Fulton could be considered the quintessential small city in Mid-Missouri. ‘Big Sister’ Columbia is within a half-hour drive, but it’s well worth that extra few minutes to travel into Fulton and experience all they have to offer. Here you will find not only some great places to enjoy food and drink, but a charming downtown Brick District deserving of exploration.
The Brick District is part of the downtown area that provides charm and elegance at the same time. Yes, the roads are brick and within the district, there are over 100 locally owned businesses, including many of the best Fulton restaurants. There are also several events each year that take place here and in other parts of town.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Westminster College, a place bathed in history. Or possibly William Woods College. While I wouldn’t consider Fulton to be your average college town, the presence of students and their families, as well as the locals and tourists, allow the small city of Fulton to thrive. Let’s experience some of the food and drink offered here.
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The 5 Must-Try Fulton Restaurants
501 Court Street // 573-642-1122
Everyone loves a good pizza! Wherever I go, I am always determined to find the best in the area, where locals go. In Fulton, I found Brooklyn Pizza.
As they were voted the Best Pizza in Rural Missouri magazine, I had high expectations, and I can assure you they were met. The pepperoni pizza was fabulous. Making the crust using fresh dough is the basis for a good pie. Add their own sauce, whole milk mozzarella, and quality toppings, and just the right mixture of spices, and you get to enjoy a great meal.
The calzone is another menu item that I would highly recommend. Still made with the same fresh dough, the portion size was very generous, and the taste was superb. Other menu items include stromboli, subs, pasta, or salads, and desserts such as cheesecake or tiramisu.
The décor of the restaurant makes it authentic yet charming all the same. So be sure to stop by and Mangia!
GOPO Gourmet Popcorn
525 Court Street // 573-310-6416
While strolling through the lovely Brick District, you’ll want to stop in here. If you have ever thought you wouldn’t like different popcorn flavors, I will wager GOPO will change your mind forever on that subject.
A family-run business, Brooke and Nick stay true to using local ingredients and not adding fancy packaging or preservatives. GOPO Gourmet Popcorn makes so many varieties of popcorn, it is difficult to choose. As soon as you walk into the old brick building which houses their shop and the aromas entice your senses, there’s no going back. You will browse and try a couple flavors and almost assuredly leave with a bag (or three) to take home.
Unique flavors such as Cinnamon Roll, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, Everything Tiger or Vanilla Peppermint, and more standard flavors like cheddar, butter, kettle and caramel are all available. Don’t prejudge a taste until you try a few kernels, believe me. I admit, my favorite will always be the caramel, but the others I tried were exceptional.
Good news for the tourist or traveler – you can order that perfect flavor online and have it sent to wherever you reside.
Playhouse Café – Inside the Brick District Playhouse
613 Court Street // 573-310-6337
The Brick District Playhouse is in the historic Fulton Theater. It is renovated and offers venue space for a wide variety of events. The Playhouse Café is located here as well, and all proceeds from the Café support the performing arts and continued restoration of the building.
The Playhouse Café utilizes local vendors and makes all their items in-house. Items such as pastries, soups, salads, and desserts are all fresh and served with your choice of coffees, teas or lemonade.
Depending upon the time you visit, the menu offerings will vary. For breakfast, you can try items such as the classic breakfast of eggs, bacon/sausage/ham, and breakfast potatoes or biscuits & gravy to something a bit lighter like a yogurt parfait. Lunch brings a variety of soups, salads and sandwiches. Try a Café Greek Salad or the Pulled Bacon, Brie and Apple Melt. Sides include homemade chips or a cup of soup, should you desire.
Brunch is served on Saturdays only, where you can try the Chef’s Chicken and Waffles or French Toast, among other items. The Playhouse Café is an inviting part of the city where you can meet up with friends, have a quick bite and enjoy the history all around you.
Serenity Valley Winery
1888 County Road 342 // 573-642-6958
A short drive outside of Fulton will bring you to a winery whose name depicts the ultimate surroundings. The winery is in such an idyllic setting, you will find it difficult to leave.
Serenity Valley overlooks a quiet lake with a spectacular view. During the evening, it offers up spectacular sunsets. There are ducks and geese you can feed, should you desire, and you might even be privy to a turtle sunning themselves, as I was.
Run by owners Lee & Regina, Serenity Valley produces over twenty red, white and boutique wines, hand-crafted in small batches. All wines are fermented and bottled on site. Wine tastings and special events are held, and you can schedule your private event to be held here. Check their hours on the website for the most up-to-date information. Sausages and cheeses are available to purchase, or you can bring your own picnic basket to enjoy. Just make sure it doesn’t contain any other alcoholic beverages.
While I tried a couple other flavors when I visited, my choice for purchase was a bottle of Serenade and a bottle of Spring Blossoms. The Serenade is a sweet, peach chardonnay with a hint of apricot. Spring Blossoms is an award-winning wine great for casual sipping. It is a slightly sweet, crisp white wine with a touch of green apples. Having a glass outside, enjoying the view of the lake was a highlight of the trip.
No matter your wine preference, Serenity Valley has something to charm you in a beautiful location.
511 Court Street // 573-592-7117
Now a favorite restaurant in downtown Fulton, Beks started as a coffee and wine bar and quickly became a full-service restaurant. Housed in yet another historic downtown building, the exposed brick and tin crown molding make for fun, spontaneous surroundings to have an incredible meal.
Beks pride themselves on offering seasonal menus with a varied offering, always keeping things fresh and new. Their featured dishes are updated regularly. Their head chef is Missouri born-and-raised and loves to continually hone his craft in making some of the best meals for the restaurant patrons.
The Parmesan Artichoke Dip served with pita bread comes highly recommended. The creaminess and flavor of the dip were a fantastic way to start the meal.
The featured special that night was Manhattan Clam Chowder and Crab Cakes with a remoulade sauce. The chowder was savory and the crab cakes were excellent. The crab was plentiful and not overpowered by the other ingredients – a perfect combination.
The ribeye sandwich was 8 oz. of aged choice beef served with caramelized onions served atop toasted French bread. The meat was cooked perfectly, as ordered, and the quality of the products used was very apparent. The meal was quite filling as it also included a side of fries.
To complement your meal, you can choose from their extensive wine and beer offerings, as well as cocktails crafted with ingredients from local distilleries, such as the Lifted Spirits Wheat Whiskey.
Fulton has much to offer locals and visitors alike. Locals are entwined with their city and make it welcoming for all who visit. Throughout the city, it is evident that, while they take much pride in the history of the area, they are also progressive thinkers who make their city viable for the younger generations.
Lisa Evans is a freelance travel writer and photographer. She has always enjoyed the outdoors and nature and often includes them in her writing and photography. History is another passion. Every place has a story to tell if only you find it.
Lisa is a member of TravMedia, IFWTWA, and Travel Writer’s Café. She maintains a website and can be found on Instagram