Best of 417 2009: Food

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

 
Top Five Restaurants

<<< Ocean Zen Pacific Rim
Flame Steakhouse
Touch Restaurant
Bijan’s Sea & Grille
Metropolitan Grill
This win must be a combination of food and atmosphere, since Ocean Zen’s dark and modern décor is sure to leave an impression. Creative sushi and beautiful entrées with a bit of an Asian flair fill the menu at this always-busy, very-popular eatery.

 

 

 

 
Top Five Chefs

Nicola Gilardi of Ristorante Gilardi’s >>>
Mike Jalili of Touch and Flame
Tony Garcia of Avanzare
Johnson Tan of Ocean Zen
Pat Duran of Metropolitan Grill

It’s no great surprise that Nicola Gilardi was voted among the Top Five Chefs. Who doesn’t like Nicola Gilardi? Being a great chef is not only about
preparing fantastic food. It’s also about how you interact with your customers. And Gilardi is always ready with a welcoming pat on the back and maybe a good story, too. When you eat at Ristorante Gilardi’s, you are made to feel at home. Gilardi is in good company among the Top Five Chefs. The other four winners are Mike Jalili of Touch and Flame, Pat Duran of Metropolitan Grill, Tony Garcia of Avanzare and Johnson Tan of Ocean Zen.
Honorable mention
Wing Leong, formerly of Fire & Ice

Best Branson Restaurant

Candlestick Inn
Runners-up
Luigi’s Pizza Kitchen
Outback Oyster & Steakhouse
Chain winner: Cantina Laredo

Best Joplin Restaurant

The Red Onion
Runners-up
Crabby’s Seafood Bar & Grill
Johnny Carino’s

Best New Restaurant

5 Spice China Grill
Runners-up
The Grotto
Chain winner: Macaroni Grill

Best Service

Flame Steakhouse
Runners-up
Metropolitan Grill
Bijan’s Sea & Grille

Editor's Pick: Best Hidden Tea Room

The Fat Quarter
If you blink, you’ll miss the entrance to The Fat Quarter, near Sunshine and 65. But it’s worth turning around. Staff is sweet as pie, sandwiches come with irresistible spreads, and the dessert selection is... well... our tummies are rumbling right now.

Best Bakery

Supreme Bakery
Runners-up
Beth’s Bake Shoppe
The Artisan’s Oven
Chain winner: Panera Bread

Best Bar Food

Big Whiskey’s American Bar & Grill
Runners-up
Galloway Station
Ebbetts Field
Chain winner
Buffalo Wild Wings

Best Breakfast

Gailey’s Breakfast Café
Billy Gail’s (Branson)

Runners-up
Ziggie’s Café
Anton’s Coffee Shop
Chain winner
Village Inn

Best Salads

St. Michael’s Educational Sports Bar & Grill
Runners-up
Nearly Famous Deli & Pasta House
Garbo’s Pizzeria
Chain winner: Ruby Tuesday

Best Beer Selection

Patton Alley Pub
Runners-up
Springfield Brewing Company
MudLounge
Chain winner: Old Chicago

 
Best Martini

Red Room at Flame >>>
Mentioning Flame’s win for Best Martinis is only the tip of the iceberg. The Red Room, which is the dramatically dark downstairs bar at Flame, also won for best Bang for Your Buck  (the $3 burgers at happy hour have to be to a reason for that one), and Flame won for Best Service, Best Place for a Romantic Dinner, Best Steaks and Best Place for a First Date. You can’t get enough of this spot, which boasts dry-aged steaks, decadent desserts, a to-die-for garbage salad and some lobster macaroni and cheese that’s absolutely irresistible.
Runners-up
Bijan’s Sea & Grille / Romeo y Julieta
Parlor 88

Best Chocolate Fix

Candy House Gourmet Chocolates
Runners-up
Askinosie Chocolate
Andy’s Frozen Custard

Best Donuts

St. George’s Donut Shop
Dunkin Donuts (Branson)

Runner-up
Supreme Bakery
Chain winner: Krispy Kreme

Best Brunch

Hemingway’s Blue Water Café
Runners-up
Worman House at Big Cedar
The Keeter Center

Best Power Lunch

Metropolitan Grill
Runners-up
Ocean Zen Pacific Rim
Fire & Ice
Chain winner: Panera Bread

Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant

Tortillas (closed since voting)
Runners-up
Arris’ Pizza (tie)
Bud & Walt’s (tie)
Luigi’s Pizza (tie)
Nakato Japanese Steakhouse
Chain winner: Incredible Pizza

Best Place for a Romantic Dinner

Flame Steakhouse
Candlestick Inn

Runners-up
Bijan’s Sea & Grille
Touch Restaurant

Best Sushi

Haruno
Runners-up
Kai After Dark
Nakato Japanese Steakhouse

Best Pizza

Arris’ Pizza
Runners-up
Luigi’s Pizza Kitchen
McSalty’s Pizza Café
Chain winner: Imo’s Pizza

Best Casual Dining

<<< Nearly Famous Deli & Pasta House
The dining room is relaxed, and the wait staff is always cheerful. And as for the restaurant’s best casual dining accolades… well… build-it-yourself sandwiches and light comfort food like soups and egg salad make this spot’s menu deliciously satisfying without being fancy.
Runners-up
Springfield Brewing Company
Fire & Ice
The Grotto
Chain winner: Cheddar’s

Editor's Pick: Best Use of Bacon

Touch’s bacon-wrapped dates
The dates are sweet and chewy, the cheese inside is sharp, the bacon outside is salty and crispy, and the balsamic reduction bring is all together. Bacon never tasted so perfect.

Best Outdoor Dining

Galloway Station
Candlestick Inn (Branson)

Runners-up
Trolley’s Downtown Bar & Grille
Touch Restaurant
Chain winner: Cantina Laredo

Best Restaurant with a View

Candlestick Inn
Runners-up
The Tower Club
Chateau on the Lake

Best Steaks

Flame Steakhouse
Runners-up
Fire & Ice
Argentina Steakhouse
Chain winner: Doe’s Eat Place

Best Barbecue

Buckingham’s
Danna’s (Branson)

Runners-up
Crosstown Barbecue
Chain winner: Rib Crib

Best Thai

Thai House
Thai Thai (Branson)

Runners-up
Thai Peppers
Tong’s Thai Restaurant

Best Sandwich

The Sub Shop >>>
The tiny little structure on Seminole Street near Glenstone Avenue doesn’t look like much, but if you swing buy at lunchtime on a nice day, the line for sandwiches wraps around the building. There’s no seating inside and just a couple of picnic tables on the sidewalk. But nobody seems to mind. It’s grab-and-go goodness, and it’s super-affordable.
Runners-up
Nearly Famous Deli & Pasta House
St. Michael’s Educational Sports Bar & Grill
Chain winner: Panera Bread

Best Italian

Ristorante Gilardi’s
Tony Z’s (Branson)

Runners-up
Avanzare
Nonna’s Italian-American Café
Chain winner: Zio’s

Best Mexican

Maria’s Mexican Restaurant
Elenita’s Mexican Café (Branson)

Runners-up
Mexican Villa
Cielito Lindo
Chain winner: Cantina Laredo

Best Frozen Treats

Andy’s Frozen Custard
Chain winners
Coldstone Creamery
Braum’s Ice Cream & Dairy

Best Tea Room

Beth’s Bake Shoppe
The Garden at Branson Meadows (Branson)

Runners-up
Tea Bar & Bites
Café Roswitha

Best Chinese

Mr. Yen’s
Runners-up
Hong Kong Inn
5 Spice China Grill

Editor's Pick: Best Way to Start the Day

Real New York–style bagels at Coffee Ethic
There are bagels, and then there are bagels. The real deal is boiled for that signature chewy texture. We were thrilled when we found these gems at the Coffee Ethic.

Best Cashew Chicken

Hong Kong Inn
Runners-up
Fire & ice
Lucy’s

Best Fusion

Ocean Zen
Runners-up
Kai After Dark
5 Spice China Grill

Best Caterer

Dining by Design
Runners-up
Flame / Touch
Simply Delicious

Best Coffee

MudHouse
Runners-up
The Coffee Ethic
Cassil’s Coffee Cafe
Chain winner: Starbucks

Best Margarita

<<< Maria’s
This Springfield restaurant routinely fills bellies with crunchy fried tacos and giant burritos. But it’s also known for its wall of tequilas, any of which can be made into the margaritas that readers voted the best in 417-land. We love the Traditional: It’s nothing but tequila, lime juice and Grand Marnier.
Runners-up
Ceilito Lindo
Prima’s
Chain winner: Cantina Laredo

Best Desserts

Beth’s Bake Shoppe
Runners-up
Flame
Fedora Social House
Chain winner: Andy’s Frozen Custard

Best Bang for the Buck

Flame / Red Room
Runners-up
Touch
Ziggie’s
Chain winner: Cheddar’s

Best Japanese

<<< Nakato
Nakato’s sushi is always top-notch, and the hibachi grill is a great place to bring out-of-towners looking for food and fun.
Runners-up
Haruno
Hinode

Best Greasy Spoon

Ziggie’s
Runners-up
Casper’s
Anton’s Coffee Shop
Chain winner: Waffle House

Best 24-hour Restaurant

Ziggie’s
Runners-up
George’s
Ben’s Carriage House
Chain winner
Steak n Shake

Editor's Pick: Best Secret Sushi Roll

The Green Mountain Roll at Sushi House
Sushi House is a teeny hole-in-the wall in Branson and not what you’d call a flashy sushi joint. But the list of rolls is huge, and we love the Green Mountain Roll, which comes with a little seaweed salad on every single piece. Yum!

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