The Lake area abounds with eateries of every stripe. Sometimes they’re hard to find because, like a lot of restaurants and businesses around the Lake of the Ozarks, many of them are waiting for that “interweb fad” to end. (Meaning too many of them don’t have websites.) To help with your Food Safari, we’ve put together this lineup in our first-ever “Five,” a list of our Five favorite breakfast restaurants.
5. Bear Creek Valley Golf Club – It may seem odd for a golf club to be named as a Top Five restaurant, but BCV isn’t your typical restaurant. Instead of being created strictly as a bite-shop for hungry golfers, BCV is actually a destination for anyone with an appetite (with or without an eight-iron). The “Golf Club” name may conjure some emotional speed bumps for the frugal, since country clubs and golf courses are stereotypically the dominion of the wealthy, but you’ll find the prices here aren’t at the Ty Webb level. (Any questions on that reference, trot out a DVD of “Caddyshack.”) Good food and a great atmosphere, like sneaking into First Class while buying a ticket for Coach.
4. On The Rise – This is an intriguing place for those seeking something other than just another hash-and-gravy joint. On the Rise features fare that you won’t find at any fast food establishments, such as Blanc Scramble, Florentine Omelette, and a pretty impressive lineup of Eggs Benedict offerings. As you would expect, breakfast cuisine of this caliber includes higher-than-average prices, so be prepared to put your Visa credit limit to the test. But it will be worth it, particularly for those with vegan inclinations.
3. Stewarts – Travel usually involves going from place to place. Stewarts is a chance to go to another time. It’s like visiting a diner from a kinder, gentler era, with great food and plenty of it. Unlike the old Stewart’s Restaurants that were popular in New Jersey and Ohio, you won’t find any Stewarts Root Beer here (this isn’t part of that old chain). What you will find is the kind of delicious, filling food that will keep your vacation day fueled until the sun goes down. Unfortunately it’s also a throwback in another way…no website. However, good food needs no technology to thrive. In addition to the well-known location at the Bagnell Strip, the company has added a second restaurant in Camdenton.
2. Cozy Café – Extremely close to the restaurant that took the top spot, both in geography and popularity, the Cozy Café is good old fashioned comfort food that will start your day with a big smile and a bigger belly. Featuring all the ingredients of a fantastic breakfast (eggs, pancakes, gravy, bacon, sausage, etc), without the spendy frills and distractions like quinoa and kale, you will quickly discover that breakfast isn’t just the “most important meal of the day”…it’s also the tastiest. The Cozy Café has been doing it right since opening in 1994, and continues to offer food that is so good that your mom will stop speaking to you for a couple of days. Enjoy it! (The food, not the silent treatment.)
1. Pancake House – An unbelievable place for breakfast, and hands down the best at the Lake. The food is salivatory, meaning your mouth will water just from the delicious smells wafting from the kitchen, and plentiful. Served by quick and attentive wait staff, this converted Sonic building is an absolute morning magnet for anyone in search of spectacular fare. A great example is the Cowboy Omelette, a three-egg omey with sausage, bacon, and cheese, then smothered with country gravy. Instead of busting broncs, it tends to bust belts. The only time the Pancake House will disappoint you is when you arrive to find long lines waiting to get in the place (although in the summer they offer outdoor seating that really helps). There’s a reason for those lines – the food is tremendous, and worth the wait.
1. The Pancake House - 5980 Osage Beach Pkwy, Osage Beach, MO 65065
2. Cozy Café - 1018 State Hwy KK, Osage Beach, MO 65065
3. Stewarts - 1151 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Lake Ozark, MO 65049
98 US-54, Camdenton, MO 65020
4. On The Rise - 5439 Osage Beach Pkwy, Osage Beach MO 65065
5. Bear Creek Valley Golf Club - 910 MO-42, Osage Beach, MO 65065
Honorable Mention: Rusty Rooster, Great Stone Coffee