Today’s favorites come from Columbia Tourism Ambassador, Carla Hunter.
When Alumni come back to CoMo, they look forward to visiting their favorite eating and drinking establishments from their days at the University of Missouri. When the friends I have known since college are visiting, they normally request going to the following traditional destinations:
Thank goodness The Heidelberg rebuilt after the fire that significantly damaged their building in 2003. This local landmark was voted “Best Happy Hour” in 2014 and features Buy One-Get One Free appetizers. Popular sandwiches include their Reuben and their house made pork tenderloin, which is double the size of the bun. Convenient for Reunions, The Berg has a Brunch Buffet on Sundays and will reserve space for seating large parties.
This locally-owned sandwich shop was a popular destination for Sunday dinner during my college years. While the Sub Shop on campus was torn down when the Reynolds Alumni Center was built, the restaurant on 8th Street is located just a short distance away. The menu and their ordering system, which uses playing cards, are similar to the 1970’s when they first opened. And, fortunately, the bread they use when making their sandwiches still tastes the same.
While some can’t recollect the specifics about their times at Broadway Diner, this local relic is still fondly remembered as part of infamous weekend activities. Moved to a different location (from Broadway to 4th Street), the building itself is as unique as its signature dish, the Stretch.
Decades before being voted by Good Morning America as the “Best College Hangout,” Shakespeare’s Pizza was a popular favorite of both students and locals. With two additional locations now in Columbia, it is somewhat easier to get a table on a busy weekend. The South and West locations also have large party rooms, which are convenient for Reunion get-togethers.
There have been no noticeable changes at Booches over the last several decades. The menu features popular slider hamburgers served on pieces of wax paper. Long lines routinely extend out the door on busy weekends.
I recommend that Alumni try some additional CoMo restaurants that have opened since they graduated. These establishments reflect Columbia’s ever-changing personality. Each of these is also easy walking distance within The District.
Columbia has a wide variety of ethnic restaurants. While it is hard to choose just one, I took a former college roommate to try Kui Korean BBQ on 9th Street last winter. With the flavorful food and friendly service, she now asks to go back each time she is in town. Their menu offerings are reasonably priced and include soup and salad. Their flavored teas are also a great addition to your meal.
If you want a delicious grilled burger, there is another popular option in CoMo. Located on Broadway near the western edge of the District is Billiard’s on Broadway. They have a large seating area and lengthy menu including hot dogs and house cut French fries. While waiting on your burger to be made according to your size and specifications, you can play a game of darts or pool.
Sparky’s got national attention with their cicada-inspired ice cream several years ago. However, it is the flavors they create each day using local and seasonal ingredients that have gotten them outstanding recognition. Open 10 years, Sparky’s is always a fun stop along 9th Street. Upon request, their ice cream creators will also make a unique flavor for a special occasion like a college reunion.
Room 38 has a daily Happy Hour featuring specialty drinks and original appetizer creations. Their menu is described as modern global cuisine, with sharing plates such as edamame, seared dumplings, and prosciutto wrapped asparagus. Their lobster mac and cheese is simply too good to share.
Columbia has a wide range of restaurant options including the traditional spots that stand the test of time, as well as a newer selection that will provide a pleasant surprise. Have fun trying something new or returning to an old favorite.