Food is always a near-religious experience for me. For proof, just look at all the meal photos I’ve captioned, “This took me to church.” I can’t count how many times I’ve responded with, “You’re preaching to the choir” to someone who has tried to tell me about a restaurant I already love. And let’s not even attempt to quantify my practically infinite utterances of “Oh my God,” in response to a stellar bite or sip. Seeing that I worship at the altar of appetite, it seemed only fitting that I head to an actual church for dinner. Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves—I went to a restaurant inside what was once a church.
What Is The Finley?
What I call Restaurant Church is perhaps more formally known as The Finley, a fine dining establishment housed inside a renovated church off the Ozark square. The building itself is historic, but updates over the years have expanded its footprint beyond the original church. A sprawling back room, a bar and a downstairs speakeasy are all part of the renovated space. The main dining room is in the nave, and instead of pews, tables are scattered across the polished wood floor, with crisp white walls soaring toward the heavens and stained-glass windows dappling the light. At first glance, it seems like it might be cavernous and full of echoes, but curtains around the room kept the noise level manageable, and the high ceilings lighten the space.