Dining Day Trips
These restaurants and eight others are the hidden gems of 417-land’s dining scene, and they’re located all over our corner of the state.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.
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The Fish Fry: Beaver Creek Paylake and Fish Fry
10936 Hwy. AF, Mountain Grove, MO; 417-453-6153
A little more than three years ago, Leo Dowden started a catfish pay lake approximately 25 miles north of Mountain Grove. “But people were more interested in eating the fish than catching it,” Dowden says. A small cook shack on the property eventually transformed into a full-fledged restaurant that fills to capacity every Friday and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon from April to October. Beaver Creek Paylake and Fish Fry draws a lot of regulars, but also many visitors. “Lots of families come and fish, then eat,” Dowden says. The man-made lake is filled with approximately 6,000 pounds of catfish and stocked weekly. “All of our stuff is hand-breaded,” Dowden says of the restaurant’s catfish, shrimp and chicken options. Dowden’s wife, Becky, is the restaurant’s main cook. The menu features everything from fried and grilled catfish, shrimp and chicken to burgers and sandwiches.
What I Ordered
The catfish dinner with baked beans, fries and hushpuppies ($7.95). The catfish is available in nuggets or filets, with the fried nuggets being the most popular. They come lightly breaded in cornmeal mixed with a few other signature spices, so each bite is crispy and has a bit of zip. During my visit, I also got a chance to taste alligator, frog legs and a tall slice of homemade cheesecake.
Photo by Kevin O'RileyEdit ModuleShow Tags