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Head to The Rock Food & Friends on Galloway for an Unbeatable Patio

With an unbeatable patio and a family-friendly atmosphere, The Rock Food & Friends aims to be your go-to Galloway stop.

By Claire Porter

Oct 2019

Patio at The Rock Food & Friends on Lone Pine in Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon AlmsSoak in the warm sun rays on The Rock’s expansive deck, and after dusk, kick back beside the fire pit on the patio below. Purchase Photo

One upside of Missouri’s intensely hot summers is that we often get a pretty pleasant fall—the leaves in the nearby woods turn lush shades of amber and yellow, the open skies are a crisp blue and the temperatures warrant nothing more than a light sweater. In short, it’s the perfect time to spend an evening on a patio, and The Rock Food & Friends has a sprawling patio setup from which you can soak up autumn in all its glory.

Situated within Quarry Town in the Galloway District, The Rock is a semi-upscale family eatery opened by Tim and Jennifer Bair of Bair’s Sports Grill fame. The two have brought their sports pub–style food along with them but have tried instead to create healthier dishes and substitutions to the typically greasy burger-joint offerings. The menu has a robust salad section, and most dishes are heavy on the veggies. Even the sides have lighter options, like brown rice, cauliflower rice or steamed vegetables, creating a varied selection for those looking to curb their French fry habit.

Ahi tuna salad at The Rock in Springfield MO

Regular pub food gets a healthy upgrade with options like fried zucchini, buffalo-style cauliflower and Ahi tuna salad. Down it all with a local brew from fellow Galloway resident 4 By 4 Brewing Co

Purchase Photo
Buffalo Cauliflower appetizer at The Rock in Springfield MO

The buffalo cauliflower appetizer at the Rock is so tender, you’ll barely notice it’s vegetarian.

Purchase Photo
Photos by Brandon Alms

The fresh spin comes with a price hike, with most appetizers and salads clocking in between $10 and $15, but certain appetizers are worth the cost. The snackable zucchini chips with buttermilk dipping sauce are crispy and crunchy, meaning even the pickiest eaters won’t mind that they’re eating their vegetables. And despite the pub-style description, the spicy buffalo cauliflower comes in an Asian-inspired presentation, with scallions and a sweet-not-spicy sauce that would make this dish an ideal replacement for a greasy Kung Pao chicken craving.

The Rock’s successful plates are ones that lean into the greasy expertise of our beloved Bair’s Sports Grill—burgers, hand-breaded chicken fingers and any of the fried appetizers. When the healthy replacements come into play, the dishes tend to fall flat for our liking. For example, in the Peri-Peri chicken sandwich, the veggie burger and the lo mein, a restraint in seasoning and toppings makes enticing-sounding dishes taste one-note. Some of the lighter options, like the Ahi avocado salad, keep things interesting with a mix of crunchy textures and bracing wasabi vinaigrette, but in other starters, the addition of healthy ingredients throws the composition off-balance—the much-better-for-you date syrup in the smoked pork belly biscuits skews too sweet, and the nachos’ homespun spinach artichoke dip doesn’t feel right with the thoroughly Mexican toppings.

Bar at The Rock in Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon AlmsCatch a game while seated at The Rock's full service bar. Purchase Photo

Whether you’re wanting to eat clean or dive into a burger, you’ll find plenty of others doing the same at The Rock—no matter the time of day, there’s always a bustling crowd coming fresh off of a day spent shopping in the district or exploring the nearby Greenways and Sequiota Park. Because you’ll most likely have to wait for a table, you can bide your time by kicking back fireside on the patio and take in the autumnal views. If you want to sip a drink while you’re unwinding pre-dinner, head next door to Great Escape Beer Works (there’s no alcohol allowed on The Rock’s patio). From there you can soak up the same views while downing a brew—all conveniently within the restaurant’s beeper range.

Tips for Visiting The Rock Food & Friends

Visit Great Escape Beer Works Next Door

Considering the immense popularity of The Rock, the wait for a table can be quite long. Quench your thirst while you wait (or, order your food to go and take advantage of the same great neighborhood views) by popping by The Rock’s neighbor, Great Escape Beer Works. Order a local brew, try your hand at the board games or take part in trivia night from another stellar patio setup.

History at The Rock

True to its Quarry Town roots, The Rock pays homage to the area’s history as a rock and limestone quarry not only through the raw stone decorating the space but also through the menu item names. See how many Easter eggs you can spot for yourself.

The Rock Food & Friends

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4018 S. Lone Pine Ave., Springfield417-986-0632
Open Mon.–Thu., 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–midnight; Sun., 11 a.m.–10 p.m.