Dining Day Trips
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.
(page 7 of 10)
Start your day off right with stick-to-your-ribs bacon, eggs and hashbrowns or sweet French toast and pie at Mary Lee’s Cafe.
New restaurants, cafes and bars are opening left and right in Joplin, so Assistant Editor Ettie Berneking decided to load up the car with Art Director Heather Kane and photographer Brandon Alms to spend a day eating her way through five of the city’s eateries.
By Ettie Berneking
9:30 a.m. Mary Lee’s Café
This cozy house-turned-café was a suggestion from City Hall, and as soon as we walked into Mary Lee’s Café (712 W. 20th St., Joplin), I knew we had struck gold. Nine tables and 33 chairs are all that fit into the tiny, one-room café, and we were clearly the only out-of-towners around this morning. Everything here is homemade, including the assortment of pies: lemon meringue, chocolate, blueberry, cherry, apple and pumpkin in the fall.
The biscuits and gravy are better than any I’ve ever had. Instead of cracking open individual biscuits, the kitchen here bakes one giant biscuit in a pie pan and cuts out enormous squares of warm, soft bread that are drowned in a delicious peppery white gravy.
After finishing off my slice of lemon meringue pie, a forkful of hashbrowns and a slice of crisp bacon, I ordered a third cup of coffee and settled in for some quality people watching.
If you're visiting Joplin, a stop by Grand Falls waterfall is a must.
11 a.m. Grand Falls
With a picnic basket loaded down with water, snacks and some light reading material, we ventured down the road to the Grand Falls waterfall. We weren’t the only ones at the falls. Several other groups of people had moseyed over for a quick dip in the cool water or to enjoy the view.
Duke Walter serves up pizzas at Midtown Pizza Kitchen, a restaurant that is quickly becoming a town favorite.
Noon: Midtown Pizza Kitchen (Editor's note: This restaurant has closed since the publication of this article.)
Already devout fans of Jason Miller’s creative eateries, Instant Karma and Eagle Drive-In, we knew we had to stop at his latest venture, Midtown Pizza Kitchen (1212 S. Main St., Joplin). Several of the pizzas are named after other Joplin restaurants, including the Bruncheonette, which we ordered. The pie features crispy-yet-chewy New York–style crust topped with a garlic cream sauce, coffee-rubbed slices of tenderloin, prosciutto, creamy mozzarella, provolone, fresh arugula and a fried egg.
Oh, we also had the Burrata Cheese Fried, a mozzarella stick on steroids. To make this dreamy creation, an entire mozzarella ball is breaded and deep fried. Next it is artfully dropped in a pool of fresh tomatoes and beautifully drizzled with pesto aioli. There are no words to describe how incredibly delicious this thing tasted.
2 p.m. Sweet Caroline's Creamery
Pizza and ice cream? If there is a better combo out there, I don’t know of it. And lucky for us, Sweet Caroline’s Creamery (1027 S. Main St., Joplin) is located practically across the street from Midtown Pizza Kitchen.
This vintage creamery has plenty of bright blue charm, and I ordered a double scoop of ice cream indulgence: pistachio and some sort of butterscotch, brownie and caramel swirl.
While it's a great town for eating, Joplin is also a great spot for shopping. We love the range of local boutiques and antique stores, including Simply Vintage (pictured).
4 p.m. Downtown Shopping
Downtown Joplin is home to several boutiques that carry everything from women’s clothing and shoes to antiques, knick-knacks and home goods. And with everything within walking distance, this was a great way for us to burn off all the food we’d eaten. (I’ll walk just about any distance if it involves shopping.)
The Dining Car serves up a variety of first-class fare, including shrimp cocktail, The Canyon Creek Pass chicken and shrimp tacos.
6 p.m. The Dining Car (Editor's note: This restaurant has closed since the publication of this article.)
For our last meal of the day, we popped into The Dining Car (1027 S. Main St., Joplin), a farm-to-table restaurant located inside the beautifully restored Gryphon building. You really can’t go wrong here. The Canyon Creek Pass Chicken is a crowd favorite, and after just a few bites, it became one of our favorites as well. This stack of deliciousness starts with a bed of peppery mashed potatoes and is followed by a juicy fried portobello mushroom, a pan-roasted chicken breast, sliced avocado, feta cheese and the house-made Gryphon sauce. With pinkies raised and our belts loosened, we ordered a shrimp cocktail with lemons and the Caesar salad with grilled chicken (which we thought would be a smaller size, but turned out to be enough to feed all three of us). By the end of our meal, we needed a forklift to haul us to the car.
9 p.m. Infuxn Boaka Bar (Editor's note: This bar has closed since the publication of this article.)
Half the fun of wandering through Joplin is talking with store and restaurant owners to learn which joints they would recommend, and the guys at Midtown Pizza Kitchen recommended we end our day at Infuxn Boaka Bar (530 S. Main St., Joplin). This vodka bar is unlike anything else you’ll find in Joplin, in part because it’s Joplin’s only ice bar. But it also has stunning décor, bright lights, deep blue leather booths and an inventive cocktail menu that all make it stand out from Joplin’s crowd of dive bars. To really finish our day out with a bang, we ordered a round of Moscow mules and watched the sun set over Main Street.
Five Tried and True Favorites
Hungry for more? These five Joplin eateries have won over our hearts and our taste buds several times. If you can’t squeeze them into this visit, then make them your reason to come back again.
4224 S. Main Street, Joplin, 417-623-2228
Gourmet burgers mix with some not-so-ordinary diner eats like bone marrow, prime rib and a daily special board you’re be drooling over.
Instant Karma Gourmet Hot Dogs
527 S. Main Street, Joplin, 417-206-3647
Who says grilled cheese and hot dogs are only good when you’re a kid? These wacky and often wild versions are nothing but delicious.
Caldone’s (Editor's note: This restaurant has closed since the publication of this article.)
218 S. Main Street, Joplin, 417-626-8111, caldones.com
Good Italian food with a dark, romantic atmosphere. Does it get any better?
Crabby’s Seafood Bar & Grill
815 W. Seventh Street, Joplin, 417-206-3474, crabbysjoplin.com
Fine dining with a wide selection of seafood has made this restaurant a Joplin favorite.
ME’s Place Soul Food Kitchen
1203 Broadway Street, Joplin, 417-622-0603
Run by a sweet couple who really know their way around the kitchen, this neighborhood soul food joint is whipping up some seriously delicious fried chicken.
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