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Dining

By Katie Jackson

table of food at Glenn's Cafe in Columbia MO“Who’s in Columbia?” my co-worker Aubrey asked. It was a valid question. I’d just told her where Evan and I were spending the weekend. Many people travel to visit the two customary “f’s”—friends and family. But for my husband and I, there’s a third “f” worth traveling for. The reason we were driving to the heart of the Show-Me State? Food.

First tastes, lasting impressions

“Is this a park or a brewery?” Evan asked, more in amusement than confusion. “It’s both,” I answered. Logboat Brewing Company was our first stop in Columbia. A grassy sea of green surrounded the industrial building housing the brewing facilities and taproom. The outside picnic tables were full of patrons nursing their frothy pints. It was sweater weather so blankets and lawn chairs accommodated the rest of the crowd playing corn hole and bocce ball or standing in line at the food truck. It wasn’t a festival. It was just another day at Logboat Park—aptly named for its centerpiece, a wooden carved canoe.list of beers on tap at Logboat Brewing Co. listed out on separate wooden boardsInside, the wood craftsmanship struck us as much as the earthy aroma of hops. Reclaimed Missouri heart pine made up the exposed beams, table tops and wraparound bar where the bartender gave us a condensed version of the brewery’s history. Behind her, a glass wall provided a peek into the beer-making process. The ginger wheat brews she poured into our glasses had logged many hours in those stainless-steel cylinders.

“You can find our brews in many local restaurants like Flyover,” the bartender said when we settled our tab and prepared to find food. She mentioned that Flyover—a tongue-in-cheek reference to what many people mistake states like Missouri for—boasted a wood-fired stone oven. We already had dinner plans, but I decided it might be a good après-supper stop after learning the kitchen was open until midnight. Evan and I were no strangers to progressive dinners.exterior of Flyover restaurantAn hour and a mile later, we were seated at the bar belonging to Barred Owl Butcher & Table. At least five shelves high and reachable by a sliding ladder on a track, it was pretty much a library of libations. But we weren’t at Barred Owl for its craft cocktails. Like Logboat, the establishment had a glass partition providing a behind-the-scenes look at its menu. In this case, it was carcasses artfully hanging from hooks.

“Butcher Board, extra bresaola.”

Our waiter set down a thick wooden cutting board piled high with paper-thin slices of salchicon, salami Calabrese, ham hock terrine and Evan’s favorite—bresaola. “It’s an epicurean adult Lunchable,” I noted, reaching for a piece of baguette and cheese to pair with the sustainably-sourced meat. The waiter explained how the spread came from local purveyors. Ironically, our next dish—a mix of Gaeta, Cerignola and Castelvetrano olives—came from obscure regions in Italy. “I can’t tell if this place highlights food from local farms or foreign countries,” I said.

“It does both,” Evan remarked, popping an olive into his smiling mouth.

All’s well that eats well

“Romano, Romano, wherefore art thou Romano?” I inquired dramatically the next day at lunch. Covered in flour and smelling of garlic, we were in downtown Columbia’s most popular pizza joint: Shakespeare’s. But, instead of sitting in the dining room, devouring signature pizzas like the Darwin—a healthy pie named for Columbia’s athletic former mayor—we were creating our own concoctions in the restaurant’s kitchen. Evan had booked us a “Shakespearience”— a cooking class complete with a tour of Shakespeare’s “Secret Room” where they mix 4,000 pounds of dough per week. In fact, the package was so thorough that after eating our eight-inch pies, we got to do the dishes.veggie pizza at Shakespeare's PizzaSeveral hours of shopping later, it was time to refuel. Columbia’s downtown area—The District—has an equal shop-to-restaurant ratio, so there was certainly no shortage of dinner options. Ultimately, we succumbed to my taco craving, finding ourselves a coveted corner table at 44 Canteen. It seemed fitting we’d end the day enjoying another finger food heaped with toppings. Pickled red onion spirals, shaved cabbage, jalapeño coins and a generous dusting of Cotija adorned my chicken tacos. Local cucumber kimchi, ssamjang mayo, pickled mustard seeds and cilantro sprigs topped Evan’s caramelized Berkshire porkbelly on steamed buns—44 Canteen’s taco de jour.

“How is it?” I asked.

“A dish fit for the gods,” he replied, doing his best impersonation of Brutus. I suppose if I could start the day referencing Romeo and Juliet, he had every right to end it reciting Julius Caesar.

Sunday is brunch, Bangkok and beer

“It’s BYOI,” our waiter at Broadway Brewery said the next morning. The bluegrass band began playing an hour ago but it was growing by the minute. Locals kept walking in carrying guitars, fiddles and banjos—ready to jam for the Sunday brunch crowd. I grabbed the celery stalk out of my Bloody Mary and played it like a harmonica. Evan laughed and used the opportunity to poach another fork-full of Missouri trout and eggs off my plate. The food at Broadway Brewery is all farm to table and many of the beers come from the in-house brewery. The entire menu needed a “Made in Columbia” sticker.bowl of food from Bangkok GardensThe day’s next meal was a little less Columbia-esque. The neon sign looked like something you’d see on the streets of Bangkok. The food—battered frog legs and steamed pork dumplings—brought me back to our honeymoon. When Evan suggested we get a late lunch/early dinner at Bangkok Gardens, I didn’t anticipate complete authenticity. I was never so happy to be so wrong. The flavors were absolutely intoxicating. I hovered around the comforting basil end of the spectrum and Evan perched on the end resembling swallowing a blowtorch. Our waiter even commented that the chef was impressed (after the second time Evan sent his curry back to add more heat).

Fittingly, the day ended with a cold beer. Located right off I-70, Bur Oak Brewing Co. was a convenient last hurrah before leaving Columbia. Normally only open on Fridays and Saturdays, we lucked out that it was open for a community event.'The Big Tree' south of Columbia, which Bur Oak Brewing is named after“Our Big Tree IPA is modeled after the Columbia Bur Oak tree,” explained Craig, the brewery owner. “Its ABV is 7.6% because the tree’s diameter is 7.6 feet and its IBU is 90 because the tree is 90 feet tall.” As he guided us through the 15,000-square-foot production facility, I was also impressed with the size of the fermenters. Chalkboard signs next to each revealed which beer was inside. The tour’s biggest mystery was the source of the occasional meowing. When the black furball finally brushed past my leg and revealed himself, Craig introduced us to Clyde—the brewery’s rescue cat and the inspiration behind Clyde’s Caramel Cream Ale.

Critical questions, obvious answers

“So, how was Columbia?” my co-worker Aubrey asked on Monday. “Well,” I started, “we certainly didn’t go hungry.” Just as I was about to elaborate she interrupted with an even more important question

“Did you leave hungry?”

I laughed. No one leaves Columbia hungry.


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Hi, I’m Megan. I do Marketing and Communications here at Visit CoMo and I’m also a Columbia native!  I love traveling, the Mizzou Tigers, live music, ice cream, my cats and a good nap. I’m also lucky enough to get to promote my hometown every day. There are so many different ways to enjoy Columbia and each month I’ll be bringing you some of my favorites. Let’s go!


As a Columbia native, one of the things I’ve always loved about our city is how many diverse dining options we have here. Cuisines from all over the world are represented, and chefs are adventurous with their ingredients. They also focus on procuring items from local purveyors, which really takes CoMo’s food to the next level. When your job is promoting Columbia, trying out as many of our restaurants as possible is research, right? So, I’ve done my research and here are ten of my favorite CoMo bites (in no particular order).

 

  1. The ½ Veggie on Wheat with Cheesy Tomato Soup from Sub Shop

sub shopSub Shop has been serving up sandwiches since 1975, and they’re a rainy day staple for me. Their veggie sandwich also comes with plenty of mayo and cheese and their homemade bread is toasted on the outside and soft on the inside. When it’s chilly, I have to add an order of their tomato soup. It’s thick and full of big chunks of melted cheese. And if you really want to take it up a notch…add bacon to that veggie sandwich and thank me later.

  1. The Pretzel Bites from Room 38 

Photo from IG user @taco_bout_someyummyfood.

Room 38 has an incredible menu that ranges from flatbreads to steaks to small plates and an incredible brunch. But one thing I have to get every single time is an order of the Pretzel Bites. They’re hidden at the bottom of the sharing plates section, but do not overlook these nuggets of amazingness! The bites themselves are soft and salty and drenched in honey butter. As if that wasn’t enough, they come with a side of spicy cheese dip. Room 38 has a nice lounge feel and the darker lighting means no one will see you stuffing your face with these super quickly.

 

  1. The Sweet Potato Fries with Spicy Herb Aioli at Billiards on Broadway

billiardsThis pool hall knows how to do food! Their burgers have won the hearts of visitors and citizens alike, but my favorite things to add on the side of my burger are the sweet potato fries. Are the fries delicious? Yes, but it’s the aioli that really makes them. Truly you could put this aioli on just about anything they serve (ahem, grilled chicken sandwich) and be happy, but the sweet crispness of the fries really goes with the aioli so well that you might as well stick with how they serve it.

  1. The Oreo Speedwagon at Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream

Photo from Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream Facebook.

Here’s the thing about the Oreo Speedwagon. I can’t promise that it will always be on the menu at Sparky’s. They always have a wonderful variety of flavors rotating in their case and you can’t go wrong, but for me the Oreo Speedwagon is where it’s at. It’s basically a cookies ‘n cream ice cream but made with coffee ice cream instead of vanilla. Such a sweet pick me up! And you can say that ice cream isn’t as good when it’s cold out, but you would be wrong.

 

  1. The Blue Chips Cheese Bread at Murry’s

murrysI have been going to Murry’s for as long as I can remember. In my family, you got to pick where you wanted to eat for your birthday and both of my parents always picked Murry’s. Now the entire meal was always delicious, but it was the order of the Blue Chips Cheese Bread that really got the night started. Thick slices of bread are topped with blue cheese and shrimp and then covered with another melty cheese that I’ve never been able to pin down. Then everything is toasted and melted together and it’s just perfect. Murry’s brings back so many great memories for me and those memories definitely include this appetizer.

  1. The Bulgogi Taco at Seoul Taco

Photo from @SeoulTaco Instagram.

Seoul Taco started out as a food truck in St. Louis and now has a shared space with Strange Donuts right here in downtown Columbia. Whether it’s lunch time or late at night, I am in love with their Bulgogi Tacos. They’re so simple…just meat, greens, sesame seed and delicious Seoul sauce, plus a lime for some brightness, but their complex flavor is beyond. Their menu is small but the flavor is big!

  1. The Reuben at Uprise Bakery 

Photo from IG user @drewjkoch.

Things I don’t like: sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, rye bread.. But somehow, when Uprise Bakery combines their house made ingredients (seriously, everything on the sandwich is made right there), it’s a dream come true. This is another rainy favorite and is perfect as a meal with a beer from the bar before seeing a movie at Ragtag, which shares a space with Uprise. I’m so glad I went outside my comfort zone and tried this sandwich.

  1. The Glazed Salmon from Coley’s

Photo from @ColeysBistro Instagram.

This is a more recent discovery of mine and it quickly made my top list. Coley’s is another spot downtown with a great menu, and this dish is one that won’t make you feel like you overdid it at dinner. The salmon filet is cooked perfectly and served over vegetables that are cooked but still crisp. The soy honey glaze that finishes everything off makes this one of my new go-to’s that never lets me down and keeps it light…so I can go to Sparky’s after.

  1. The Brussels Sprouts at Kampai

Photo from Kampai Alley Facebook.

Kampai is tucked in Alley A in downtown and specializes in delicious sushi. But my favorite bite from Kampai is actually on their hot tasting menu. I’m a sucker for anything involving Brussels sprouts, but these are now my favorite in town. The sprouts are flash fried and then drizzled in lemon chili oil. It’s a simple dish, but the crunchy sprouts along with the spicy and bright oil are the perfect combination and a great lead up to some of their sushi.

  1. The Beet Salad at Sycamore

Photo from Sycamore Facebook.

Ok, so I had to throw one salad in here! No matter what entrée I get at Sycamore, I always have their beet salad to start. The mixed greens are always super fresh and well dressed, and you can put a roasted beet on just about anything and I’m game. But then they had to go and add goat cheese and now I have to get it every time I go, which is often. I love Sycamore’s cozy atmosphere, great drinks list and fantastic service. And I love their beet salad.


I can’t tell you how difficult it was to narrow down this list, so you can probably be sure that I’ll do another one at some point in the future.  For now, I’d love to know what your favorite CoMo bites are…we may even share them online! I’ll be back next month with my version of a CoMo gift guide.

Remember to tag us in your Columbia photos and use opens in a new window#ShowMeCoMo to share.

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6697small- AndreaHello! My name is Andrea and I am a sales manager for the Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau. I am an avid traveler, and I love the experience of meeting new people, experiencing new unexpected environments, the FOOD, the art, music and just soaking it all up.

Each month I am going to introduce you, our visitor, to all things Columbia, especially our fabulous arts community.  Along the way we will explore some of our fabulous locally- owned restaurants or one of our many music venues or fabulous festivals.   I hope you enjoy this city as much as I do, and of course, we would love to have you back many times to take advantage of WHAT YOU UNEXPECT.


Ah January. A new year… a fresh start… and for many of us, a chance to work off the holiday cheer imbibed over the holidays. If you are visiting our community and want to stick with your health resolutions, never fear: Columbia has many opportunities from our hiking and biking trails and fitness facilities to our great restaurants.

Columbia is an active city. You will find pedestrian lanes on the major thoroughfares and over 50 miles of City trails where you can walk, run or bike.

If you didn’t bring your bike, no worries – opens in a new windowCycleExtreme [19 S. 6th Street] and  opens in a new windowWalt’s Bicycle Fitness & Wilderness [at the corner of Rogers & College] have bikes for rent or purchase.

Rock Bridge State ParkIs a walk in the park more your speed? Columbia has 76 opens in a new windowparks for you to choose from, five with exercise stations. If hiking is your style, be sure to visit opens in a new windowRock Bridge Memorial State Park, a gem in our city that features hiking, equestrian, and bicycle trails. The park is home to the Devil’s Icebox, a 63 foot-high natural tunnel known as the Rock Bridge, and a double sinkhole entrance to Devil’s Icebox and Connor’s Cave.

Another walking option is the opens in a new windowPublic Art tour, with over 25 works of art and traffic box art in the downtown area. It’s a perfect way to get some exercise and take advantage of the artsy side of Columbia.

If you prefer a full on workout, the opens in a new windowActivity & Recreation Center, affectionately referred to as the ARC, is Columbia’s popular fitness center. The ARC is a full fitness facility and offers an indoor leisure pool, gym and indoor track.

Main Squeeze Tofu TacoNow that you have remained true to your resolution to stay physically active, you might want to replenish with some of our healthy restaurant choices. opens in a new windowMain Squeeze is Columbia’s original vegetarian restaurant that offers a variety of healthy options from soups and salads to baked goods and smoothies. You can also choose from one of Columbia’s many ethnic options. Our newest restaurant, opens in a new windowRange Free, is located on Orr Street and specializes in allergen free specialty diets offering everything from pizzas and pastas to baked goods.

We hope you enjoy your time in Columbia and take advantage of all our town has to offer. Come back to see us soon!

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Thanksgiving 2015

Coming to Columbia for Thanksgiving but don’t feel like cooking a big meal? No worries! These restaurants will be open:

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Downtown Columbia (The District) is full of great restaurants and delicious treats – here are 10 meals that Instagram users have shared over the past month. Warning: reading this while hungry will make you more hungry.

Cafe Berlin | 220 N. 10th St.
opens in a new window@thestephyp Dixie Benny! Home made cornbread, ham, poached eggs, and vegetable gravy! #bestbrunchinawhile”

Sake Japanese Bistro | 16 S. 10th St.
opens in a new window@elizabethinpink Mmmm sushi dates are fun”

Coley’s American Bistro | 15 S. 6th St.
opens in a new window@lonawood Hands down best place in CoMo! Love the food, drinks, atmosphere and music!  #hereeveryweek #okaymultipletimesaweek #summertime  opens in a new window@coleysbistro

Chinese Wok Express | 422 E. Broadway
opens in a new window@blackgrits Getting our #pho on! #vietnamese #photogenic #beefpho #beef”

Seoul Taco | 1020 E. Broadway
opens in a new window@watertheodds Seoul Taco”

Shakespeare’s | 220 S. 8th St., 3304 W. Broadway Business Park Ct., 3911 Peachtree Dr.
opens in a new window@jasvii007 Old college days haunt. opens in a new window@kaysite opens in a new window@socalfoodiebears opens in a new window@cotraveler #shakespearspizza #mizzou #columbiamo”

Eleven Eleven | 1111 E. Broadway
opens in a new window@1111columbia Our dinner special tonight is a parmesan crusted pork chop with bacon fennel relish and roasted shallot potato purée”

Glenn’s Cafe | 29 S. 8th St.
opens in a new window@capri_su.n Catfish Sandwich. I think I like Cajun food”

Addison’s | 709 Cherry St.
opens in a new window@drewjkoch Had this delicious filet today: topped with fried onions and blue cheese, on a bed of mashed potatoes. #delicious #CoMo #columbiamo #bright #yum#food #steak…”

Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe | 28 S. 9th St.
opens in a new window@stephcahail I’m spending my last few days in Columbia eating at my favorite restaurants. My first stop is at The Main Squeeze! #bittersweet #salad#thefinalnomdown”

Now that you’re starving, pick one of the featured restaurants and grab a bite to eat.

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Did you know that we have Pinterest? Take a look at what we’ve been pinning lately, and  opens in a new windowfollow us for more! 

Lo & Behold, 1013 E. Walnut St. | Columbia, MO

Outfit put together by Lo & Behold – opens in a new windowLet’s Go Shopping

"There's a storm brewing at Mizzou this morning. Jesse looks stunning no matter the weather." | Jesse Hall, Mizzou, Columbia MO

Jesse Hall with a storm brewing in the background – opens in a new windowCaptured in CoMo

Ozark Mountain Biscuit Co. on Pintrest | Columbia, MO food truck

Ozark Mountain Biscuit Co. celebrates Father’s Day – opens in a new windowEat Up Columbia

Mizzou Football | University of Missouri, Columbia MO

University of Missouri football – opens in a new windowCoMo Loves Sports

Pucker up! Lots of lemony goodness in the shop right now including favorites from 1canoe2, Rifle Paper Co., @ourheiday, Banquet Workshop, BEVE and Mōglea. | Poppy, Columbia MO

Lemony goodness at Poppy – opens in a new windowLet’s Go Shopping

Announcing our Summer 2015 menu! Come check out the new seasonal offerings happening tonight! Also, check out our Louisiana Coconut Cocktail. It's all happening tonight at Eleven Eleven. | Eleven Eleven, Columbia MO

Louisiana Coconut Cocktail at Eleven Eleven – opens in a new windowDrink Up Columbia


We’re at 41 boards – what would you like to see us pin more of?

 

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Friday Favorites

It’s Friday! And only one more week until 4th of July! Today’s favorites come from CVB Web and Communications Manager, Megan McConachie.

Favorite place to be outside: Stephens Lake Park

Stephens Lake island

(Photo courtesy of Columbia Parks and Recreation)

Just off of East Broadway, this oasis of a park boasts a beautiful lake (complete with fishing and a beach!), two fantastic walking trails and plenty of shaded spots to relax and read a book (or nap, I won’t judge). The park is also home to the Roots ‘n Blues ‘n BBQ Festival each fall, bringing in world-class musicians in genres ranging from blues to folk to gospel.

Favorite appetizer: Blue chips cheese bread at Murry’s

Murry's

There’s not much out there that can beat bread with gooey cheese on it, but then Murry’s had to go ahead and add shrimp. Tucked away in the south part of town, Murry’s has been a local favorite for decades, so be sure to show up early if you want a table. Other McConachie family favorites include the chicken livers (trust us) and the tuna, pesto and feta sandwich.

Favorite pick-me-up: The Rocket Fuel at The Coffee Zone

Coffee Zone

This coffee blend means business! Whether you’re dragging on a Monday morning or pulling an all-nighter, a large Rocket Fuel does the trick. I drink mine with plenty of cream and sweetener, but if you can handle it black, then my hat’s off to you.

Favorite place to escape: Ragtag Cinema

rag tag cinema

(Photo by Jennifer McGovney)

Beer! Movies! Beer at the movies! Ragtag is Columbia’s own independent theater, and it does a bustling business year-round showing independent, documentary and international films that you won’t see anywhere else in town. Grab a beer from the bar, a snack from Uprise Bakery (the Oatmeal cookie is insane) and pick the best seat (or couch!) in the house for a few hours with your fellow film enthusiasts.

Favorite sip: The Bleu Raspberry Lemonade at Bleu

Bleu Lemonade

(Photo by Tom Plant)

The Bleu Rosemary Lemonade at Bleu combines house-made lemonade, blueberry vodka, a splash of wine and a sprig of rosemary to create this refreshing but not too sweet concoction. It’s a favorite of my mom’s, so a summer evening on Bleu’s patio should definitely be in order soon.

Favorite place to sing out loud: The Blue Note

9th Street Summerfest

(Photo by L.G. Patterson)

The Blue Note has been bringing stellar music to Columbia since 1980. Ever since my parents would let me, I’ve been going to shows in this famous venue that has attracted artists from Johnny Cash to Snoop Dogg. My favorite show there so far? Wilco (on 9th Street) or Matt Nathanson. Don’t make me choose!

Favorite place to take a visitor: Ninth St. in The District

9th & Cherry

(Photo by Jennifer McGovney)

In my opinion, no visit to Columbia is complete without a little shopping and people watching on 9th Street in The District. 9th is home to Shakespeare’s Pizza, the Missouri Theatre, Booche’s, Makes Scents, Top 10 Wines and many more stops that will round out anyone’s visit.

Favorite Fest: The True/False Film Fest

True False logo and orange tree 2014 Photos -Elise

(Photo by Elise Eimer, courtesy of Missouri Division of Tourism)

There is only one weekend per year that I absolutely refuse to even consider leaving Columbia for any reason. That weekend is True/False weekend. This internationally-renowned documentary film festival started as the idea of two local co-conspirators and has turned into an exceptional mash up of film, music, art and ideas. Whether you see one film or 12 films, you will leave True/False changed. I know I do every year.

Favorite gift stop: Calhoun’s

Calhoun's

Need something for a baby shower? A housewarming? For anyone and any occasion? Say hi to your new best friend, Calhoun’s. Their huge variety of housewares, jewelry, books, art and much more means you’ll leave with just the right gift…and maybe something for yourself.

Favorite dinner atmosphere: Sycamore

Sycamore

(Photo courtesy of Missouri Division of Tourism)

For local, fresh and incredible food, I simply can’t resist Sycamore. With an extensive wine and beer list and a delightfully local food menu, I have never ever had something at Sycamore I didn’t love. Not only is the food excellent, but the service and intimate feel make for a relaxing meal that you won’t soon forget.

Favorite place to wear black and gold: Memorial Stadium

Faurot Field

My dad started taking me to Mizzou Tiger football games when I was two years old and I haven’t stopped. I can think of nothing better to do on a Saturday than get up, put on my black and gold, tailgate for a bit and then cheer on my Tigers. Rain or shine or snow (yes, snow), I’m always ready for game day.

Make sure to take a break from your 4th of July plans next week to read about next week’s Friday Favorites!

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Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Today we’re introducing a new weekly blog post called Friday Favorites, which will just be a collection of a local’s favorite places/things around town. Starting it off will be CVB marketing coordinator, Rachel (me!), so check out my favorites below:

Favorite Pizza: G&D Pizzaria

G&D

Not only is this my favorite pizza, it’s also my favorite restaurant. My mom has been going since she was in high school so I guess I was just born to love G&D. They offer DELICIOUS pizza, steaks, Greek specialties, and more. I’ve been told they even have a gluten-free pizza option! G&D is a local favorite, and I hope that you’ll stop by if you’ve never been! (Mizzou football head coach, Gary Pinkel, is constantly spotted there, too!)
2101 W. Broadway 
573-445-8336

Favorite Columbia trail: Forum Nature Area

Forum Nature Area

It’s not as popular as trails like the MKT or Hinkson Creek, and that’s partly why I love the trail at Forum Nature Area. And nature area it is – I constantly spot wildlife when I’m there. I’ve had turtles and rabbits cross my path, deer watch me as I struggle to run and then give up to walk, ducks and geese and even swans hang out on the lake… The MKT also has a trail head here so maybe that’s why it is overlooked. There are no bicycles allowed but I’ve seen many a dog on a leash, and it’s the perfect place for a long walk.
2701 Forum Blvd.
573-874-7460 

Favorite Columbia gift: Chocolates from The Candy Factory

Candy Factory

I received these truffles for Christmas, and they really must have known who they were dealing with because I LOVE chocolate. The Candy Factory always has the coolest gifts, including unique gift baskets, sugar free chocolate, and chocolate-covered potato chips.
701 Cherry St.
573-443-8222

Favorite place for family fun: Going Bonkers

Going Bonkers

My niece and nephew (and every other kid) love this place, and I love it because I get to climb around with them. Adults love giant play-places, too! There’s also arcade games, food, and a quiet room for the parents to watch their kids from. It’s the perfect place for a rainy day!
3812 Buttonwood Dr.
573-499-0366

Favorite local team: Mizzou Tigers football team

MU Football

I grew up tailgating and going to the Mizzou football games, and of COURSE I chose the University of Missouri after graduating from high school. There’s something about the sea of black and gold that just fills my heart with pride, and I always love the Tigers, win or lose! People from all over the country flock to Columbia for game days, especially after joining the SEC. I actually love talking to visitors who are here to cheer for the opposing team (and not just because it’s part of my job!). It’s great seeing how much people love Columbia whether their team wins or loses, and I hope that my fellow locals feel the same way!

Favorite diner: 63 Diner

63 Diner

Another favorite from my childhood, and sometimes (okay, most of the time) I even order my childhood meal: grilled cheese with fries and a chocolate milkshake. The whole diner is covered floor to ceiling with typical 50’s decor, including a statue of Elvis. Oldies play over the speakers and the servers wear poodle skirts. What’s better than that?
5801 Hwy 763 N
573-443-2331

Favorite park: Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

Rock Bridge State Park

(Photo courtesy of Missouri Division of Tourism)
I’ve been making trips to Rock Bridge for years and never get sick of it, although I do miss not getting tired from all the steps on the Devil’s Icebox trail. I’m constantly taking pictures of wildlife or unique flowers, and I love exploring all the trails. I’ve never met a person who doesn’t think Connor’s Cave is awesome! If you would like to have a guided tour of Devil’s Icebox, just give them a call to set it up. Definitely a highly recommended place to see in Columbia.
5901 S. Hwy 163
573-449-7402

Favorite dessert in The District: yogoluv

Yogoluv

All I really have to say about yogoluv is that it never disappoints. Fill your cup with one of many flavors and cover it with your choice of toppings – fruit, syrups, candy and cookies, etc. I could lie and say I go for the healthy choice and get fruit but let’s be honest: I head straight to the cookie dough, Oreos, and Butterfingers. Prices depend on the weight of your masterpiece, so I sometimes I have force myself to go easy on the toppings.
201 S. 9th St.
573-777-9694

Favorite season in Columbia: Autumn/Fall

Fall in Columbia

(Photo of Flat Branch Park)
Some people may not realize it but Missouri has great scenery, and I’d have to say it’s best in the fall. Fall also means Mizzou football, beautiful weather (well, for the most part, it is Missouri after all), and great Columbia festivals. It’s the perfect time to check out some of our beautiful parks and trails or enjoy the patio of your favorite restaurant.

What do you think? Let us know if you check out any of my favorites, and keep your eye out for a new “Friday Favorites” next week!

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Columbia is well known for its outstanding dining experiences. From a quick sandwich to an upscale feast, Columbia offers visitors an array of choices for any occasion. The restaurant scene is also always changing here, so let’s get you up to speed on what’s new in town.

Günter Hans

opens in a new windowGünter Hans Artisan Cafe is open in the former Pasta Factory location, tucked away off of Hitt Street in downtown Columbia. Serving up a small menu of bretzels, gelato and a great selection of beers, everything at Günter Hans is fresh and made from scratch everyday. They also offer up unique cheese boards and specialty drinks. This spot is a perfect fit in Columbia. As they say on their website, ‘our menu is unique and our style non-traditional, but so is Columbia! That’s one of the many reasons we’re excited to be here.’

Zaxby’s

Now that Columbia is officially in SEC country, it’s only right that it’s now home to two opens in a new windowZaxby’s locations. A southern stable since the 90s, Zaxby’s serves up chicken fingers, crinkle cut fries, signature sauces and lots of hospitality. Check them out at Highway 63/Stadium and off Providence Road south of Nifong.

Café Poland

A tiny space with hearty food, Café Poland on Locust in downtown Columbia will warm you up on these cold winter days. Sample their many types of pierogies and enjoy the welcoming owners. In the summer, their iced beverages will keep you cool as you roam around The District.

Cheerleader Pub & Grill

A great destination for food and fun, with a focus on the SEC,  opens in a new windowCheerleader Pub & Grill is located at Highway 63 and Stadium, making it the perfect stop for a bite on game days. The menu features items named after your favorite SEC teams, there are televisions aplenty and over 40 beer taps!

Glenn’s Cafe

Around in some form for most years since 1939, opens in a new windowGlenn’s Cafe isn’t new to Columbia, but its return is definitely worth celebrating. With its beloved neon sign now hanging proudly on 8th Street, Glenn’s is open for business in The Tiger Hotel. The menu at Glenn’s is rooted in Cajun and Creole flavors with fresh seafood, bold flavors and a gourmet touch.

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Fall has finally arrived! Leaves all over town are turning brilliant shades of orange and red and menus all over town are also changing to meet the season. Columbia chefs are famous for bringing seasonal, local ingredients to the table and this fall is no exception. Here are a few places where you can find fall favorites. Check out one (or all of them) and let us know what you loved!

opens in a new windowFlat Branch Pub and Brewing

A Columbia staple for locals and visitors, Flat Branch just flipped over to their fall menu. The Winter Brewhouse Salad is perfect for a chilly day and fall favorites including Bangers  & Mash and Shepherd’s pie make their return. Of course, washing it all down with a seasonal brew like a golden lager or smoked porter is all part of the experience.

opens in a new windowSycamore

On the corner of 8th and Broadway, Sycamore brings fresh, simple dishes to the table every day and always allows the ingredients to shine. Get started with some pork belly sliders (trust us) and then move on to one of their delicious entrees such as smoked duck breast or braised short ribs. The food is familiar and comforting but always presented beautifully and tastes out of this world.

opens in a new windowLes Bourgeois Bistro

Located just 15 minutes west of Columbia at the top of a bluff overlooking the Missouri River, Les Bourgeois is one of the most beautiful dining settings in mid-Missouri. Not only are the views breathtaking, they also have food to match. Try the monthly salad (October’s features winter squash and toasted hazelnuts) and then give the house-made tagliatelle pasta or braised pork shoulder a try. For dessert, try their signature dessert. It’s a flourless chocolate cake called the Nemesis.

opens in a new windowWine Cellar and Bistro

If you’d like to dine surrounded by hundreds of bottles of wine, The Wine Cellar & Bistro is the place! Chef Craig Cyr is strongly committed to using local ingredients so the names of many local farms pop up on his menu every season. This fall, try their warm goat cheese truffles to start, then try their house-made ravioli filled with local chicken or a Missouri raised, grass-fed beef tenderloin. To go with your meal, Sarah Cyr serves as the restaurant’s sommelier and will recommend just the thing. The Wine Cellar and Bistro’s wine list has been awarded The Award of Excellence by The Wine Spectator Magazine every year since 2005.

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