Branson, MO Food Town? The Best Places to Eat!

Branson may not be known as a food destination, but the truth is, you just have to know where to look. And, it depends on what you’re looking for… So, here are my personal picks for the best of the best in several categories.

Of course, each day of energy expending “touristing” must begin with breakfast. And without a doubt, the best breakfast in Branson is at a local favorite called Billy Gail’s Diner, just outside of town on Hwy 265 along Compton Ridge. Don’t worry about finding it, “everyone” knows where it is and they’ll not hesitate to tell you how to get there. It’s not what you’d call a fancy place. No brioche French Toast or Eggs Benedict. This is breakfast the way your Mama made it… on steroids! Pancakes so huge they hang off the plate 3” all the way around. You don’t order “Biscuits and Gravy,” you order “a biscuit” with gravy. Their biscuit is the size of a pound cake. One is definitely enough. Eggs any style, crunchy hash browns, crispy bacon and fresh coffee served up by the owners themselves. Absolutely crammed from 7 AM To 2 PM Daily, there’s rarely a wait of more than 20 minutes because they turn the tables quickly and efficiently, but parking can be challenging. Do not let that stop you, get yourself to Billy Gail’s for breakfast, it’s an Ozark Mountain Country tradition!

Next, let’s talk about America’s favorite thing between two hunks of bread, the hamburger. Hands down, virtually every “local” will tell you without flinching that the best burger in B-town is at Billy Bob’s Dairyland located on the strip. After years of prying, the owner finally gave up his secret for excellent hamburgers. He told me that all restaurant burgers come with some kind of filler, not just to cheap on beef, but for texture, or flavor, or as a binder to hold the patty together. He explained that he buys only 100 % pure beef burger. He hand-pats every patty and adds nothing at all except salt and pepper. His so called, “secret?” He says his burgers,  “… taste like cow!”

Now let’s discuss another American passion, BBQ! There are clearly several fantastic stops for tasty BBQ in the Branson area. Not that it’s easy to produce great grilled and smoked meats, but to me, it all comes down to the sauce. My pick for the tastiest BBQ is Danna’s Barbecue and Burger Shop on Hwy 165, just outside of town on the way to Table Rock Dam. Don’t miss this local favorite which features fresh fried nachos smothered in your choice of meat with sauce, BBQ beans, cheese and pickled jalapeños. Also try the stuffed baked potato, its gigantic in size, ingredients and flavor.

Missouri’s live show city is not really flush with Delis, but you can find an awesome sandwich stop called Vasken’s on Gretna road, north of the Hwy 76 strip. Authentic falafels, tasty hummus, baklava and numerous pita sandwiches stuffed with delicious ingredients including their famous roasted garlic mayo. Get your Gyro on at Vasken’s Deli, you’ll be glad you did.

Frequently our guests ask me where to find a great steak. There are several answers, based on what cut you consider to be primo beef. Of course, price is also a major consideration. Top of the line is Level 2 Steakhouse located inside the Hilton Convention Center in Historic downtown Branson. But the prices may cause many visitors to veer off for a more affordable meal. It must be said that the Wagyu beef and fresh Ahi tuna certainly live up to their upscale reputation, but, in my opinion, their desserts are the stars of their menu. You’ll find a delicious filet at a place called The Paradise Grill on the Shepherd of the Hills Expressway. Served solo on a stainless-steel platter, swimming in well-seasoned au jus. They also have a nice little salad bar full of fresh items to compliment. Fair warning, my next choice is a chain, but I Love, love, LOVE the well-seasoned and always fork tender steaks at Longhorn Steakhouse on the strip. ‘Nuff sed.

Ready for a surprise? How about excellent Sushi in SW Missouri?!? That’s right, sushi. You will find three very good stops for Japan’s number one food experience export to the USA located in the Live Entertainment Capital of the USA. With confidence I can recommend them all. But in order of preference, they are Wakyoto, on Hwy 76 across from Wal*Mart; Mitsu Neko, also on the strip in the Village Center; and our current favorite, Mo Mo’s located in Historic Downtown Branson, MO. Its sushi… go.

And while we’re talking food from that side of the globe, if you find yourself hankering for some Thai food between shows, shopping and attractions, you’ll have to carry yourself to Thai Thai Cuisine. It tastes so nice, they named it twice. Savory Pad Thai, complex curry’s and fried rice to your personal taste. The food, the service and the flavors keep us coming back for more.

As a frequent visitor to the big salty pond, when our visitors ask me where to go for seafood, I jokingly tell them, “The Gulf of Mexico!” In my humble opinion, there is no comparison to really fresh caught seafood prepared within hours of hitting the docks. However, also a chain, Landry’s of Branson does fly in their, “Catch of the day,” and they will top any of their fish with a delicious sauce called “Ponchetrain,” featuring tender crawfish in a light rue. … worthy of indulging in seafood, even way up here, in the interior.

Currently Branson, MO is experiencing somewhat of a “Donut Boom,” with the arrival of 3 new donut shops in the last several years. Of course, the king of the donut franchise, Krispy Kreme, takes the cake for their particular style of self-rising fried donuts. These delicate glazed pastries are so light and fluffy, I describe them as “donut flavored air.” Next to arrive is a national craze, recently revived as a major brand, of course I’m talking about Dunkin’ Donuts. Not only the home of numerous kinds and traditional flavors, but their own brand of rich coffee that perfectly complements everything on their tempting trays. Now, hold on to your sweet tooth for the newest sugar-coated craze in the world of “Craft Donuts.” The place is called, “Hurts Donuts.” I describe their artful and creative selection as a donut, covered with sugar, topped with sugar and decorated with more sugar. These creations are inspired by TV monsters, cartoon characters, breakfast cereals and classic donut flavor combinations like ‘Bacon covered Maple Long Johns.” Prepare yourself for a self-inflicted sugar coma… and you’ll LIKE IT !

Finally, no food blog can be complete without suggesting a stop at the finest bakery in Branson. It’s called The Sugar Leaf Bakery. Once purveyors of high end wedding cakes, their prolific need to create delicious baked goods lead to the opening of a public diner where they serve up the most incredibly fresh and tasty classic baked goods right alongside a constantly changing line up of fresh baked takes on such things as Sugar Leaf Pop Tarts, made with fresh fruit and delectable bakery crust; or homemade marshmallows. That’s right, homemade marshmallows. You’ll never want that stuff in a plastic bag again. Also, one of my personal faves, their crustless quiche. I could eat it every day, every day, for breakfast lunch or dinner.

So, perhaps most folks would not describe our tourist mecca as a “Foodie Town” first and foremost, but if you pass along this blog, none will not go away hungry. And they may even tell others that amongst the many world class shows, attractions, shopping, lodging, lakes, streams and unbelievable scenery, Branson truly does have some serious creds when it comes to delicious foods! Using this guide, you and your friends will definitely EAT LIKE LOCALS at some of the finest eateries in Branson, Missouri.