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210 W. Jackson St., Marshfield, 417-859-7251
This small-town diner is famous for its stuffed French toast. This family recipe uses thick slices of Texas toast that are dipped in egg, breaded with corn flakes then fried. The stuffing selections are just as scrumptious as the battered and fried toast. There’s the usual blueberry or blackberry stuffed French toast, then there’s the seasonal variety like the cranberry or pumpkin.
While this crispy rendition of French toast is reason enough to travel to Marshfield, there are other menu items that have customers raving. From the chili, biscuits and pancakes, this kitchen stays busy serving up made-from-scratch treats. The crepes and burgers are also sought after lunch items. Come early: Freda’s fills up quickly and closes up at 2 p.m. seven days a week.
Route 66 Café at Tubby’s Diner
2204 W. College St., Springfield, 417-501-8633
Everything at Route 66 Café is homemade, and you can taste the difference. The crusted French toast is a close-guarded recipe that has customers raving. The key to its crunchy coating, fluffy filling and the hint of vanilla: the batter is spiked with vanilla beans instead of vanilla extract. The result is a not-too-sweet French toast that gets a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of fruit compote. The servers at Route 66 recommend skipping butter and syrup when digging into this breakfast favorite. The sweet vanilla flavoring of the toast stands well on its own. For a more stick-to-your-ribs breakfast, try the catfish and eggs. It might not sound like breakfast food, but when this flaky fish gets dunked in warm egg yolk, the breakfast gods sing hallelujah. Breakfast served all day, and they take cash and credit.
Aunt Martha’s Pancake House
1700 E. Cherokee St., Springfield, 417-881-3505
(Editor's note: This restaurant has closed since the publication of this article.) There are more than 17 kinds of pancakes at Aunt Martha’s, where flapjacks are serious business. There’s the pumpkin spice pancake, the banana pecan pancake with caramel topping and the gingerbread pancake with whipped cream, butter and hot maple syrup. But one of the most sought-after flapjacks is the peanut butter pancake. And everything is made from scratch. The pancake recipe is a family secret; only two people know it. Breakfast is served all day, and the down-home atmosphere keeps hungry hordes of folks coming in.
The Elm Street Eatery
135 W. Elm St., Lebanon, 417-588-2700
If you’re like most of us and hit snooze a few too many times, have no fear: The Elm Street Eatery’s breakfast menu is served all day long. Popular options here include a variety of famous pancakes. The flapjacks come in several varieties, including strawberry and blueberry, and pecan upon request. The pecan pancakes are drizzled with heavenly caramel syrup and topped with crunchy nuts. Fluffy buttermilk pancakes with salty pecans and sweet caramel sauce? Yes, please.
Bric’s Belgian Waffle and Pancake House
4760 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield, 417-823-8480; 1882 James River Rd., Ozark, 417-582-2600
The waffles at Bric’s have made this pancake house a batter-lover’s heaven. The pecan waffle is especially sinful and should be enjoyed with a hearty pour of maple syrup. Each bite is a mix of sweet and nutty with a bit of crunch. And while breakfast is served all day, it can be nice to double up on breakfast and lunch and splurge on the chicken and waffles. This savory-sweet combination is a breakfast/lunch champion.
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