I’ve heard Missouri referred to as a midwestern “flyover” state. Concerning food, many people’s first thoughts run to those generally associated with a style of barbecue, either St. Louis or Kansas City. Or, perhaps to one of the other classic dishes Missouri is known for, like toasted ravioli, St. Paul sandwich, or the gooey butter cake.
On a recent trip to Lake of the Ozarks, I was pleasantly surprised and quite impressed by the wide variety of offerings for tourists and locals alike. As Lake of the Ozarks has more shoreline than the Pacific Coast of California, you can imagine there are hundreds of food and beverage establishments from which to choose. Some I found on the recommendation of a colleague, others I stumbled upon by chance. All were well worth my time.
Visiting other destinations in Missouri? Check out our other delicious guides:
- 8 Best Restaurants On The KCK Taco Trail
- 5 Best Things To Do In Kansas City, Kansas
- 8 Must-Try Restaurants in Springfield Missouri
- 9 Best Lake Of The Ozarks Restaurants
- On The Rise Restaurant
- H. Toad’s Bar & Grill
- Wobbly Boots Roadhouse
- Bobber’s Restaurant
- Lil’ Rizzo’s
- Stewart’s on the Strip
- Tucker’s Shuckers Oyster & Tap
- 1932 Reserve Restaurant
- Frankie & Louie’s
- Which of these Lake of the Ozarks restaurants do you want to try first? Let us know in the comments section below!
9 Best Lake Of The Ozarks Restaurants
5439 Osage Beach Parkway // 573-348-4224
This unique restaurant bills itself as a brunch restaurant, but they serve from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Days of operation vary between peak and off-season, so it’s a good idea to always check their website for the most updated hours. They offer a wide variety of breakfast and lunch items, as well as a luscious bakery area.
They have a great, catchy menu. Categories of items include Friends with Benedicts (poached eggs offered many ways), Between the Slices (sandwich choices), and Grown-up Coffee (containing alcohol). On The Rise offers beignets to rival those found in other parts of the country, omelets and scrambles, salads and flatbreads, and some exciting beverage offerings.
If you’re a chocolate fan, you will undoubtedly enjoy the Ghirardelli Chocolate Milk with whipped crème. Perhaps the Monkey Juice, a frozen blend of bananas, strawberries, and orange juice, better suits your needs. Maybe just settle for a variety of their coffee.
One item that caught my eye from the menu was the Pan-Fried Chicken Schnitzel. Served with capers, caramelized lemon, breakfast potatoes, fried egg, and crispy pancetta, it was not a dish I had ever tried, anywhere. Perhaps next time! A nearby patron assured me that I had missed out on a fabulous dish.
at Camden on the Lake Resort
2325 Bittersweet Road // 573-365-5620
From its name alone, which is short for Horny Toad, you are entering a place with a sense of humor. H. Toad’s is a very casual and easy-going restaurant, bar, and grill. Here you can sit inside or out, enjoying a terrific view of the Lake. The Toad Cove Entertainment Complex is right next door and offers some of the best entertainment in Lake of the Ozarks.
H. Toad’s is also adjacent to Camden on the Lake Resort. Not only can you stay in deluxe accommodations, but you can enjoy some of the area’s finest entertainment. Are you having a day on the Lake? No problem, pull your boat right in. They offer marina services along with a swim-up bar and swimming pool.
Depending on your preference, you can order from the Toad Island Menu, which offers casual fare (think dips, wings, pizza,and burgers) or their full dining menu. I recommend the salmon, served with smashed potatoes, squash, zucchini, and red pepper jam.
Are you thinking more pasta? No problem. Try the Alfredo Penne Pasta with garlic cream sauce and Parmesan.
Whatever dish you choose, the scenery in front of you will enhance your meal.
4717 Osage Beach Parkway // 573-348-2277
Being in the Midwest, there has to be mention of good barbeque. For over 20 years, they have prided themselves with offering exceptional Ozark BBQ here. Voted #1 BBQ for six years running, Wobbly Boots has also won several prominent national awards; The American Royal, Memphis in May, and Iowa BarbeQlossal, to name a few.
The restaurant is very casual with a penchant for sports. You can watch your favorite team on the big screen, all while enjoying outstanding food and cold refreshments.
They have an impressive menu. My suggestion would be to start with the fried pickles or the ribbies and wings (pork spare ribs and chicken wings). Maybe you’re in the mood for both!
From there, you can move on BBQ plates or sandwiches, steaks, seafood, or burgers. The Southern sandwich of hand-pulled pork and coleslaw is delish!
Throwing a party but don’t want to cook? Your guests will love it if you have it catered by Wobbly Boots!
at Alhonna Resort
677 Outer Drive // 573-365-2634
Located at the family-friendly Alhonna Resort, Bobber’s is the epitome of convenience for those guests staying at the resort. However, you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the restaurant. Due to the seasonality of the resort, it’s always best to check the website for the most current hours of operation.
Bobber’s serves standard breakfast items such as eggs, breakfast sandwiches, and sweets. Adult beverages are also offered to complement your brunch. Consider drinks like a Bloody Mary, Mimosa, or Tequila Sunrise to accompany your meal. For lunch or dinner, there are appetizers and burgers, sandwiches, salads, and pizza.
One of the unique menu items is the Gator Bites. Yes, that’s correct, alligator lightly breaded and deep-fried, served with a Thai chili sauce. My choice was the White Cheddar Cheese Curds. They were delicious!
Along with your food and cocktails, you can enjoy a round of darts, a game of pool, some music on the jukebox, or simply staring out the window taking in the incredible view of the lake.
2146 Horseshoe Bend Parkway // 573-365-3003
Voted “Best Italian Food at the Lake”, Lil’ Rizzo’s is known for their thin crust pizza, fresh vegetables, and highly guarded hand-crafted recipes. They make fresh dough daily and believe that is what makes their pizza exceptional.
Their location is convenient for the vacationers in the area, but they take care of their locals. They offer weekly wing and draft beer specials as well as loyalty cards. The atmosphere is friendly and downhome, with the attire referred to as “Lake Casual.”
Might I recommend you try the Chicken Parmesan with their phenomenal House Salad or the Fettucine with Shrimp, served with Ciabatta bread? The House Salad could almost be a meal in itself. It consisted of a delicious mix of fresh lettuce, diced red peppers, green onions, and Provel cheese. The creamy Italian dressing was a red wine vinegar base with some Parmesan cheese thrown in for good measure.
You can taste the difference that quality ingredients have when making a sauce, especially fresh herbs. The food was remarkable and lived up to their “Best Italian Food” claim. Their portions were very generous and well worth the accolades.
1151 Bagnell Dam Strip // 573-365-2400
Stewart’s has been a staple on the Strip since 1953. It is a bustling place, servicing a mixture of both visitors and locals, business people and vacationers. It’s pretty likely you may have to wait in line for a table, depending on your time of arrival.
Here you will find the epitome of a hometown, local diner. Stewart’s serves breakfast and lunch in substantial portions. The traditional breakfast of eggs, bacon/sausage, toast, and hash browns is terrific, but they have so many other choices as well—items such as French toast, biscuits and gravy, or hotcakes and grits. You can have sandwiches, burgers, or platters of country-fried steaks or fish and chips for lunch. All are served with a smile and some cheerful conversation.
One dish Stewart’s is widely known for is simply the largest cinnamon roll I think I’ve ever seen. They make them fresh each day, and the roll can seriously serve four or more people with all its gooey goodness. The server generally leaves the take-home container, knowing that there is a high possibility of leftovers unless you’re a party of ten people. This item is a definite must-have when you visit.
1339 Bagnell Dam Blvd. // 573-365-9769
When you think of mid-Missouri, the availability of fresh oysters isn’t generally very prevalent. Tucker’s Shuckers has broken this stereotype. They have fresh oysters shipped in daily, and along with a host of other dining options, they have refined a great dining concept. Located along the lively Bagnell Dam Strip, you will find a casual, friendly, and incredible restaurant.
While their tap serves a variety of beers and spirits, including some IPA’s, their menu is just as diverse. Oysters are done on the half shell, either raw or steamed. You can also get them charbroiled, barbequed, or as oyster shooters. Appetizers range from wings and dips, thick New England clam chowder, to escargot and steak fondue (which is delicious!).
If oysters are not for you, they have steaks, burgers, salads, and sandwiches. I would highly recommend the French Dip – thinly sliced prime rib topped with provolone and served with au jus. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention dessert. While there was little room after the meal, I could not resist the Crème Brulee. Served with a mixed berry sauce of cranberries and raspberries, along with whipped cream, it was the perfect ending to an outstanding meal.
1202 Proctor Drive // 573-693-9197
If upscale fine dining is what you crave, look no further than 1932 Reserve. Here you find a farm-to-table restaurant overlooking the lake in sumptuous surroundings.
Located in Osage Beach’s oldest hotel and tavern, the building dates to 1932. It has been renovated and refurbished utilizing original materials from that time to become the lavish lodging and dining it is today. The Reserve Lofts are directly above the restaurant, affording the guests convenient access to the restaurant. Since its renovation, it is said that being in the 1932 Reserve is like being in a ‘luxurious speakeasy”.
One of the notable items on their menu is the charcuterie board, which has a variety of cheeses, meats, honey, nuts, and crackers. Another I found interesting is the beet salad. This item consists of roasted beets, candied pecans, green onions, goat cheese, and figs covered with a white balsamic vinaigrette. For an entree, you can get the huge 18 oz. Cowboy Ribeye steak if you are so inclined. The question you must ask is, how hungry am I?
1028 Deer Valley Road // 573-374-5750
One of the most enjoyable times I had on my visit to Lake of the Ozarks was having lunch at Frankie & Louie’s. Here you will find the ultimate beachfront restaurant and bar in an unexpected place – tucked away in a small cove of the Lake. Billed as “Key West in the Midwest,” complete with beach volleyball and a Tiki bar.
Frankie & Louie’s is more than just a restaurant. It is kind of like a casual beach compound with a great view. Beach casual at its finest, you have a white sand beach swimming area at the edge of restaurant seating. There is an RV campground behind the facility, so multitudes of families come to play at the beach and have some food while they are there. There is an arcade, gift shop, ice cream shop, and boat rentals. In the evenings, it is often the place for live music and entertainment during the season.
The menu is considerably more varied than you might expect. You can start with an appetizer such as filet mignon tips and move on to a basket of battered grouper. Salads, sandwiches, and specialty burgers are also offered, including entrees like spicy shrimp and grits and New Orleans jambalaya. In addition, they can make you a pizza of any kind you might like.
I stayed traditional with the fried mozzarella bites but went Caribbean with the Beach Bird sandwich. It was a grilled chicken breast sandwich topped with shaved ham, bacon, pineapple, Pepper jack cheese, and bourbon teriyaki glaze on a toasted brioche bun. It was served with coleslaw mixed with small mandarin oranges. Did I mention it was fabulous? The mixture of all the different ingredients, along with the beach vibe, was just what the day needed.
Geographically, Lake of the Ozarks covers 54,000 acres of land, has 1,150 miles of shoreline, and holds roughly 600 billion gallons of water, thanks to the construction of the Bagnell Dam on the Osage River. The food and beverage options range in the hundreds for the area. Whatever type of food you are longing for can likely be found somewhere around the Lake. But don’t be afraid to try something new or off the beaten path. Sometimes that’s where you make the most significant discoveries.
Which of these Lake of the Ozarks restaurants do you want to try first? Let us know in the comments section below!
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.