Best of 417 2013

Our annual rundown of your very favorite people, places, foods and things about living in 417-land.

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

(page 2 of 6)

 



Santa Fe Grill

Runners-Up
Koriya
The Dugout
Enoch’s BBQ & Southern Classics

Avanzare Italian Dining
Metropolitan Grill
Ocean Zen
Nonna’s Italian Café
Jimm’s Steakhouse & Pub

Runners-Up
Flame Steakhouse
Aviary Café and Creperie
Touch Restaurant
Farmers Gastropub
Kai


Johnson Tan
Ocean Zen, 5 Spice China Grill, Flo Wine Bar

Runners-Up
Pat Duran

Metropolitan Grill, Santa Fe Grill
Peter Tinson
Nonna’s Italian Café
Tony Garcia
Avanzare Italian Dining
Mike Jalili
Flame Steakhouse,  Touch Restaurant
Robert Stricklin
Dobyns Dining Room at The Keeter Center


Level 2 Steakhouse

Runners-Up
Outback Steak & Oyster Bar

Chateau Grille
Dobyns Dining Room at 
The Keeter Center
Table 22
Worman House


Red Onion Café

Runners-Up
Crabby’s Seafood

On the Roll
Mythos
Café 609

 

 

Winner of Springfield’s Best Burger, Grad School’s Full Ride burger is loaded with two beef patties, caramelized onions, double-smoked bacon and soft sharp white cheddar cheese.

 

Runners-Up
Bair’s All-American Sports Grill
Whistler’s Old Fash-ioned Hamburgers
Ebbets Field


Burger Shack

Runners-Up
Billy Bob’s Dairyland
Montana Mike’s Steakhouse
Farmers Gastropub

Chain Winner
Hardee’s

Chain Runners-Up
Steak ‘n Shake
Backyard Burgers

This hidden gem on the north side of town (Louie’s Drive-In, 2415 W. Division St., Springfield, 417-831-0883) has some of the best burgers and fries in 417-land, along with the best peanut butter milkshake we have ever tried. The buns are toasted, and the hand-cut fries are extra-crispy. The most amazing part is that Louie’s is churning out all this food in a building smaller than your garage. You can order at the drive-through, grab a seat at one of the few tables inside or snag a seat at a picnic table outside.

 

Some of us at 417 Magazine have lived in bigger cities, where food trucks lined the streets. In Springfield, we were green with envy. But our food truck scene has slowly been picking up steam, and we love it! First there was the occasional taco truck. Then, new city ordinances that passed last year made it a little easier to have and park a food truck around town. Now, you can find everything from crepes (Aviary on the Fly) to healthy and fresh smoothies (Big Red Juice Truck). We can’t wait for even more!

There are oh-so-many reasons we love Pat Duran’s new Santa Fe Grill (3120 E. Sunshine St., Springfield, 417-315-8745, thesantafegrill.com), and one of them is the number displayed on the clock-style counter you see when you walk through the door. The counter hangs over the restaurant’s guacamole bar (where all guacamole is made-to-order), and it counts the number of avocados the restaurant has used since it opened. On every hundredth avocado, the order is free!

Mother’s Brewing Company produces three year-round beers, Tow Head, Three Blind Mice and Lil’ Helper, plus seasonal and specialty beers. 

Best Biscuits & Gravy
Gailey’s Breakfast Café

Runners-Up
Cedars Restaurant
Aunt Martha’s Pancake House
Rosie Jo’s Café
Anton’s Coffee Shop

Chain Winner
Village Inn

Chain Runners-Up
Bob Evans
Cracker Barrel
Hardee’s

Best Casual Dining
Grad School

Runners-Up
Big Whiskey’s American Sports Bar & Grill
Farmers Gastropub
Nearly Famous Deli & Pasta House
The Grotto

Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant
Nakato Japanese Steakhouse

Runner-Up
Nonna's Italian Café

Chain Winner
Incredible Pizza

Chain Runners-Up
Chick-fil-A
Houlihan’s

Best Kid-Friendly Branson Restaurant
Hook & Ladder Pizza Company

Runner-Up
Outback Steak & Oyster Bar

Best Bar Food
Big Whiskey’s American
Sports Bar & Grill

Runners-Up
Farmers Gastropub
The J.O.B. Public House
Dublin’s Pass
Finnegan’s Wake

Best Salads
The Grotto

Runners-Up
Aviary Café and Creperie
Garbo’s Pizzeria
Jimm’s Steakhouse & Pub
Big Whiskey’s American Sports
Bar & Grill

Best Sandwich
Prime Rib French Dip
 at Jimm’s Steakhouse & Pub

Runners-Up:
The Cuban at Grad School
Egg Salad at Nearly Famous Deli &
Pasta House
Chicken and Artichoke Panini at
Bambinos Café
Blackened Turkey and Bacon Sand-
wich at The Rebecca Grille

Best Bakery Item
Cinnamon Rolls at Amycakes

Runners-Up
Croissants at Elle’s Patisserie
Cinnamon rolls at Sisters In Thyme
Carrot cake at Enoch’s BBQ &
Southern Classics
Anpan at Echigo Farm


Ginger shots from MaMa Jean’s Natural Market provide a buzz, without the alcohol. 

 

Best Excuse to Take Shots During the Day

Ginger shots at MaMa Jean’s Natural Market

You might scoff at the idea of a shot of ginger juice (yes, just ginger and nothing else), but if you want a midday pick-me-up, it’s the perfect solution. Pungent, spicy and a little alarming, it wakes you right up. And, ginger makes you feel pretty darn good.

 

Best Spicy Bowl of Heat

Jjamppong from Soo’s Korean Restaurant

If fiery red is the color of spiciness, then this bowl of soup delivers as-advertised. Jjamppong from Soo’s Korean Restaurant (3644 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield, 417-889-2220, sooskr.com) is a spicy seafood soup that comes to the table in a gigantic bowl (you will definitely be taking at least half of this home with you) filled with bright, bright, bright red broth. Packed inside are tender noodles and a plethora of seafood: shrimp, octopus, calamari and mussels. You can get this soup spicy or not, but we recommend going all out and asking for it extra-hot. The pungent red pepper in the broth will clear your sinuses, but it isn’t just a flavorless heat. The taste goes perfectly with the shellfish and is cooled down by the thick, chewy noodles. It’s hot, yes. But it’s balanced. We love it.

 

Best Rebranding

Springfield Brewing Company

We’d like to salute Front Row Property for a job well done. The group bought the brewery back in 2011 from the Paul Mueller Company and has wasted no time rebranding it into the iconic Springfield Brewing Company (305 S. Market Ave., Springfield, 417-832-8277, springfieldbrewingco.com). Front Row Property’s mission has been to revitalize, reinvigorate and reintroduce its beers to 417-land beer aficionados, and with its ales, lagers and porters in some 55 retail spaces and on tap at more than 20 local restaurants and bars, Springfield Brewing Company is quickly becoming a household name. The rebranding efforts have also spread into the kitchen. A new head chef oversees the production of from-scratch breads, pizza crusts and sauces, and the restaurant uses locally sourced cheese and certified angus beef. The SBC slogan, “think global, drink local,” has really paid off. Way to go, folks!

 

Best Restaurant Transformation

Finnegan’s Wake

What used to be a low-key bar and restaurant with good pizza known as South Avenue Pizza Company has been transformed into a low-key bar and restaurant with amazing Irish cuisine. From the delicious Guinness fondue to the beef and stout with herbed dumplings, it’s all scrumptious. While the restaurant side’s menu transformation has happened in the past year, the bar side has been evolving over time. The result: a great spot for tasty drinks, delicious food and trivia on Wednesday nights.

 


Chocolate covered strawberries from Chateau Grille

 

 
Best Place for a Romantic Branson Dinner
Chateau Grille

Runners-Up
Level 2 Steakhouse
Candlestick Inn

Best Outdoor Dining
Whiskey’s American Sports Bar & Grill

Runners-Up
Farmers Gastropub
Touch Restaurant

Best Outdoor Dining in Branson
Chateau Grille

Honorary Winner
Candlestick Inn

(This spot won on votes, but as of press time, it was still closed for tornado repairs.)

Runner-Up:
Outback Steak & Oyster Bar

Best Pizza
Pizza House

Runners-Up
McSalty’s
Garbo’s Pizzeria
The Grotto
Bud & Walt’s Pizza & Pasta

Chain Winner
Arris’ Pizza

Chain Runner-Up
Imo’s Pizza

Best Place for a Romantic Dinner
Touch Restaurant

Runners-Up
Flame Steakhouse
Ristorante Gilardi’s
Avanzare Italian Dining
Metropolitan Grill

Best Branson Sandwich 
Gyro at Vasken’s Deli

Runners-Up
Crab and Lobster BLT at the Chateau on the Lake Atrium Café
Hot Ham and Cheese at Vasken’s Deli

Best Frozen Treats
Pineapple Whip

Runners-Up
Elle’s Patisserie
Galloway Ice Cream Shoppe

Chain Winner
Andy’s Frozen Custard

Chain Runners-Up
Braum’s
Cold Stone Creamery

Best Frozen Yogurt
Orange Leaf

Runner-Up
Simply Yo

Best Steaks
Jimm’s Steakhouse & Pub

Runners-Up
Flame Steakhouse
The Argentina Steakhouse
Metropolitan Grill
Avanzare Italian Dining

Chain Winner
Houlihan’s

Chain Runner-Up
Texas Roadhouse

Best Barbecue
Crosstown Barbeque

Runners-Up
Pappy’s Place
Enoch’s BBQ & Southern Classics
Richard’s Hawgwild BBQ (in Aurora)
St George’s BBQ
 

Chain Winner
Buckingham’s BBQ

Chain Runners-Up
Famous Dave’s
Whole Hog Café


Best Meaty Farm-to-Table Meal

Country Pork Sausage entrée at Dobyns Dining Room

This dish is a very simple (but so delish) take on the classic sausage-and-cabbage comfort food. And the best part is that its components are grown or made at College of the Ozarks. Campus-raised pork and bacon sausage (yum!) is served alongside parsley-buttered potatoes and delicious braised cabbage. Some spicy mustard is the perfect condiment, and a little grilled French bread brings a rustic flavor to the plate.

 

Best Use of Mashed Potatoes

Blue Man Grill

For this appetizer, mashed potato balls stuffed with cheddar cheese and crunchy bacon are rolled in shredded hash browns and deep-fried. Are you kidding me? The Blue Dude Dodger balls at Blue Man Grill (2410 W. Highway 76, Branson, 417-239-2730, bluemangrill.com) are the most insane appetizer we have tried here in 417-land. Crunchy on the outside and warm and gooey on the inside, they are truly and awesomely evil. Even the homemade spicy ranch that accompanies them is delicious.

 

Best Place for a cheap Steak Dinner

Jimm’s Steakhouse & Pub

If you want delicious, tender and juicy steak, Jimm’s Steakhouse & Pub (1935 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-886-5466, jimmssteakhouseandpub.com) is always a safe bet. But we know a little secret. If you sit in the restaurant’s lounge, you can enjoy half-price appetizers and happy hour drink specials Monday– Friday from 11 a.m.–6 p.m., on Saturday from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. This means you can get a whole lot of Jimm’s Steakhouse & Pub’s delicious food for half the price. We love the steak tips appetizer, which features a hearty order of steak tips cooked to your desired temperature and served with horseradish cream cheese sauce, caramelized red onions and flatbread, and it’s only $4.30 during this happy hour! If you want to enjoy live entertainment, you can jam out to piano shows on Friday and Saturday nights from 7–11 p.m.

 

Best Dish for Raw Fish Fans

Chirashi Donburi box at Sakura

There’s someone on our staff who was pregnant while writing this, and the whole time she was madly craving the Chirashi Donburi box from Sakura Japanese Sushi Bar & Grill (3230 S. National Ave., Springfield, 417-882-8000). Just thinking about it was torture for a raw-fish lover who wasn’t allowed to eat raw fish. At the bottom of the box is plenty of delicious sushi rice that’s topped with a huge variety of sashimi. That’s right, just rice and raw fish. Lots of it. It’s delicious and always fresh, and it satisfies the biggest sushi craving. If you prefer dolled-up maki rolls packed with cream cheese or deep-fried or doused in sauce, then this dish is not for you. But if you love the simple elegance of a mountain of beautiful fish, then run to Sakura. Right now.

A favorite dish at Ocean Zen is the Soy Rock Sugar-Braised Pork Bacon appetizer served with pineapple puree and edamame.

Best Branson Steaks
Level 2 Steakhouse

Runners-Up
Chateau Grille
Outback Steak & Oyster Bar

Best Sushi
Haruno Sushi Bar & Grill

Runners-Up
Kai
Nakato Japanese Steakhouse
Ocean Zen
Umi Japanese Restaurant

Best Sports Bar
Big Whiskey’s American Sports Bar & Grill

Runners-Up
Ebbets Field
Bair’s All-American Sports Grill
Harbell’s Grill & Sports Bar
The Roost

Best Cashew Chicken
Leong’s Asian Diner

Runners-Up
Hong Kong Inn
Lucy’s Chinese Food
Canton Inn
Blu Sesame

Best Coffee Place
Classic Rock Coffee

Runners-Up
The Mudhouse
Dancing Mule Coffee
The Coffee Ethic
Hebrew’s Coffee

Chain Winner
Starbucks

Chain Runner-Up
Panera

Best Italian Food
Nonna’s Italian Café

Runners-Up:
Avanzare Italian Dining
Bambinos Café
Ristorante Gilardi’s
Bruno’s Il Ristorante

Best Mexican Food
Maria’s MexicanRestaurant

Runners-Up
Mexican Villa
Santa Fe Grill
El Puente
Tortilleria Perches

Best Tea Room
Tea Bar & Bites

Runners-Up
Spring Creek Tea Room
Beth’s Bake Shoppe & Tea Room
Lola’s Pastries & Eatery
Lemon Drop Café & Tea Room

Best Vegetarian Restaurant
The deli at MaMa Jean’s Natural Market

Runners-Up
Grad School
Koriya
The Grotto
Gem of India

Best Wings
Coyote’s Adobe Café

Runners-Up
Big Whiskey’s American Sports Bar
& Grill
Grad School
Patton Alley Pub
Harbell’s Grill and Sports Bar

Chain Winner
Buffalo Wild Wings

Chain Runner-Up
Wing Stop

 

With more than 60 selections to choose from, Ophelia’s is the winner for the Best Wine List.

Best Impress-Your-Guests Event Food

FireLight Pizza Company

When it comes to really throwing a total blowout event, enlist the help of FireLight Pizza Company (Springfield, 417-848-4541). These crispy, thin-crust pies are cooked in 90 seconds inside a roaring-hot wood-fired oven on wheels. The truck is sure to make your next backyard bash or wedding reception a winning event

 

Best Thing Served in a Tea Cup

Mushroom sage soup at Vintage Veranda Tea Room

Talk about cute. Your serving of mushroom sage soup at Vintage Veranda Tea Room (724 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield) is served in a dainty vintage tea cup. Even tea-lovers would have to admit that this delicious soup is the best thing you could possibly eat out of a tea cup. Its broth is rich and creamy with lots of savory sage flavor, and the mushrooms are tender and tasty.

 

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