Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Top Five Best Breakfast Restaurants

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
5.    Bear Creek Valley Golf Club - 910 MO-42, Osage Beach, MO 65065

Honorable Mention: Rusty Rooster, Great Stone Coffee

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Enjoying Summer In The Winter at LOTO Lounge

During the summer, bars and venues all over the lake offer live music and dancing.  However, when the summer fades into fall, those places turn over the "Closed" signs like autumn leaves spinning to the ground.

But there are exceptions.  The summer fun doesn't stop at the LOTO Lounge, located at 5180 Osage Beach Parkway in Osage Beach, where live music plays year round.

The bar, which is owned by renowned recording artist and performer Randall Zwarte, features bands of nearly every persuasion.  Every weekend, you can catch blues, country, classic rock, and even the occasional jazz ensemble.

In addition to the Friday and Saturday shows, local players can hang out and take the stage every Thursday for Jam Night.  The club also features a live broadcast on 104.9 FM one Tuesday each month, where a featured act can be found "Bangin' the Twang."

This Saturday, Jan. 25, the LOTO Lounge will be presenting "Buddy & the Lukewarm Cats." The group is led by local icon Buddy Brayfield, who gained fame as a member of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.  The Daredevils used to hang out regularly around the top of the Billboard charts back in the 70's with such hits as "Walkin' Down The Road," "Country Girl," and "If You Wanna Get To Heaven." 

While Brayfield toured the US and Europe with OMD, he became a local legend back in the late 70's when he left the group to go to medical school.  He then spent the next 40 years as "Dr. Brayfield," treating patients around the Lake of the Ozarks.

He and his post-doc group will take the stage from 8 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, featuring country, southern rock, and classic rock music, along with a few hits from the Ozark Mountain Daredevil catalog.

For more information, contact the LOTO Lounge at 573-693-1404.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Never 'Nothing To Do Around Here'

"There's nothing to do around here!"

Sound familiar?  That is the standard lament of youngsters everywhere, no matter which zip code they claim as their own.

Yet it would be a "Fake Whine" if uttered by residents of the Lake of the Ozarks!  There are so many things to do in and around the Lake area that it would take more than a month to get to all of it.  And that's why the area was named the "Best Recreational Lake in the U.S." by USA Today back in 2015 (the last year they published such a poll).

Here at LOTOTODO (no, it's not a stands for "Lake Of The Ozarks To Do"), we are dedicated to helping visitors find the best places to see and play while they are here.  This includes Restaurants, Attractions, Shows, and Events.  Each week we will feature things to do (yes, even during the winter, when most people mistakenly believe the Lake shuts down).  This site will also offer some insights into favorite sights and sites around the lake.  (Four "sites/sights" in one sentence...pretty impressive, huh!  Meanwhile, middle school English teachers across the country just experienced an inexplicable shiver...)

Obviously the main draw here is the lake itself, with fishing, boating, water skiing, jet skiing, tubing, boogie boarding, wake boarding, cruising, bar hopping, and an entire subcategory of adult "ings" at Party Cove like nude sunbathing, skinny dipping, partying, etc.  However, there are lots of non-lake things to amuse and entertain, including the Main Street Music Hall, the Ozark Amphitheater, and the incredible lineup of big name stars coming to Shawnee Bluff Winery such as the Bellamy Brothers, Tracy Lawrence, and 70's mega-group Foghat.  Mix into that not one but two water parks including Big Surf and Margaritaville's Jolly Mon Indoor Water Park, four go-kart tracks, four mini-golf courses, a fistful of real golf courses, the escape room at Lake Escape, the Jetz Trampoline Park, Zippy's ZipLine, and year-round fun at Bridal Cave, and it's easy to see how you'll run out of vacation long before you run out of things to do.

So we hope you'll take the journey with us and check in each week to find the latest updates, stories, and Fives (lists of the Top Five restaurants, attractions, and other arbitrary lineups to stir debate, create online havoc, and light the fuse on Twitter wars galore) as we bring you LOTOTODO.