One (Culinary) Reason To Visit Branson

A couple of weeks ago, we took a little road trip seven hours away from the Quad Cities to spend a few days in Branson, Missouri, in the Ozarks.

This time, it wasn’t just the two of us.  We took Gretel and her best friend, Zoe, along with us.  Let’s just say it was an interesting time hanging out with two thirteen-year-old girls!

While definitely a tourist trap, it was beautiful with all the trees.  We took advantage of nature and the nice weather and took the girls hiking in the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area for a few hours.


On Friday evening, we enjoyed a dinner cruise on the Showboat Branson Belle. 

The show, featuring a comedian/magician, music, and aerial stunts with complete with fiddle playing, was fantastic. 

The only down side was that between the show and dinner, we didn’t get to enjoy the deck during much of the cruise.  It may have been that we went on the 8 p.m. cruise and it was dark, so the show may have been longer since you couldn’t see as much outdoors as you could during the day?

On Saturday, we visited the Silver Dollar City theme park and I took my first real roller coaster ride with Zoe on the “Wildfire”!

Anthony Roller Coaster

At 120 feet high and a top speed of 66 miles-per-hour, the “Wildfire” is the tallest and second fastest ride at Silver Dollar City.  It covers more than three thousand feet of track and features five upside down turns and loops!

Roller Coaster

The thrilling ride only lasted what seemed like a minute or so, but seeing the Ozarks from that vantage point and knowing that I could die at any moment made the ride more exhilarating and incredible.

I wanted to do it again with Ray, but we decided against having both adults on the thrilling, life-defying ride.  So, he rode it with Zoe, who was more than willing to take another spin on it!

That evening, we bought snacks at a fun grocery store, Price Chopper, and sat by the pool, drank wine, and played Marco Polo with some other hotel visitors from Oklahoma and Chicago.

Now, on to one of my favorite topics — food.

On the drive down on the first night, we stopped outside of Branson in Ozark, Missouri, and had a southern meal at Lambert’s  Cafe, “Home of the Throwed Roll”.  Yes, grammatically incorrect, but it’s a slogan known across the South and Midwest!

Lambert's Food

The food was amazing and, luckily, no one in our party dropped any of the tossed rolls that came our way!

However, the highlight of the trip for me is something that I’d highly recommend for anyone visiting Branson.

On Sunday, as we were leaving town, we stopped at The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks for Sunday brunch at the Dobyns Dining Room.

Keeter Center 1

From the moment we walked into the rustic building and were escorted to our seats right past the most beautiful display of homemade desserts, I knew I was in heaven.  If you know anything about me, you know how much I love desserts and I would forsake the food pyramid for sweets.

Needless to say, my first plate of food was dessert.

Dessert 1

Now, since we were with two impressionable teenagers, I wanted to set a good example.  So, I sampled only a bite or two of the dessert plate before moving on to my first plate of real food — fruit, cheese, and two different salads.

I then tried a few breakfast items and a couple of lunch options.

Entree Plate 2

Our server, Stephenson, a student from Haiti, was very attentive.  The culinary staff’s presentation of made-to-order waffles and omelets, numerous breakfast and lunch items, including carved meats, and a made-to-order pasta station was very elegant.  I skipped the pasta station, but Gretel says it was delicious.

After trying all that I wanted, my third plate of food focused mainly on my favorite part of the brunch (desserts withstanding).

Summer Salad

It was a refreshing and stunning summer salad with spinach, almonds, peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, feta cheese, and a honey-citrus dressing, if my memory serves me right.

After finishing my third helping of the summer salad, I moved on to finish my first of two dessert plates and then I sampled Ray, Gretel, and Zoe’s desserts, too.

While every dessert that I sampled was superb, my favorites were the orange-flavored baklava, caramel peanut clusters, white chocolate peanut clusters, lime cheesecake, and the pralines.

Dessert Plate 2

College of the Ozarks, just outside of Branson in Point Lookout, Missouri, provides a  “Christian education to those who are found worthy, but who are without sufficient means to obtain such training.  Instead of paying tuition, all full-time students work campus jobs to defray the cost of education”.

Maybe it is because of these principles that everyone was so warm and inviting from the moment we walked in to when we left.  They worked effortlessly to make sure our dining experience was superior.  And, it was.

Culinary Staff

I don’t recall what we were reading online when we found this place when researching Branson, but I’m glad we did.

Would I ever go back to Branson?  Probably not — unless I was going just for the brunch at The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks!

By the way, Ray wants me to point out something.  Those are Gretel’s blue fingernails in the first picture.  Much to his chagrin, people on Facebook thought they were his when he initially posted the picture. 🙂


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cathy Henderson on August 14, 2014 at 6:39 am

    Sounds great and like a perfect day trip, if we left early enough. I can understand about the blue nail polish cause it does look like Rays hand lol. Thank you for the review and I hope our experience in Missouri is as great as yours. Definitely want to check out Silver Dollar City!


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