Under the radar

Columbia – and mid-Missouri in general – doesn’t have much in the way of under the radar eateries. We’ve got the tried and true and the plainly obvious, but not much that’ll surprise anyone. So when someone who’s new to town asked for some tips on where to go that’s off the beaten path, something out of the ordinary, I didn’t have much to offer right off the bat.

What follows is my attempt at a list – in no way an exhaustive one. Let me know what I’m missing.

Chinese Wok Express
J.R. Barton’s (are they still in business?)
International Cafe
Mugs Up
Ninth Street Deli

Further afield:
Lonnie Ray’s (Harrisburg)
Chim’s Thai Kitchen (Jefferson City)
Das Stein Haus (Jefferson City)
Heuer’s Cafe (Highway 63 north of town)


Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

15 thoughts

  1. You know, we really like Churchill’s. We’ve been twice and had great meals. It’s like nothing else that exists in Columbia and nobody ever thinks of it.

  2. I think the A-frame at the Winery is interesting. You can get sausage, apples and cheese (perhaps other stuff). Abigail’s in Rocheport.

    What is that BBQ place in town that used to be in an old Pizza Hut on Broadway and now is in a residential neighborhood?

    Ernie’s for breakfast. The Broadway Diner for breakfast.

    Sky Hi bar and grill.

    Broadway Brewery? I think people new to town will find Sycamore to be interesting, even if they are not really under the radar.

    Buying sausage and other stuff from Brook Harlin and his students is not a resturant, but it is a really neat under the radar food item.

  3. I remember you mentioning Churchill’s, Ryan. We need to make it their…I haven’t been in, oh, 13 years or so.

    I left Chims’ river location off because a) I haven’t been and b) have heard mixed reviews – though most are positive.

    Jeff, the bbq place you’re talking about is Barton’s. They were Sutton Place back when they were on Broadway.

    I’ve had some decent food at Sky-Hi…that’s under the radar for sure. And thanks for the other thoughts.

  4. Churchill’s? I think I ate a breakfast there when I was on my campus visit to MU. It was worse than a Denny’s. Under the radar might include lunch at Uprise. Love the sandwiches. Love the soup. I’m a big fan as well of burger and fries at Murray’s. If you want a plate of only fried food, Mississippi Fish Shack is your place (though we did O.D. a week ago on fried appetizers at Sycamore). You can do a decent lunch at Coffee Zone (and the rugelach is good).

  5. Booches is definately off the radar if you are not from here.

    A little farther out – Glenn’s Cafe in Boonville & Emmett’s Tap Room in Fayette

  6. Just FYI, the BBQ place known as Barton’s/Suttons has been closed for months now. Maybe even more than a year.

  7. Wondered about that, Rachel. My visits ceased when I started working in Jefferson City. Too bad, they were great.

  8. I never actually ate there, but I’m hoping something else will go in there. No sign of life, though. I live not too far from there.

    As for off the beaten path: JJ’s Cafe on the Business Loop for breakfast. I think their food is better than Ernie’s.

  9. I would add La Shae’s. And Jeff is so right on Brook Harlan. Of course my parent found it their first visit here. They sniff those things out like bloodhounds.

    David and I were thinking of doing a Business Loop tour for the blog, eating at every restaurant on there since they are so often overlooked.

  10. Scott, we purchased some discount coupons for the Copper Kettle in Ashland and went for supper one week-end. We were pleasantly surprised to find that they have all you can eat shrimp and crab on Friday and Saturday night. If you’ve not been there: from Columbia, go past the Ashland exit about 1/2 mile and turn right on the road that abuts 63. It’s a few hundred feet away on the right.

  11. Claysville Store south on 63. Limited hours but some of the best fried chicken and desserts in the US!

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