the group can come, relax, and enjoy a refreshing beverage. There is even a restaurant on-site for a fantastic meal.

Curling Vine Winery offers approximately 12 wines available for tasting including their popular Norton—a bold red wine. Those who prefer sweeter wines may want to try fruit-infused wines such as the Twisted Cranberry or Twisted Blackberry. Free tours are given of the winery and the new Twisted Copper Moonshine Still Museum, which recently opened for exploration.

To try some Missouri whiskey and other small batch spirits, visit Missouri Ridge Distillery just a few miles north of Branson. They produce their single-malt whiskey and corn whiskey using traditional methods and the local limestone-rich waters, which results in this smooth beverage. Bourbon and moonshine are also made by the distiller and are available for purchase. If you’re at Branson Landing, visit Smith Creek Moonshine for tastes of spirits of many flavors—from Sweet Tea to Butter Cake and even Chocolate Silk. In addition to the moonshine, order one of their delicious handcrafted and stuffed burgers while listening to live entertainment. Along the “76 Strip,” whiskeys, bourbons and local Missouri products are the primary focus of Crown Valley Distillery and Bistro, but they also serve hard ciders and beers. This family-friendly destination even has a soda tasting section for those who prefer alcohol-free drinks or are too young to partake. They too have a great menu at their bistro that features unique pizzas, sandwiches and more using locally raised bison or pork. Stop in for a delicious snack to go with your cocktail!

From fine dining to cheap eats, served with outstanding beverages, you’ll find a smorgasbord of culinary creations that will tempt your palate. Dig in and try some of the best cuisine that Branson has to offer!

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