Branson, MO  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Branson Area Features

Delicious Eats in Branson

Family meals are a big part of life in the Midwest. It’s a time to sit around the table, have meaningful conversations, and share some amazing food. In Branson, there are several different food items that are beloved by many and found on menus throughout the city. Here are a few recommended dishes and cuisines to try.

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). It’s a great item to share with friends and family. Served with a sauce like a spicy ranch, this pick-apart dish is always a crowd-pleaser!

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! Visit Shorty Small’s across from the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center & Theatre for barbeque ribs that are “Jumpin’-Off-The-Bone” tender!

At the College of the Ozarks (also called Hard Work University), students learn life skills without having to pay tuition. Instead, they work for the school. In the Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen, products are made from scratch and sold to the public. Their “homemade” 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. A number of jellies are also available including cherry, boysenberry, strawberry-rhubarb, and pear honey. While you’re there, be sure to take home one of their famous and in-demand fruitcakes!

Gather ‘round the dinner table and partake of a traditional family meal. 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!

Save some room for dessert and try 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 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.

After ordering the delicious foods that will fill your stomach, it’s time to turn your attention to the beverages made locally in Branson.

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 of the winery are given for those who would like to learn about the process.

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, 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. Stop in for a delicious 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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