Best of 417 Awards 2007
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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Best Ice Cream or Frozen Desserts
Andy’s Frozen Custard
Cold Stone Creamery
Emack & Bolio’s
The home of the Ozark Turtle, Andy’s is a perennial winner in this category. Two chains are runners-up: Cold Stone Creamery, which literally has a cold granite stone where ice-cream concoctions are blended, as well as the Boston-based Emack & Bolio’s, which was moving to the southside for Springfield from downtown as this issue went to press.
Zio’s Italian Kitchen (chain)
Nonna’s Italian American Café
While the authenticity of chain winner Zio’s is up for grabs—it serves Thai Chicken Pasta ($6.99) and “Italian Cream Cake” ($4.99)—its reputation as a solid, inexpensive choice for everyday dining makes it as well-known as the hyper-authentic Gilardi’s Ristorante, which, under chef-owner Nicola Gilardi’s leadership, has won this award five years in a row. (Taste the stuffed trout to see why.) Avanzare comes onto the lineup as a runner-up for another year with Tony Garcia’s lighter Italian style, while the many positive changes from Nonna’s new management has put the restaurant in the spotlight.
Nakato Japanese Steakhouse
Readers prefer these three when they’re seeking a meal of hibachi grill, udon noodles, tempura and other specifics of Japanese cuisine. When it comes to the best sushi, opinions vary.
Best Joplin Restaurant
Fred & Red’s
Delicious family recipes for light, gourmet dishes from owners Max and Vicki Carr make Sandstone Bistro a huge destination; Club 609 is a trendy restaurant with gourmet dining, while Fred & Red’s opened in 1923 and has served famous chili and tamales ever since.
Best Late-Night Hotspot
Ernie Biggs Piano Bar
Icon’s reign as the undisputed nightlife champion is signified by owner Paul Sundy’s attention to detail. Not simply a dance club, it also has the famous drum show and the VIP mezzanine. Ernie Biggs is unique for its sing-along, randy piano song stylings. For its part, Trolley’s combines a business-y lunch with a nighttime singles’ meet/meat market.
Maria’s Mexican Restaurant
The year 2006 was when longtime winner Mexican Villa, a Springfield original dating back to 1957, was beaten by Maria’s Mexican Restaurant, a more modern outfit in downtown Springfield that features a huge tequila list for your margarita-sipping pleasure (start simply with a traditional on-the-rocks marg with nothing but tequila, Grand Marnier and lime juice). Cielito Lindo is a perennial runner-up here for its fun, unpretentious atmosphere.
Best Martini Menu
Bijan’s Sea & Grille
Agrario (The Bodega Bar)
Try Bijan’s trendy pomegranate martini ($6.50). At Bodega Bar (Agrario), there’s the Kentucky Jewel (a twist on the mint julep with bourbon, pineapple juice, mint, and bitters, topped with champagne, $7). Don’t miss the bloody-mary-inspired Hot & Dirty martini at Gallery Bistro.
Best Moderately Priced Restaurant
Springfield Brewing Company
A friend of the magazine who loves Gallery Bistro recently told us that she believes the Bistro delivers the same quality as many other high-end restaurants, for a lower price. Whether that’s the case or not is up to you to decide, but it’s a fact that certain dishes are pretty affordable… notably, the ba mee gai noodle dish ($11.99) and the hazelnut-encrusted tilapia ($15.55).
Gailey’s Breakfast Café
Our picks: Ziggie’s Greek omelette, Gailey’s build-your-own options (we add avocado and sundried tomato to our omelette); Scrambler’s four-egg version (if very hungry!); Village Inn’s Cross-Country Omelette with ranchero sauce.
Best Outdoor Dining
Galloway Station (tie)
Candlestick Inn Restaurant (Branson winner)
Pairings’ outdoor deck was truly the most elegant in the region until the restaurant closed, while Galloway Station’s is the most fun and Candlestick Inn’s offers the most dramatic view.
Beth’s Bake Shoppe
Village Inn (chain)
Sunshine Valley Farm
Our favorite pie of the moment at Beth’s is the coconut cream pie ($14.95 per pie), while the classic American-diner-style pies at Village Inn make us slobber—the French Silk most of all ($9.99 per pie). Sunshine Valley Farm also uses incredibly fresh ingredients.