Tag Archives: Dining

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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Unexpected Columbia: Fabulous Fall Dining

October 29, 2013

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Fall has finally arrived! Leaves all over town are turning brilliant shades of orange and red and menus all over town are also changing to meet the season. Columbia chefs are famous for bringing seasonal, local ingredients to the table and this fall is no exception. Here are a few places where you can find fall favorites. Check out one (or all of them) and let us know what you loved!

Flat Branch Pub and Brewing

A Columbia staple for locals and visitors, Flat Branch just flipped over to their fall menu. The Winter Brewhouse Salad is perfect for a chilly day and fall favorites including Bangers  & Mash and Shepherd’s pie make their return. Of course, washing it all down with a seasonal brew like a golden lager or smoked porter is all part of the experience.

Sycamore

On the corner of 8th and Broadway, Sycamore brings fresh, simple dishes to the table every day and always allows the ingredients to shine. Get started with some pork belly sliders (trust us) and then move on to one of their delicious entrees such as smoked duck breast or braised short ribs. The food is familiar and comforting but always presented beautifully and tastes out of this world.

Les Bourgeois Bistro

Located just 15 minutes west of Columbia at the top of a bluff overlooking the Missouri River, Les Bourgeois is one of the most beautiful dining settings in mid-Missouri. Not only are the views breathtaking, they also have food to match. Try the monthly salad (October’s features winter squash and toasted hazelnuts) and then give the house-made tagliatelle pasta or braised pork shoulder a try. For dessert, try their signature dessert. It’s a flourless chocolate cake called the Nemesis.

Wine Cellar and Bistro

If you’d like to dine surrounded by hundreds of bottles of wine, The Wine Cellar & Bistro is the place! Chef Craig Cyr is strongly committed to using local ingredients so the names of many local farms pop up on his menu every season. This fall, try their warm goat cheese truffles to start, then try their house-made ravioli filled with local chicken or a Missouri raised, grass-fed beef tenderloin. To go with your meal, Sarah Cyr serves as the restaurant’s sommelier and will recommend just the thing. The Wine Cellar and Bistro’s wine list has been awarded The Award of Excellence by The Wine Spectator Magazine every year since 2005.

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Columbia is Poised for Patio Season!

April 11, 2013

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With the trees turning green and flowers starting to bloom, it’s a great time to visit Columbia and experience its outdoor dining options. Last year, we told you about our perfect patios, but we have a few more suggestions for your next trip. Relax with some of Columbia’s most delicious food and enjoy the gorgeous spring weather!

In the District, there’s never a shortage of places to stop and have an incredible meal.

For al fresco dining, check out Teller’s. It only has a few tables out on the sidewalk and they go fast, but it’s a prime location for both food and people watching.

Teller’s in downtown Columbia decked out with Homecoming decorations.

Also in the District, Shiloh Bar and Grill is the perfect spot to sip a drink on their expansive patio, enjoy local music and have a great meal. The large shaded area is perfect for those hot days and the restaurant itself is a restored train station.

Food, fun and festivities.

Heading to the south part of town, a variety of outdoor options await you.

Las Margaritas is a family-friendly and festive place serving up fantastic Mexican cuisine. The restaurant opened this fall, so this spring marks the first time patrons will be able to enjoy their beautiful lakeside patio. Take happy hour outside and take in the view at Las Margaritas.

Fresh and fantastic at Las Margaritas.

If something from across the pond is more your speed, head over to 44 Stone Pub, where a seat on the patio and an extensive beer selection make for a wonderful experience. Dive into welsh rarebit, signature burgers and fish & chips. Be sure to get a side of colcannon. This mix of smashed potatoes, cabbage, bacon, butter and chives is absolute perfection.

44 Stone in south Columbia. Image from the Columbia Business Times.

Now that we’ve introduced you to a few more great Columbia patios, it’s time to come check them out! Did we miss any of your favorites?

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Thanksgiving in Columbia

November 15, 2012

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We’re only a week away from Thanksgiving, and whether your tradition is dressing up and baking pies or watching football in your stretchy pants (yes please!), you’ll need a feast to make the day complete. If you’re visiting from out of town or even if you just don’t want to cook, Columbia has plenty of restaurants open on Thanksgiving to make your holiday memorable.

The Whole Shebang

Looking to get that traditional, fill-your-plate, turkey and sides fix? Plenty of places in Columbia will be open on Thanksgiving for you to dine in or carry out. You can even take the credit…we won’t tell!

Cracker Barrel: Near the intersection of Highway 63 and Interstate 70, Cracker Barrel is serving up the traditional feast all day long in Columbia. From turkey to cornbread stuffing, you’ll be right at home.

Grand Cru: In south Columbia, Grand Cru will host a Thanksgiving brunch from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., so make your reservations now!

Holiday Inn Executive Center: Just off I-70 on the west side of Columbia, the Executive Center has an exceptional Thanksgiving buffet. Carving station, decadent desserts and traditional sides highlight this feast.

The Wine Cellar and Bistro: In the heart of Columbia’s downtown, the Wine Cellar and Bistro offers carryout orders for pickup on Thanksgiving day. Executive Chef Craig Cyr’s menu ranges from turkey to ham, whipped potatoes to pumpkin cheesecake. Give them a call to reserve your order!

To Keep Warm

Cooking a family feast can be exhausting! If you need a pick-me-up or an extra jolt to make it through the festivities, head to Kaldi’s for a maple pumpkin latté or a rosemary and brown sugar latté. It will keep you perked up until the turkey’s carved.

The Sweet Stuff

For our money, there’s no better Thanksgiving dessert than pie. Here’s where you can get yours if you’re like us and can’t figure out how to make a darn pie crust.

The Upper Crust: Pumpkin pie, bourbon pecan pie, chocolate caramel pie, pecan, banana and more! Reserve yours today online!

The Velvet Cupcake: Located next to the Tiger Hotel in downtown Columbia, the Velvet Cupcake offers pies, cupcakes (naturally) and cake rolls (pumpkin or pecan!). Switch up dessert a little this Thanksgiving with something special and sugary from the Velvet Cupcake.

Hot Box Cookies: Made to order and hot from the oven, Hot Box Cookies always has a variety of flavors to choose from. You can even take home their dough and bake them yourself!

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This Thanksgiving, make your meal a Columbia affair! There’s something for everyone’s taste and price range. Now that we have you salivating (please tell us we’re not the only ones!), what’s your Thanksgiving must have? Tell us in the comments!

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Uniquely Columbia: Main Squeeze

October 2, 2012

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Do you enjoy delicious food? Of course you do!

How about delicious vegetarian food that promotes sustainability in an artistic atmosphere? Not sure? Trust us on this one, and check out Main Squeeze Natural Foods Café and Juice Bar in The District.

Believe us when we tell you that Main Squeeze could quite well change how you feel about eating vegetarian food. Everything on the menu is fresh, flavorful and unique, with daily specials and desserts that will surprise you and keep you coming back. Sip on refreshing 100% fruit smoothies like the Strawberry Manilow (Strawberry, Bananas and Orange) and Give Peach a Chance (Apple, Peach Banana) or incredible juices like the Ring of Fire (Apple, Orange, Beet, Ginger) and Elvis Parsley (Carrot, Celery, Spinach, Parsley, Beet).

Once you’ve quenched your thirst, dive in to one of Main Squeeze’s delectable dishes. Choices range from tofu tacos to the Hail Kale salad.

Dive into this flavorful place of tofu tacos at Main Squeeze. Photo by Patrice Raplee.

When you visit Main Squeeze, not only will you enjoy incredible food, you’ll be supporting a business that supports the community. Main Squeeze works with over a dozen local farms, creates less than one bag of trash each day and displays local art, with 100% of sales being passed along to the artist. It’s food that makes you feel good and that you can feel good about eating.

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Uniquely Columbia: The Columbia Star Dinner Train

June 26, 2012

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During your next trip to Columbia, plan for a ride on the rails. The Columbia Star Dinner Train is an uniquely Columbia attraction that’s getting rave reviews for both delicious food and a wonderfully scenic experience.

Begin by making your reservation with a Dinner Train representative. They’ll check availability during your visit and help you pick out your menu for your ride. The Dinner Train has Friday and Saturday night dinner runs, with brunch runs on Sunday mornings. Once your reservation is made, you’re ready to ride!

The Columbia Star Dinner Train

When you arrive, take in the beautifully restored 30s and 40s passenger cars headed up by 50s streamlined passenger locomotives. Boarding begins 30 minutes prior to departure, so find your seat in the nicely appointed cars and prepare for your leisurely journey through a serene rural landscape. You’ll be treated to a delicious multi-course meal prepared on board the train and featuring choices ranging from trout cakes to prime rib. You can also enjoy drinks from their fully stocked bar or have roses on your table for an extra romantic touch on a birthday or anniversary.

Make your ride on the Dinner Train extra special.

The Dinner Train also hosts special events throughout the year. From ‘Polar Express’ themed runs for families during the holidays to murder mysteries that thrill and entertain, the Columbia Star Dinner Train adds a special element of fun. Whether you take advantage of one of these themed events or just a lovely Saturday evening ride on the tracks, the Columbia Star Dinner Train will be an experience you’ll remember for years to come.

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Uniquely Columbia: New Food Trucks!

June 14, 2012

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Columbia is never short on places to eat. From diners to fine dining, choices in our city number over 200. But some new establishments are giving a new meaning to eating on the go. Columbia is now home to three food trucks, and they’re taking the city by storm. Next time you’re visiting, be sure to track down one of these rolling restaurants.

Pepe’s

Looking for incredible, authentic Mexican food on the go? Look no further than Pepe’s.

Our mouth is watering already.

The trailer may look small, but Pepe’s is churning out food with tons of flavor and fans are taking notice. Serving up spicy nachos, an array of burritos and something called a candy tamale, Pepe’s has something to offer any Mexican food fan. Be sure to follow them on Facebook, where they post their lunch stop location each morning.

Fat Chick’s Chow Wagon

Up next is a truck that’s definitely worth chasing down. It’s also Columbia’s first food truck.

Catch this chick!

Serving up breakfast and lunch throughout Columbia, this food truck is always on the move. Fat Chicks offers daily casserole specials, homemade desserts (amazing brownies!), and delicious breakfast goodies. Fat Chicks runs a lunch route most days each week, so be sure to check out their online calendar to track them down and get your fix!

Sunflower Waffle Company

Sometimes all you need to do is specialize in one thing to keep the crowds coming. In this case, it’s chicken and waffles.

Chicken + Waffles = Amazing

While Sunflower Waffle Company operates mostly out of the kitchen at Mojos in the North Village, they’re mobile as well. But their location at Mojos offers the perfect spot to enjoy live music, a beautiful park space with picnic tables and, of course, waffles! While they’re in one spot for now, look for the Sunflower Waffle Company to be on the go soon.

Sometimes it’s nice to sit down and watch the world go by. But next time you visit Columbia, add a little adventure and track down one of these new uniquely Columbia favorites. Your stomach will thank you.

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The Inside Columbia Wine and Food Festival

May 4, 2012

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Columbia really is a festive place. Nearly every month is home to a few days of extra food, fun and festivities. And in May, we have…

The Inside Columbia Wine & Food Festival is perfect for the Columbia visitor. The events are presented a la carte, so you can purchase your tickets to create your own custom festival experience! It’s a week of food, art and, of course, wine.

Direct from the Wine & Food Festival, here’s just a few of the events you can choose from…

-Wine Dinners:

It’s an unforgettable dining experience when Columbia’s best local chefs break free from their traditional menus and prepare extraordinary, imaginative meals created specifically for the Wine & Food Festival’s Wine Dinners. Check out the special menus here and here.

Our mouth is watering just looking at these. Let us know in the comments which one you would pick!

-The Grand Tasting:

This is the night Columbia’s wine lovers look forward to all year long. This year’s Grand Tasting showcases more than 400 wines. Stroll through the Holiday Inn Expo Center and sample the wines that intrigue you most. Previous festival participants have asked for more opportunities to visit one-on-one with winery representatives, and we’re delivering with a more intimate event that will enhance the knowledge of both the beginning wine drinker and the experienced oenophile.

-Sip and Stroll:

This year’s Sip & Stroll invites you to 20 local shops and restaurants. Each of the 15 participating shops and five participating restaurants will offer exclusive discounts — some as high as 50 percent off one item — for Sip & Stroll passport holders. You’ll also have a chance to sample a red and a white wine at each location. Many locations will feature a festival chef who will present tapas and small plates.

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Sounds pretty incredible, right? Now all you have to do is pick your events, buy your tickets, and get ready for an unforgettable week in Columbia.

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Perfect Patios…Outdoor Dining in Columbia

March 28, 2012

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One of the very best things about visiting Columbia is all of the amazing dining choices. Of course, sometimes it’s too tough to choose just a few places during your time here!

Now that spring has arrived (a little early even), patios are popular spots to enjoy some of Columbia’s finest food in the great outdoors. For a super comprehensive list of outdoor dining in Columbia, check out Vox Magazine’s list here or pick from some of our favorites…

Uniquely Columbia

If you’re the type of traveler who likes to go where the locals go, you can’t miss Flat Branch Pub & Brewing in The District. This Columbia favorite has tasty food, delicious microbrews on tap and a beautiful outdoor space filled with plants and just enough shade to enjoy on even the hottest days.

An afternoon on Flat Branch's patio should always include one of its fantastic beers.

Also in The District, Bleu has been a local hotspot since its opening a few years ago. Now the restaurant is relocating to a new larger space once occupied by Boone Tavern. The new location will also come with a huge patio! What better place to sit and enjoy one of Bleu’s trademark rosemary lemonades.

Nestled in the south part of Columbia, Sophia’s offers Southern European influenced cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. With a fantastic tapas menu and extensive wine list, Sophia’s outdoor space is perfect for unwinding after a long day of shopping or sightseeing.

Columbia Casual

If catching the game and sipping on an ice-cold beverage is more your speed, there are plenty of patios to pick from. The District is bordered by three college campuses, so there’s always an open seat for a casual outdoor experience. Pull up a chair on The Heidelberg’s or Harpo’s rooftop patios and take in the view or keep it on the ground at Willie’s or Bengal’s.

The rooftop patio at The Heidelberg.

Just a Couple More…

After a delicious meal, what you really need is ice cream, right? Of course. Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream makes small batches of amazing ice cream in a variety of incredible flavors (honey lavender, anyone?). Grab a cone, have a seat outside and take in sights of downtown Columbia.

An ice cream shop with some of the most unique art ever? Yes, please!

If a post-dinner movie is more your style, take a stroll over to Ragtag Cinema, Columbia’s independent movie theater. Enjoy a drink on the patio before you enjoy your film and don’t forget to sample Uprise Bakery’s delicious offering.

So if the outdoors are your thing in that you enjoy a nice afternoon or evening on a patio, check out all of these spots…you’ll have to decide on your favorite for yourself!

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