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Restaurants

The warm weather in Columbia is what many, like myself, anticipate all year and for a really good reason. Now that June is underway and the days are getting longer, I’m here to let you know just where you can breathe in fresh air and experience Columbia from some of my favorite spots: the patios.

There are several patios to enjoy across Columbia and even more open up every year, but no two patios are the same. They each take on their own character, feeding off the energy of the staff and guests to build an atmosphere that is unique. Although not a comprehensive list, I’ve brought together some ideas of where to find just what kind of patio you’re looking for.


For a Quick Relaxing Drink

If you’re looking for a place to stop after work or between boutiques in The District, these two have you covered:

Tropical Liqueurs

patio of Tropical Liqueurs - tables with green plastic chairs and blue umbrellasPhoto from Tropical Liqueurs Facebook

With two locations in Columbia and two decades of experience under their belt, Tropical Liqueurs knows how to treat patrons to the ultimate patio experience. The modest patio tables have shade umbrellas to protect you from the hot summer sun while you take in a cold drink. No food is served at the locations so this is a good place to spend an hour or two with friends or colleagues after work before heading home or to dinner.

Günter Hans- Artisan Café

brick patio with tables and chairs; photo taken next to a tree with purple flowersPhoto from Günter Hans- Artisan Café Facebook

Started by a female entrepreneur, Günter Hans- Artisan Café sports a traditional European flare that welcomes customers. Günter Hans is Columbia’s only full wine tap, which offers customers a unique experience coupled with a beautiful patio. The wine tap means the product arrives in barrels and is then served directly into the glass without being exposed to oxygen. European favorites such as bretzels, bratwursts, and waffles are featured on the limited menu to beat any snack craving you might have.

For Appetizers and Catching Up with Friends

These two are drastically different from each other but can both meet the need for quick food and good conversation with friends while relaxing on an outdoor patio:

Las Margaritas

wooden deck with string lights and large plants looking out over a lake with a fountainPhoto from Las Margaritas on Corporate Lake Facebook

Known for its location on Corporate Lake, Las Margaritas is a great spot for catching up with friends over delicious queso fundido or nachos Margaritas from their appetizer menu. The friendly personalities of the staff and quick service make your trip even more enjoyable and offers the potential to be a memorable meal.

Barred Owl Butcher & Table

Barred Owl restaurant sign and several tables with chairs and tan umbrellasPhoto from Barred Own Butcher Facebook

This pick is a newcomer to the Columbia scene and is taking strides to be a must-try for residents and visitors. While you’re there learn more about the made-from-scratch, ingredient-first culture they are so proud of. The staff from the front door to the table are friendly, passionate and ready to answer any questions. The charcuterie and spreads menu offers a variety of options, from a Butcher Board to a whipped ricotta served with pita breads that pair perfectly with good people, memorable stories, and hand-crafted drinks.

For the Lover of Art & Music

These two are known for their quirky styles and exceptional food:

Cafe Berlin

patio area with tables and chairs and sunflowers

Saturday and Sunday mornings year-round are busy with excited patrons ready for locally sourced comfort food but the onset of warm weather opens up new possibilities for Cafe Berlin-lovers. The patio is a great place to enjoy warm weather during the day and into the afternoon while night is a time to support local bands playing. Cafe Berlin is known for being vegetarian-friendly and a great place to eat out if you’re looking to please a variety of food lifestyles.

Tellers

exterior of Tellers Gallery and Bar with brick wall and a few high-top tables and stools

Although outdoor seating is limited, Tellers is a wonderful place to eat if you’re interested in watching The District’s nightlife or catch a street performer playing. Inside, if you venture in, is home to several pieces of local artwork. Each piece is unique and adds to the artistry of the atmosphere.

For Dinner with Someone Special

If you’re looking for a great date-night patio, these spots are tried-and-true:

Flat Branch Pub & Brewing

unfocused people dining on Flat Branch patio with tables, chairs, and green umbrellas, surrounded by green plants

With specialty pizzas and craft beer from its in-house brewery, a night out at Flat Branch Pub & Brewing is sure to be a special one. The outdoor patio is surrounded by trees so that the area is more intimate and cozy. Smiling faces from the servers and a wide variety of food options for all kinds of eaters makes this a nice location to spend time with a special someone or for a comfortable night with dear friends.

The Roof

rooftop bar looking over Columbia during sunset with fire burning in the firepit Photo from The Roof Facebook

Located at the top of The Broadway Hotel in The District is the perfect place for a romantic night. The Roof offers a beautiful view of the Columbia skyline accompanied by a lavish and diverse menu. The seating options and fire pits create a fun atmosphere to share that special somewhere.

For a Columbia Tradition-Seeker

Looking for a patio that is uniquely ‘Columbia?’ Try one of these:

The Heidelberg

rooftop bar with tables and chairs and a few mismatched umbrellasPhoto from The Heidelberg Facebook

A staple for visiting parents and prospective students, this is also a must try for anyone visiting Columbia. The Heidelberg’s upper patio offers a view looking towards the University of Missouri and offers both covered and uncovered tables in case you need to get out of the hot sun. From appetizers to drinks to burgers, you’ll be sure to find a favorite to add to your list of traditions when visiting.

Shakespeare’s Pizza

golden-doodle puppy sitting in a chair with a can of beer, a napkin, and a platter with a pizza-shaped dog toy on a tablePhoto from Shakespeare’s Pizza Facebook

Each Shakespeare’s location has a traditional patio where individuals (and their pups) can enjoy a slice and a cold beer. If you’re looking for something a little different, Shakespeare’s Downtown v2.0, as they call it, has a garage door to give you an indoor/outdoor feel along the side of the building for a more private eating experience.

Whatever your patio needs are, Columbia has you covered (or uncovered). Try them out and share your favorite patio stories and photos with us on Instagram and Twitter.


Blog written by Convention and Visitors Bureau intern, Grace Bommel

#ShowMeCoMo

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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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where to eat in columbia mo on thanksgiving or christmas

If you’d rather go out for an easy meal instead of cooking on Thanksgiving or Christmas, try these restaurants:

opens in a new window11Eleven, 1111 E. Broadway (Thanksgiving, Christmas) – normal hours

opens in a new windowApplebees, 2010 I-70 Dr. SW (Thanksgiving, Christmas) – 4-10 PM

opens in a new windowBob Evans, 3000 Clark Lane (Thanksgiving, Christmas) – 8 AM – 8 PM

opens in a new windowBroadway Brewery, 816 E. Broadway (Thanksgiving, Christmas) – bar only

opens in a new windowCheerleader Pub and Grill, Holiday Inn Express (Thanksgiving) – 11 AM – 10 PM

opens in a new windowDenny’s, 1100 Knipp St. (Thanksgiving, Christmas) – 24/7 with reduced menu

opens in a new windowFlat Branch, 115 S. 5th St. (Christmas Eve) – closes at 4 PM

opens in a new windowGlenn’s Cafe, 29 S. 8th St. (Thanksgiving) – 12-8 PM with limited menu and Thanksgiving plate special

opens in a new windowGolden Corral, 3421 Clark Lane (Thanksgiving) – 10:30 AM – 5 PM

opens in a new windowGrand Cru, 2600 S. Providence Rd (Thanksgiving) – 11 AM – 2 PM

opens in a new windowHoliday Inn Executive Center, 2200 I70 Dr. SW (Christmas) – Buffet seatings at 11:00, 11:15, 11:30  AM and 1:00, 1:15, 1:30 PM

opens in a new windowIHOP, 51 Conley Rd (Thanksgiving, Christmas) – regular hours, closes at 2 PM on Christmas

opens in a new windowMcDonald’s, 415 N. Stadium Blvd (Thanksgiving, Christmas) – regular hours

opens in a new windowPizza Hut, 715 E. Nifong Blvd (Thanksgiving) – regular hours

opens in a new windowRuby Tuesday, 2010 Bernadette Dr. (Thanksgiving) – 11-9 PM

opens in a new windowStadium Grill, Hampton Inn & Suites (Thanksgiving) – 3-10 PM

opens in a new windowStarbucks, 2901 W. Broadway, #117 (Thanksgiving) – 6AM – 6 PM

opens in a new windowTGI Fridays, 3030 I-70 Dr. SE (Thanksgiving, Christmas) – 11 AM – 11 PM

opens in a new windowTruman’s, 3304 W. Broadway Business Park (Thanksgiving, Christmas) – 2 PM – 1:30 AM

opens in a new windowThe Upper Crust, 3107 Green Meadows Way (Thanksgiving) – reservations available between 1-5 PM; Thanksgiving buffet


We’ll update the list as we find out more. Happy Holidays!

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Andrea JiraHello! 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.


Columbia Culinary Tours
Whether you’re our guest for the weekend, new to town, or a life-long resident, if you haven’t tried Columbia Culinary Tours then you’re missing out!

 

So what is a culinary tour? Well I’d say it’s part-dining experience, part-socializing, and part-education. Regardless of how you describe it, it’s a great time and a fun way to sample some of Columbia’s food offerings.  You’ll get to sample five to seven restaurants and specialty food stores, and you can also meet the owners and managers of each location.

Table with food and drinks.
My first tour was the Brunch Tour – a stroll through the district, sampling a variety of tasty breakfastoptions and coffees while learning a bit about Columbia’s history.  I walked away with a greater knowledge of Columbia and was happily satisfied from the tasty treats.

My second tour was the Flavors Tour, which was a fun tour spent with the accompaniment of good friends. We sampled several restaurants, oils and vinegars from opens in a new windowBoone Olive Oil Company, and tasty cocktails while exploring the streets and alleys of our fine city.

Cocktails at a restaurant.

Have I captured your interest yet? There are opens in a new windowfive tours to choose from: the Brunch Tour, the Flavors Tour, the Night on the Town Tour, the Night on the Town Tour with wine pairings, and last but not least, the Craft Beer and Food Pairing Tour.  These tours are perfect for conference attendees, team-building experiences with co-workers, a group of friends, out of town guests or just for something new to do.

We hope you enjoy the experience and make it a part of your Columbia go-to activities. Have fun!

opens in a new windowBook your tour here

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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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Friday Favorites

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:

The Heidelberg:

The Heidelberg

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.

Sub Shop:

Sub Shop

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.

Broadway Diner:

Broadway Diner

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.

Shakespeare’s Pizza:

Shakespeare's pizza toss 2

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.

Booches Billiard Hall:

Booches

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.

Kui Korean BBQ:

Kui BBQ

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.

Billiard’s on Broadway:

Billiards

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 Homemade Ice Cream:

DSC00296

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:

Room 38 lobster mac 2Room 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.

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Friday Favorites

It’s Friday! Today’s favorites come from Beth Mead, CVB Sales and Marketing Manager. Her list is all about her “summer in Columbia” favorites:

Patio Dining:

Patio

(Photo of Bleu’s patio)

Columbia has amazing restaurants with great food. That is good news for us COMO diners year round. In the summer, we have great food on great patios. Even better! Some of my favorite patio- dining spots are Bleu, Sophia’s, Flat Branch, Les Bourgeois and Las Margaritas. So many patios, so little summer….

Kids Playing Outside:

Flat Branch sprayground

(Photo of Flat Branch Spraygrounds)

It’s a beautiful summer day and I’m stuck inside working at my desk. You know what makes that all better? Opening my window and working to the sounds of happy children playing in the spray grounds at Flat Branch Park. Suddenly, I am transported back to my childhood, running through a sprinkler in my front yard.

Ice Cream:

sparkysicecream

(Photo of Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream)

What is summer without ice cream? Of course, you can always make ice cream if you have enough time. Why bother, though? Columbia has more than enough ice cream spots to keep you going all summer long. My family’s favorites are Sparky’s, Randy’s, Andy’s, yogoluv and Buck’s Ice Cream at Mizzou.

Less People:

Hinkson Creek Trail

(Photo of bicycle rider on Hinkson Creek Trail)

This may sound odd for someone who spends their time encouraging people to visit Columbia, but I do love summer in Columbia. It’s quiet and peaceful; it takes less time to go from place to place. There are shorter lines everywhere-at the theater, the ice cream stand, your favorite coffee shop. Even the trails are less crowded.

The Arts Keep Going:

Art in the Park 2011 photo courtesy Art in the Park

(Photo of art at Art in the Park)

There may be fewer people in Columbia in the summer, but the Columbia arts scene doesn’t take a vacation. Summer kicks off with Art in the Park followed by the Blind Boone Festival, not to mention great stage productions at Maplewood Barn Theater, Summer Repertory Theater at Mizzou and Columbia Entertainment Company.

Flowers Everywhere:

Flat Branch Park flowers

(Flowers in front of Flat Branch Park sign)

The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department does a fantastic job of creating beautiful garden spots in our public spaces. Whether you are walking or driving downtown, you can’t help but notice the bright plantings all over downtown. Also, next time you are taking your kids to the pool, or hurrying in to a tee-ball game, look around you. You are walking past colorful displays at the entrances to these places. Even if you don’t have time to stop and smell the flowers, you can enjoy them as you drive by: at the roundabout, the stoplight and the “Adopt a Spot” median plantings all over town.

Farmers Markets:

Columbia Farmers Market

(Photo of Columbia Farmers Market)

I love getting up early and going to the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. I especially love the Farmers Market in the summer when there is so much variety with all the tasty summer fruits and vegetables. It gets my Saturday off to a great and healthy start and I am much more productive on those Saturdays. But…here’s a little secret: sometimes, I like to stay up LATE on Friday night and then I don’t love getting up early on Saturday. No problem. Columbia has a Sunday Farmers Market too. It’s open from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, so I can play late on Friday and not miss out on my tasty summer market finds.

The Library:

Columbia Public Library

(Photo of Columbia Public Library)

I know that going to the library isn’t just a summer activity. The library is open all year. But there’s something special about visiting the library in the summer. I see all the kids checking out reading books with their parents and it reminds me of the time I spent browsing through my hometown library’s bookshelves with my mom and going to the morning “story time” once a week. Is there a better place to read a good book than outside on a sunny summer day?

Summer Welcome:

Mizzou Cornell

(Trulaske College of Business – University of Missouri. Photo courtesy of Missouri Division of Tourism)

Okay, I know that I said I liked less people in Columbia in the summer. That’s true, but there’s just something about watching families visit Columbia in preparation for the upcoming school year. At the CVB, we get a lot of parents in our lobby during Summer Welcome asking questions about Columbia – where to live, what to do, where to eat. They are so excited to be here and when talking with them and answering their questions, I get excited to be here all over again. Every time.

Mugs Up:

Mugs Up

(Mugs Up at 603 Orange Street)

It seems like I’ve spent a lot of time talking about food: patios, ice cream, farmer’s markets.  Mugs Up is more than food, though, it’s an experience. If you’ve never been to Mugs Up, it is a small family operated drive-in located on Orange Street.  Their signature style loose meat “zip burgers” are tiny but tasty and their home made root beer served in thick glass mugs is just like root beer should be. Mugs Up: car hops serving hot delicious burgers, fries and root beer to your car window since 1955.

Summer Concerts:

9thstreetflaminglip

(9th Street Summerfest, photo courtesy of The Blue Note)

Columbia is a great music town all year, but I think our summer concerts are special. The variety is amazing; from high energy crowds jammed together on Ninth Street during Summerfest events to low-key, family friendly Sunday night concerts in Shelter Gardens, we have it all. If it gets too hot for you, duck into the Missouri Theatre for the Missouri Symphony Society’s Hot Summer Nights performances.

Let us know what you think of Beth’s favorites, and don’t forget to check back with us next week for more Friday Favorites!

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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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We’re only a week away from Thanksgiving, and whether your tradition is dressing up and baking pies or watching football in your stretchy pants (yes please!), you’ll need a feast to make the day complete. If you’re visiting from out of town or even if you just don’t want to cook, Columbia has plenty of restaurants open on Thanksgiving to make your holiday memorable.

The Whole Shebang

Looking to get that traditional, fill-your-plate, turkey and sides fix? Plenty of places in Columbia will be open on Thanksgiving for you to dine in or carry out. You can even take the credit…we won’t tell!

opens in a new windowCracker Barrel: Near the intersection of Highway 63 and Interstate 70, Cracker Barrel is serving up the traditional feast all day long in Columbia. From turkey to cornbread stuffing, you’ll be right at home.

opens in a new windowGrand Cru: In south Columbia, Grand Cru will host a Thanksgiving brunch from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., so make your reservations now!

opens in a new windowHoliday Inn Executive Center: Just off I-70 on the west side of Columbia, the Executive Center has an exceptional Thanksgiving buffet. Carving station, decadent desserts and traditional sides highlight this feast.

opens in a new windowThe Wine Cellar and Bistro: In the heart of Columbia’s downtown, the Wine Cellar and Bistro offers carryout orders for pickup on Thanksgiving day. Executive Chef Craig Cyr’s menu ranges from turkey to ham, whipped potatoes to pumpkin cheesecake. Give them a call to reserve your order!

To Keep Warm

Cooking a family feast can be exhausting! If you need a pick-me-up or an extra jolt to make it through the festivities, head to opens in a new windowKaldi’s for a maple pumpkin latté or a rosemary and brown sugar latté. It will keep you perked up until the turkey’s carved.

The Sweet Stuff

For our money, there’s no better Thanksgiving dessert than pie. Here’s where you can get yours if you’re like us and can’t figure out how to make a darn pie crust.

opens in a new windowThe Upper Crust: Pumpkin pie, bourbon pecan pie, chocolate caramel pie, pecan, banana and more! Reserve yours today online!

opens in a new windowThe Velvet Cupcake: Located next to the Tiger Hotel in downtown Columbia, the Velvet Cupcake offers pies, cupcakes (naturally) and cake rolls (pumpkin or pecan!). Switch up dessert a little this Thanksgiving with something special and sugary from the Velvet Cupcake.

opens in a new windowHot Box Cookies: Made to order and hot from the oven, Hot Box Cookies always has a variety of flavors to choose from. You can even take home their dough and bake them yourself!

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This Thanksgiving, make your meal a Columbia affair! There’s something for everyone’s taste and price range. Now that we have you salivating (please tell us we’re not the only ones!), what’s your Thanksgiving must have? Tell us in the comments!

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Do you enjoy delicious food? Of course you do!

How about delicious vegetarian food that promotes sustainability in an artistic atmosphere? Not sure? Trust us on this one, and check out opens in a new windowMain Squeeze Natural Foods Café and Juice Bar in opens in a new windowThe District.

Believe us when we tell you that Main Squeeze could quite well change how you feel about eating vegetarian food. Everything on the opens in a new windowmenu is fresh, flavorful and unique, with daily specials and desserts that will surprise you and keep you coming back. Sip on refreshing 100% fruit smoothies like the Strawberry Manilow (Strawberry, Bananas and Orange) and Give Peach a Chance (Apple, Peach Banana) or incredible juices like the Ring of Fire (Apple, Orange, Beet, Ginger) and Elvis Parsley (Carrot, Celery, Spinach, Parsley, Beet).

Once you’ve quenched your thirst, dive in to one of Main Squeeze’s delectable dishes. Choices range from tofu tacos to the Hail Kale salad.

When you visit Main Squeeze, not only will you enjoy incredible food, you’ll be supporting a business that supports the community. Main Squeeze works with over a dozen local farms, creates less than one bag of trash each day and displays local art, with 100% of sales being passed along to the artist. It’s food that makes you feel good and that you can feel good about eating.

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