Dining That’s "Only" in Branson!

by  |  Restaurants & Dining
Dining That’s

For many travellers, one of the most important things they look for in every destination is dining that’s unique to that destination, and that holds true for Branson visitors as well.  Branson has so much to offer when it comes to locally-based eateries, from Mexican fare to pizza joints.  We’d like to share a few suggestions on where to find fabulous food, including recognizable names for those times when you’re really craving something familiar!

BUFFET DINING - Branson’s favorite buffets include:

  • Grand Country Buffet: A bountiful breakfast buffet is available daily, and scatter bar buffets include both hot and cold items at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Discover hand-carved roast and ham, freshly baked breads, bakery treats, fresh vegetables and fruits, special recipe hot dishes, chilled salads, and more!

  • Hibachi Grill & Super Buffet:  Hearty and filling food options, fast and friendly service, and a whole lot of tasty eats for your money!  Enjoy several large stations offering classic Chinese-American dishes, seafood, desserts, Mongolian grill meats and veggies, and a nice array of fruits, salads, and soups.

Want the familiar?  Try Branson’s Golden Corral, it’s the largest buffet in the entire chain of this popular restaurant, and even offers made-from-scratch dishes and sides, like real mashed potatoes!

BARBECUE - For those times when barbecue is on your mind -- well, let’s be honest, when are we not craving barbecue?

  • Danna's Bar-B-Que & Burger Shop:  Danna’s is the place locals love when it comes to barbecue and burgers!  A variety of carefully prepared barbecued meats await, especially their sweet and tangy ribs, and their BBQ Nachos are a favorite of loyal diners...even the salads are hearty and filling...and don’t miss the award-winning Memphis Rolls!

  • Fat Daddy's Family Bar-B-Que is just a short 15 minute drive - one that features some stunning scenery - from Branson to Forsyth.  The generously-sized menu includes tasty items like the Sausage Plate, Fat Daddy's Burnt Ends, Rib Eye Steak Sandwich, and the Smokin' Swiss Fat Cow Burger.  Fat Daddy's Bar-B-Que likes to say that "no butt's done until it's been rubbed!"

Another excellent choice for local barbecue can be found at the new Gettin’ Basted restaurant, located in the Starlite Theatre.  Looking for familiar barbecue fare?  There’s a Famous Dave’s at Branson Landing, and a Rib Crib right on the world-famous Highway 76.

ETHNIC CUISINE - Love ethnic fare that you typically find only in the big city?  Well, guess what...Branson has plenty of options!

  • India Clay Oven boasts excellent Indian food, coupled with an inviting atmosphere and truly warm hospitality!  The easy to follow menu, especially for Indian food newbies, features lamb, seafood, vegetable, and chicken dishes authentically flavored and properly served.  Their tasty dishes include Lamb Saag, Butter Naan, Seekh Kabab, Ginger Chicken, Channa Masala, and Navaratan Korma.  Call in advance to find out when they offer their seasonal buffet - it’s simply incredible!

  • Mitsu Neko Fusion Cuisine & Sushi Bar features an interesting menu of deliciously different offerings, a well-stocked bar, and beautifully eclectic decor.  They offer delectable sushi, “starters” like Potstickers, Sashimi, and Miso Soup, and entrees like Orange Roasted Duck and Balsamic Steak, a hand cut New York strip, baked with sauteed spinach and mozzarella cheese, and served with green beans.

Love German food?  Try the Altenhof Inn on Indian Point, just minutes from Branson near Silver Dollar City.  You’ll also find delicious Greek cuisine at Greek Gyros & Deli in Historic Downtown Branson, and at Papouli’s in nearby Reeds Spring.  Chinese eateries abound, including Hong Kong Buffet and Panda House. And don’t miss a taste of Thailand at the “loved by locals” Thai Thai right on the Strip.

MEXICAN/TEX MEX - For your requisite weekly - at the very least - dose of Mexican or Tex Mex fare, Branson is blessed with several excellent eateries!

  • Fajitas Locos is that proverbial Mexican "hole-in-the-wall" everyone wants to find.  Whether you get a tasty breakfast burrito, a plate of tacos for lunch, or one of their generously sized dinner meals, you won't be disappointed!  And don't forget to ask about optional salsas and flavorings.  

  • Casa Fuentes is another genuine Mexican dining spot; it’s still operated by the family who opened its doors in 1996, preparing dishes adapted from original recipes used back home in Mexico City.  Long-time, loyal fans love their chilly, tasty margaritas, and their unique homemade salsa that’s so popular, they sell it by the jar.  Menu favorites include Huevos Rancheros, Fajita Nachos, Quesadilla Supreme, Shrimp Fajitas, Tamales, Tostadas, and the Fuentes Burrito.  

Of course, Branson has a couple of Taco Bell’s if you’re looking for fast or drive-through dining.  Other family operations include two locations of Little Hacienda, Arandas Tacos, Tequila’s, Pancho Villa Tex Mex, and El Patio in nearby Hollister.

ITALIAN FARE - Time for Italian?  Sure it is, and Branson has it’s share of Italian restaurants, including local, family-owned favorites!

  • Florentina’s Ristorante Italiano serves up authentic Italian food that's chef-created from local recipes. Tasty Bruschetta, Steak Florentina, Lasagna Giardino, Pesce Florentina, Lobster Mac & Cheese, and more unusual items like Nachos Italiano, can all be found on the sizable menu.  Add a fully-stocked bar, and it’s everything you're looking for in casual dining with an upscale flair.

  • Mr. Gilberti's Place, located two minutes south of Branson in Hollister, has several TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence. They dish out local favorites like Eggplant Appetizer, Andy Williams Famous Tossed Salad, Mostaccioli, Eggplant Parmigiana, and Barry Williams' favorite lasagne.  Pizzas are baked Chicago deep-dish style, with toppings like their homemade sausage.

Another local favorite can be found behind the big meatball -- Pasghetti’s Italian Restaurant.  Branson also offers familiar Italian food at the Olive Garden, and you can read about all the pizza places, that also offer other Italian fare, right here…

PIZZA - Pizza, pizza, and pizza!  Need we say more?

  • Papa Grand’s Pizza, located in Branson's Grand Country Resort, offers a delicious pizza and salad bar for a family-friendly lunch or dinner.  The pizza bar boasts 12 varieties of Papa Grand's incredible pizza, as well as three dessert pizzas for a sweet treat to finish off your meal.  There's also a full salad bar overflowing with fresh greens, veggies, toppings, and a variety of dressings.

  • Rocco’s Pizza & Subs is pretty much a local spot, offering just five locations in the greater Branson area, they serve up incredible New York style pies.  There’s an impressive list of toppings, and you can get their crust gluten-free.  They also serve pasta and tasty subs, and do local catering.

  • Hook & Ladder Pizza Co., just across the bridge from Branson, is one of the area's top-rated pizza joints!  Located in a repurposed fire station, this family-owned restaurant serves up hand-tossed pies in the midst of fun firefighting decor. Fresh dough and sauce is made daily from secret family recipes.  Other tasty items include Toasted Ravioli, Awesome Wings, Calzone, and sandwiches.

Other local pizza joints include Cordovano Joe’s, located on the Westgate Resort property, Mr. G’s in Historic Downtown Branson, where you’ll also find other Italian dishes, Pizza By The Chef in nearby Hollister, The Pizza Cellar in Rockaway Beach, and The Reeds Spring Pizza Co. in Reeds Spring.  Chain favorites include Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, CiCi’s, Pizza World, Godfather’s, and Casey’s.

STEAK - When your favorite meat’s at "“stake," Branson’s got you covered!

  • Level 2 Steakhouse, located in the Hilton Hotel, is Branson’s premier place for the king of red meats.  Upscale contemporary decor showcases carefully selected and prepared steaks, like Filet Mignon and Kansas City Strip.  Members of their Kut Klub get their name inscribed on a knife used for every visit!  Their Fresh Catch is flown in from around the world, and their Pan-seared Hawaiian Ahi Tuna, served atop a Himalayan pink salt block, is a local favorite.

  • Buckingham’s Prime Rib & Steakhouse is the area's premier dining spot for prime rib!  This longtime Branson restaurant offers an impressive menu of beef, seafood, pastas, pork, and more, served in an elegant atmosphere of tastefully displayed safari decor. Steak Diane is prepared tableside, and there’s an impressive wine list to accompany your meal.

  • Outback Steak & Oyster Bar - not affiliated with the Outback chain, this local Australian-themed eatery has been pleasantly surprising Branson visitors for years!  Steak, seafood, burgers, and more delicious delights are served up in a creatively decorated dining space. Dine in, or enjoy your meal and the Ozarks' outdoors on the deck.  Oysters are served On the Half Shell, Kilpatrick, Fried, and as Cap't Jacks Rockin' Oysters.  

Other options for local steakhouses include Charlie’s Steak, Ribs & Ale, and Beverly’s Steakhouse & Saloon.  Familiar options include Saltgrass Steak House and Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon.

COMFORT FOODS, BIG SERVINGS, & BURGERS - For those times when you’re really hungry!

  • BillyGail's Cafe serves pancakes the size of hubcaps, Texas toast French toast, omelettes that'll make you drool -- this isn't food for the faint of heart!  You’ll also love the sandwiches, burgers, soups, and salads. The kind of customer service that might just include a hug from the owner, and quaint country-style decor, all comes with friendly cautions: bring cash (cards are not accepted,) expect to wait for a table during peak breakfast and lunch times, and parking is limited, so be patient -- but don't forget, your dining experience is more than worth the wait!

  • Billy Bob’s Dairyland...if you're old enough, you'll remember burger joints like this in small town America; if you're not, you've longed for a place like those on old TV shows!  Nothing fancy, just plain good burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and ice cream. There’s a traditional BLT sandwich, regular or foot-long hot dogs, and a southern staple, the Frito pie.  Sides include fries, onion rings, and potato salad.  Top off your meal with soft-serve or hand-dipped ice cream! (NOTE: Billy Bob's only takes cash - no cards.)

Some of the area’s best burgers can also be found at the aforementioned Danna’s, at the local fast food joint, the Burger Shack, and at Baba’s Burgers & Gyros.  Big servings of excellent comfort foods can also be found at The Hungry Hunter Restaurant.

AMERICAN VARIETY - Hungry for anything, as long as it’s fresh, flavorful, and delightfully delicious?

  • Shorty Small’s is Branson’s “can’t go wrong with anything on the menu” dining hotspot!  Tender, juicy steaks, tangy BBQ, fried catfish, and burgers abound.  House favorites include Edna’s Pot Roast, and a favorite recipe from Andy Williams’ mother, Chicken Pot Pie, with flaky crust and mouthwatering filling!

  • Branson's Center Stage Grille & Bar offers guests fantastic food and live entertainment!  The menu features mostly American cuisine accented with European and other international flavors, including dishes like Pasta Provencale, Szechuan Chicken, and Balsamic Bruschetta.  Meat eaters’ choices include the Classic Route 76 Burger, or the Black 'n' Blues Burger, Liver and Onions, and steaks that have been aged for 21 days.  

For familiar American food restaurants that feature a nice variety of menu items, Branson is home to a Denny’s, Bob Evans, and Cracker Barrel.

ATMOSPHERE - Looking for a dining experience?  Great food in a place that makes you feel special?  Try these exceptional eateries:

  • The Osage Restaurant holds court among other eateries and fascinating attractions at Top of the Rock, where the breathtaking scenery is as unforgettable as the food! The Osage offers diners a more upscale version of Ozarks' style foods, using many ingredients that are native to the area.  Entrees include Grilled Circle B Ranch Pork Chop, 28-Day Aged 8 oz. Filet, and Genny Morris' Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast.  

  • The Chateau Grille, at the majestic Chateau on the Lake, gives Branson one of its most elegant dining experiences.  Start your meal with one of their creative appetizers, like the Fried Edgewood Dairy Jalapeno Cheese Curds, or maybe the Lobster Stuffed Avocado Onion Rings.  Entrees feature only the freshest ingredients, many of them locally sourced and unique to the Chateau Grille.  Favorites include the Braised Beef Short Ribs, Baked Chilean Sea Bass, and the Pan-Seared Rockbridge Trout Fillet.  One of the area's most impressive wine cellars and a stunning view make dining here extra special!

  • Mel's Hard Luck Diner, in the Grand Village Shops, has been singin' with your supper for more than 20 years!  This is what you call exceptional customer service with a smile...and a song!  These servers are professional artists who just happen to share their talent in a diner with a 50’s era atmosphere. Discover cleverly named menu items, like Jimmy Cracked Corn Chicken Chowder, Blue Suede Salad, All Wrapped Up, Sixteen Tons Chili Burger, Honky Tonk Hot Dog, and Hit the Road Jack Grilled Cheese.  

Steakhouse favorite, Level 2, can also be added to the list of elegant “atmosphere” dining, and Dobyn’s Dining Room at College of the Ozarks’ Keeter Center makes the list, especially for its’ Sunday brunch.

SANDWICHES - When it comes to filling up on a variety of flavors, nothing beats a sandwich!  Give these Branson offerings a try:

  • BranSubs is one of those amazing little dining joints that everyone hopes to find during their travels!  Off-the-beaten-path location, out-of-the-ordinary menu items, outstanding eats that are home-baked, homemade, and smoked, grilled, aged, and prepared on-site from the choicest, freshest, and tastiest of ingredients.  Many Branson entertainers put this place at the top of their list, with menu favorites like the Turkey Panini, Portabella Mushroom Sandwich, and Prime Rib Sandwich.  

  • East Coast Subs does just one thing, and they do it well -- they make a perfect submarine sandwich!  You have your choice of hot or cold sandwiches; locals will tell you to try the Baked Italian, or maybe the Meatball Parmesan, or the Jumbo BLT.  And, make sure you try the Top Sirloin Swiss Melt with Grilled Onions, or one of their simple - and simply delicious - grilled sandwiches.  They make their sub rolls fresh every day, and served them with chips and a pickle.  

Another local favorite when it comes to fresh sandwiches is Jayne Dough in Branson Hills. For the familiar, there are two Jimmy John’s locations and several Subways.

UNIQUE DINING - And finally, for dining that’s not only unique to the Ozarks, these places are sporting names that might have you scratching your head...we offer the following:

  • Crazy Craig's Cheeky Monkey is the Branson spot for creative spirits, tasty eats, and loads of fun!  Can't you just tell by the name that you're in for a great time?  Who can resist a tasty quesadilla or burger paired with a Monkey Mai Tai?  If that's not your cup of tea, so to speak, then maybe you're up for a Drunken Monkey, or maybe a Grape Ape.  Tempting items on the food menu include a Chicken Cordon Bleu Sub, a Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, and an Italian Roasted Red Pepper Sub.  

  • The Chinese Mexican Burrito - and that’s not a typo - is found in Forsyth, just a hop, skip, and a jump from Branson.  Locals love the extensive menu of familiar offerings of both Chinese and Mexican dishes, including a fun burrito that gives you a taste of each!  Chinese specialties include Sesame Chicken, Jalapeno Chicken, and Moo Goo Gai Pan.  Mexican fare includes tacos, burritos, fajitas, and more.  There's also an American menu that features burgers, chicken, and other traditional offerings.

It’s easy to see why dining is one more thing that makes Branson the home of entertainment...what’s more entertaining than finding an incredible variety of food?