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New Year, New Eats in Columbia

January 14, 2014

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Columbia is well known for its outstanding dining experiences. From a quick sandwich to an upscale feast, Columbia offers visitors an array of choices for any occasion. The restaurant scene is also always changing here, so let’s get you up to speed on what’s new in town.

Günter Hans

Günter Hans Artisan Cafe is open in the former Pasta Factory location, tucked away off of Hitt Street in downtown Columbia. Serving up a small menu of bretzels, gelato and a great selection of beers, everything at Günter Hans is fresh and made from scratch everyday. They also offer up unique cheese boards and specialty drinks. This spot is a perfect fit in Columbia. As they say on their website, ‘our menu is unique and our style non-traditional, but so is Columbia! That’s one of the many reasons we’re excited to be here.’

Zaxby’s

Now that Columbia is officially in SEC country, it’s only right that it’s now home to two Zaxby’s locations. A southern stable since the 90s, Zaxby’s serves up chicken fingers, crinkle cut fries, signature sauces and lots of hospitality. Check them out at Highway 63/Stadium and off Providence Road south of Nifong.

Café Poland

A tiny space with hearty food, Café Poland on Locust in downtown Columbia will warm you up on these cold winter days. Sample their many types of pierogies and enjoy the welcoming owners. In the summer, their iced beverages will keep you cool as you roam around The District.

Cheerleader Pub & Grill

A great destination for food and fun, with a focus on the SEC, Cheerleader Pub & Grill is located at Highway 63 and Stadium, making it the perfect stop for a bite on game days. The menu features items named after your favorite SEC teams, there are televisions aplenty and over 40 beer taps!

Glenn’s Cafe

Around in some form for most years since 1939, Glenn’s Cafe isn’t new to Columbia, but its return is definitely worth celebrating. With its beloved neon sign now hanging proudly on 8th Street, Glenn’s is open for business in The Tiger Hotel. The menu at Glenn’s is rooted in Cajun and Creole flavors with fresh seafood, bold flavors and a gourmet touch.

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Finish Your Holiday Shopping in Columbia! One Day, Twelve Ways

December 10, 2013

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‘Tis the season…to panic about holiday shopping! Lists of friends, relatives and co-workers are piling up and making you wonder if you’ll ever get all your gifts bought. Never fear, Columbia is here! We’ve assembled another festive list (one you can even sing along with) that can help you knock out those presents in a snap. Spend one day in CoMo then put your feet up to revel in having your shopping done.

On my CoMo holiday shopping trip, I bought on my spree…

Twelve Velvet Cupcakes

Pick up a dozen of the most delectable, unique treats you’ll come across this season. The cupcake menu at The Velvet Cupcake changes daily, but the guests at your holiday party or your aunt with the sweet tooth will be delighted no matter which flavor you choose.

Eleven Painting Classes

Grab your ten closest friends and have a night out at The Canvas on Broadway. At the Canvas, art is for everyone, and you’ll leave with your very own piece of art and great holiday memories. They also have a bar, so your creativity will undoubtedly be heightened.

Ten Terrific Tootsies

Some days, there’s nothing more relaxing than a nice spa pedicure. For the person in your life who could use some pampering, pick up the gift of relaxation in the form of a gift card for one of Columbia’s many spas. A couple of Columbia favorites, Riversong and Salon Adair, will always be winners.

Nine Gunther’s Tokens

Have someone who always wants the highest score? Gunther’s Games is back in downtown Columbia! Offering classic games as well as new titles, Gunther’s is a great place for your favorite kid or kid at heart.

Eight Tiger Goodies

You’ve probably heard that Mizzou has had a pretty fantastic year sports-wise. Show your favorite fans you care with some Tiger gear from Rally House or Tiger Spirit. From coffee mugs to keychains, pom-poms to Tiger ears, the Mizzou fans in your life will go crazy for your black and gold gift.

Seven Stocking Stuffers

Everyone likes to find a little something special in their stocking! Check out Calhoun’s for fun little gifts ranging from unique jewelry to fun home decor and items for kids. Calhoun’s really is a one-stop-shop for that something extra special for anyone on your list!

Six Local Art Pieces

If there’s one thing Columbia really knows how to do, it’s art! Explore spots like Artlandish, PS:Gallery, Bluestem Missouri Crafts and the Columbia Art League Gallery for pieces with a local flavor at all price points. Whether you’re looking for a small work or a statement piece to last a lifetime, Columbia’s galleries offer some of the most beautiful work around.

Fiiiiiive Flower Arrangements

Everyone needs a centerpiece for the big holiday meal, right? Volunteer to take care of that this year and get rave reviews with an arrangement from Kent’s Floral Gallery on Broadway. Just stepping inside Kent’s during the holidays is an experience. Kent and his team will make your holiday shine with an arrangement that’s ready to go or customize it to your preference.

Four Pints of Sparkys

You can also be the star of the holiday by showing up with dessert! Allow us to recommend stopping by Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream to pick up an array of flavors. You can choose from the ready-to-go freezers or have them pack up any of their available flavors as well. You can go as traditional or outlandish on your choices as you want…Sparky’s has something for everyone!

Three Bags of Coffee

Another thing Columbia does well is coffee. With three colleges and a population of hard-workers, there’s never a short demand for caffeine. Explore the different roasts and local shops like Lakota, Coffee Zone and Kaldi’s to get the java lover in your life something new for their mornings.

Two True/False Passes

The True/False Film Fest is one of the hallmark weekends in Columbia. What started as a small event 11 years ago is now one of the world’s most respected documentary film festivals. Throw in a parade, music showcases, a game show and nightly parties and you have pretty much the most fun someone could have in four days. Passes are on sale now!

And a Gift Certificate Just For You From Me!

Need a gift for that one person who has everything? Let them explore Columbia for themselves! A gift certificate to The District will get that special someone into restaurants, shops and more!

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13 Things to do in Columbia, MO before the end of 2013

November 18, 2013

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Blog11.15.13

Somehow we’ve already made it to November this year! With only a few weeks left in 2013, here are a few Columbia experiences to check off your list before you ring in the new year. Of course, if you wait a little longer, we won’t tell.

13. Peruse a Gallery
Looking for a little inspiration? Wander through some of Columbia’s impressive art galleries for all mediums of art created by artists from across the country. 
12. Explore Campus
There’s not much more beautiful than freshly fallen snow on the University of Missouri campus. Both the historic buildings and majestic trees look even more amazing than usual under a blanket of white. 
11. Take in a Movie

Spend a few hours in another world with the incredible films showing daily at Ragtag Cinema. With a calendar full of documentaries, acclaimed films from other countries and features made by locals, your Ragtag experience will be both relaxing and enlightening.

10. Grab Some Hot Chocolate

Whether you’re cold, thirsty or your hands are just freezing, take time to explore all of Columbia’s wonderful coffee shops. If you need something with a little more pick-me-up, we love the Rocket Fuel at Coffee Zone.

9. Make Your Own Art

Even if you say you don’t have an artistic bone in your body, try your hand at painting with an evening of art at the Canvas on Broadway or Paint the Town Columbia. Both spots have fun projects to sign up for, helpful instructors and a bar!

8. Sip a Drink
If you’re looking for something a little different, head to Bleu to try out some of their seasonal custom cocktails. House-made mixes, syrups and spirits mean you can imbibe in a Red October, a Giggle Water or a Cat on a Hot Gin Roof, all created just for you.
7. Walk on a Trail

Columbia is home to more than 50 miles of trails! Whether you’re a hiker, biker or leisurely stroller, Columbia’s trails are a great escape from the holiday bustle.

6. Get Tiger Gear and Give a Cheer

Time to get some new black and gold gear for the winter season! Rally HouseTiger Spirit and Alumni Hall are great one-stop shops for all your Tiger best. Of course, you’ll want to sport your new clothes at a Tiger sporting event, so make sure to get some tickets too.

5. Attend Living Windows
As the weather turns colder, shopkeepers throughout The District begin planning for the annual Living Windows Festival. On the first Friday in December,from 6 to 8 p.m., shopkeepers move all the merchandise, out of their front windows and stage live holiday performances for onlookers. 
4. Sample Some Sparky’s
Though some may disagree, ice cream is just as amazing in the winter. So amazing, in fact, that Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream is finally going to be open year-round! Those who used to mourn their cold weather closing will be enjoying their incredible range of flavors 365 days a year. 
3. Check Out the UCS
Make the University Concert Series your new holiday tradition. Family-friendly performances including The NutcrackerA Christmas Carol and a Tribute to Trans-Siberian Orchestra go on stage in the historic venues of Jesse Hall and the Missouri Theatre.
2. Buy Your True/False Passes
The True/False Film Festival has become one of the most renowned documentary festivals in the entire world. Get your passes now to experience the films, music, parties and general revelry that True/False brings year after year.
1. Visit the Magic Tree

There’s no better way to end the year than to load up the car and visit Columbia’s Magic Tree. This tradition started in the front yard of a south Columbia home and is now located in the Village of Cherry Hill, where thousands of people stand in awe at the over 40,000 lights on one tree.

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Unexpected Columbia: Ozark Mountain Biscuit Co.

October 10, 2013

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I had heard the rumblings online about it. I read tweets from people raving about something called the Sooie Pig. I saw pictures of golden biscuits wrapped around mouth watering items like bacon and pulled pork and others of those biscuits smothered in gravy. I knew…I had to find this wonderful place.

It wasn’t until a few weeks after I’d started following them on Twitter (@biscuit_truck) before I finally tracked down the Ozark Mountain Biscuit Company at the Roots ‘n Blues ‘n BBQ Festival in September. Greeted with an array of choices, I went with the choice I’d heard about the most, the Haughty Hillbilly. It was knowing that there was homemade pimento cheese involved that sold me. In moments, I had my biscuit.

Biscuit

It was pretty much as perfect as I’d heard it described. The fried green tomato was perfectly fried and juicy, the bacon crispy, the arugula was fresh and the cheese was incredibly flavorful. And the biscuit…it was flaky, buttery, everything you want in a biscuit.

The sandwich was gone all too soon, but I know I’ll be back. I still have the chicken fried chicken biscuit and the biscuit with sweet cream and homemade preserves to try.

Want to know where to find the Ozark Mountain Biscuit Company during your next Columbia visit? Be sure to follow them on Twitter (@biscuit_truck) for updates on where they’ll be and visit their site to check out their entire menu and get a weekly schedule. Tracking them down is well worth the effort. Your taste buds will thank you!

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Beer, Cookies and Movies

August 22, 2013

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Ta-da!

Sometimes it can be difficult to describe our favorite parts of Columbia. One of those things is Ragtag Cinema. Why? Because it’s so much more than just a theater! Here’s a little recap of my latest trip to Hittsville (the complex that houses Ragtag, Uprise Bakery and 9th Street Video).

After seeing Twenty Feet from Stardom at this year’s True/False Film Festival, I decided that my mom needed to see it. She had never even been inside Ragtag, so I figured it was the perfect opportunity to give her the full Hittsville experience. I bought our tickets online (so easy!) and planned for us to have dinner at Uprise before the show.

Mom was pleasantly surprised at how big the interior was, with lots of open seating and people studying mixed with people enjoying happy hour. We both opted for the bacon, apple and cheddar sandwich for dinner and it did not disappoint. Freshly baked bread surrounded smoky bacon, crisp apples and melted cheese. There’s also always a great variety of beer on tap; I opted for a pear cider. We also both chose a cookie for during the film. That’s right, you can take your food and drinks right into the theater!

Ragtag is home to two theaters, Big Ragtag and Little Ragtag. Little Ragtag is a collection of couches and chairs and has a more casual atmosphere. We settled into Big Ragtag’s theater seats and enjoyed Twenty Feet from Stardom, which chronicles the history of the back up singer in musical culture.

After the movie, Mom couldn’t stop talking about it. I think I’ve created a new Ragtag fan.

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9th Street Summerfests are Back!

June 11, 2013

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Columbia is a little more quiet in the summer. Many of the students are gone and the pace slows down for a few months. But on a few summer nights, downtown gets loud with the return of 9th Street Summerfest concerts!

These fantastic outdoor events are on 9th Street between Broadway and Walnut, outside the famous Blue Note. The entire block fills with fans with food and drinks for sale the entire evening. Summerfests bring in an eclectic mix of musical acts to entertain…check out this summer’s lineup!

Dierks Bentley – June 13th

The Urge – July 12th – Free Show!

Weird Al Yankovic: Apocalypse Tour – July 24th

Reverend Horton Heat – August 16th – Free Show!

Attend one or attend them all! For free shows, just get there early to claim your spot. For the others, get tickets now! We’ll see you downtown to celebrate one of Columbia’s great summer events.

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Unexpected Columbia: Traffic Box Art

June 5, 2013

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One of the most popular places in Columbia is The District, the city’s thriving and vibrant downtown area. Home to dozens of local restaurants, shops and galleries, The District is often busting with visitors and citizens of all ages. Next time you’re exploring downtown, keep your eyes open for some pieces of art you might not expect…on traffic boxes!

Each year the City of Columbia, Missouri invites local artists to apply for a public art project to create art on traffic signal boxes in the downtown area. The goal of the project is to decrease the instances of graffiti on these surfaces while making them artful objects.

Now at five locations throughout downtown, this project has added unexpected pops of color and beauty to the landscape.

Before you visit, check out where the boxes are located and enjoy videos featuring the artists as they complete their projects. Just another unexpected Columbia highlight that you won’t want to miss!

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Uniquely Columbia: The Broadway Diner

May 18, 2013

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It’s late at night…you’ve just spent a fun time on the town with your friends in Columbia…and you’re hungry.

What. Do. You. Do.

You head to the Broadway Diner, of course!

Shown during the daytime. Hopping during the nighttime.

Shown during the daytime. Hopping during the nighttime.

This Columbia institution is located just across the street from Flat Branch Park in downtown. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the Diner has late night hours (opening at 11:00 p.m. and serving it up until 2:00 p.m. the next day).

There are no tv’s, the menus aren’t fancy and the place is tiny, but nowhere comes to mind as quickly after a night out as The Diner. The biscuits and gravy are perfect for breakfast, lunch or late night snack and if you’re really feeling hungry, order The Stretch. It’s a multi-layered platter of hashbrowns topped with scrambled eggs, chili, cheese, peppers and onions. Definitely the perfect cure to a night out on the town.

During your next night on the town in Columbia, head to the Diner to meet some characters and have some great food.

What’s your favorite dish on the menu?

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Finally Farmers Market Season!

May 2, 2013

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‘Tis the season…for the farmers market!

The local enthusiasm for fresh, sustainable produce, meats, baked goods and more means the Columbia is home to three farmers markets! On your next visit to Columbia you can take home something fresh and delicious almost any day of the week.

Boone County Farmers Market

1005 W. Worley Street (The corner of Worley Street and West Blvd)

Saturdays 8 am – 12 pm (April  thru October)

Home to around 20 vendors on any given Saturday morning, the Boone County Farmers Market has an array of produce and goods available. From spring to fall, you can pick up the ingredients for an incredible meal and also buy plants to help you grow your own garden!

Columbia Farmers Market

Main Market Location: The ARC (1701 W. Ash Street)

Monday Market (4:00-6:00 at the ARC), Wednesday Market (4:00-6:00 at the ARC), Thursday Market (3:00-6:00 at Forum Christian Church), Friday Market (3:00-6:00 at Brookside Square), Saturday Market (8:00-Noon at the ARC)

ColumbiaFarmersMarketphoto_by Sam Mead

Columbia’s largest farmers market brings in droves of people throughout the week to their various locations. Their largest market is on Saturday morning, when over 75 vendors fill the lots. The Saturday market often features live music performances, hot breakfast burritos made by local culinary students and other special events in addition to the products available to buy. Try honey ice cream from Walk About Acres, buy fresh cheese from Goatsbeard Farms or pick up something freshly baked from Uprise Bakery. From the salad to the steak to dessert, you can create an entire meal from what’s available at the Columbia Farmers Market.

North Village Farmers and Artisans Market

Wabash Parking Lot in the North Village

Sundays from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

The North Village Farmers and Artisans Market is Columbia’s newest market, celebrating not only local produce but local art. Artisans from the North Village sell their art alongside local farmers and you may even see one of Columbia’s delicious food trucks serving up breakfast during the market. You can also watch cooking demos and there’s a kids booth for the little ones.

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Columbia Snapshot

April 19, 2013

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CSSTrail

Now that longer days and warmer temperatures are back, outdoor enthusiasts are back out on the trail! This particular shot was taken just after crossing under Stadium Blvd. going toward the Stadium trailhead. This section of the MKT Trail provides lots of shade, beautiful scenery and a great way to explore Columbia by foot or on your bike!

Columbia has over 50 miles of trails to explore this spring and summer. Put on those running shoes or hop on your bike to start exploring them all!

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