Food Friday: Casa De Luz

There are several Mexican cuisine options in Branson so it’s hard to know which ones are good, but I can assure you that a trip to Casa De Luz is time well spent.

This mexican restaurant is nestled between retail shops in the historic downtown Branson on Commercial Street and caters to those who enjoy traditional Mexican fare as well as tasty American dishes. This locally owned gem is the only restaurant in Branson that serves Mexican breakfast — and they serve it all day long!

I stopped in for a quick lunch last week with a friend of mine and we both ordered the combination plate, which offers a choice of three from a taco, an enchilada, a mini burrito and a mini chimichanga for just $10.99. It also comes served with rice, beans, lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream and cheese.

The presentation of the food on it’s own was appetizing but it tasted just as good. The portion sizes are really large, in my opinion, so I had quite a bit of food left over on my plate well after I was stuffed full. And of course, you get unlimited homemade chips and salsa which is my favorite thing about Mexican restaurants!

The atmosphere inside Casa De Luz is very calm and there’s nothing really flashy or unique but the servers and staff are very welcoming and friendly. My friend and I were lucky enough to get a very nice server who was perfect. She made us feel important, checked up on us often but still gave us enough space and time to enjoy the meal without feeling rushed.

There’s certainly nothing negative I can say about Casa De Luz and I highly recommend it for any casual breakfast or lunch. Try it out and let us know what you think!

For more information or a full menu, please visit the Casa De Luz Facebook page.

Details

Location: 108 S. Commercial St., Branson, Mo.

Hours: Tues.-Sat. 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

Sun. 7 a.m.- 1 p.m.

Fare: traditional Mexican food and some American dishes

Price Range: most dishes are anywhere from $7-$12 per person

Branson Welcomes New Big Whiskey’s

Fans of Big Whiskey’s  can rejoice because a new location is set to open in Branson this coming spring.

The restaurant’s sixth location will be at the Branson Landing inside the Hilton Promenade and construction is scheduled to begin in January of 2015.

Big Whiskey’s is an American bar and grille serving up delicious wings, soups, salads, wraps, seafood favorites, steaks and much more. Daily drink and appetizer specials are a popular favorite as well.

For more information, please visit www.bigwhiskeys.com.

Vegetarian? Check Out These Veggie-Friendly Restaurants in the Ozarks

Sometimes being a vegetarian on vacation can be a difficult thing. You may not know the most vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the area and that can make choosing a place to eat a difficult thing. If you’re visiting Branson with a vegetarian diet in mind, here are several Branson-area restaurants serving up delicious veggie dishes that are sure to satisfy your tastebuds and your conscience.

vasken's

Vasken’s Deli

3200 Gretna Rd. Suite 100

Branson, Mo.

This fresh Mediterranean deli is perfect for vegetarians who are on the hunt for a variety of tasty options. Choose from traditional tzaziki dip and pita bread, dolmas, a spinach and three cheese panini, falafel and so much more. You’ll find lots of veggie friendly options at this deli that suit your tastes without violating any diet restrictions.

 

botanas

Botana’s Restaurant & Bar

3515 W. 76 Country Blvd.

Branson, Mo.

Fried South American root vegetable with dressing, guacamole enchiladas (vegan friendly!), vegetarian chimichangas, vegetarian fajitas … the list goes on and on. This Mexican restaurant provides its vegetarian guests with a slew of delicious options so you won’t have to miss out on the savory Mexican flavors that you love.

 

thai thai

Thai Thai Cuisine

1615 W. Highway 76

Branson, Mo.

Traditional Thai cuisine and heaps of vegetarian options makes this place an instant winner. Fresh ingredients, fast service and ethnic decor all contribute to the five star experience you’re sure to have at this local favorite. Sumptuous traditional thai salads, soups, entrees and desserts await you at Thai Thai Cuisine.

 

grad school

Grad School

434 S. Jefferson Ave.

Springfield, Mo.

If everyone else wants a burger and you don’t want to starve, try one of Grad School’s delicious tofu burgers. Not only will you be completely satisfied with the savory taste but it comes with a mouth-watering side of french fries — the perfect compliment to your burger. Just to be safe, make sure to ask your server to have the cooks prepare your tofu burger in a separate pan if you’d prefer that.

 

cafe

Sugar Leaf Bakery & Cafe

2800 W. 76 Country Blvd.

Branson, Mo.

Outside of being the cutest bakery and cafe I’ve ever seen, this place has ample amounts of healthy options that are sure to suit your fancy. The spinach and strawberry salad is to die for and the ever-changing soup options are fantastic. Try the fresh fig and apple harvest salad or sink your teeth into the mouth-watering Tuscan Veggie Panini served on homemade pepper and fig bread. Whatever you choose here is made to order with the freshest ingredients.

 

huhot

HuHot Mongolian Grill

2825 S. Glenstone Ave.

Springfield, Mo.

Your meal is what you make it at this place! Create your idea of the perfect meal from a variety of fresh veggies like bean sprouts, onion, corn, yellow squash, water chestnuts, cabbage, green beans and so much more. Add your choice of noodles and sauce and watch the experienced cooks grill it up for you. This family favorite is a fun place to eat and you can always go back for seconds or even thirds!

Food Friday: Farmhouse Restaurant

photo (2)I’ve read lots of good things about the Farmhouse Restaurant in Branson so this week I decided to give it a try.

I was in town on Monday and it was a cold, rainy day that was just begging for some comfort food. When I stopped by the Farmhouse Restaurant in historic downtown Branson, the dining room wasn’t very full but there were several tables occupied by small groups of people enjoying the warmth and eats of the place.

I was promptly seated at a small table near the window and looked over the menu as I sipped a glass of cold water. I was happy to see that just about everything on the menu could be considered “comfort food,” from chicken fried steak and the roast beef dinner to BBQ sandwiches, creamy mashed potatoes and flame-grilled pork chops.

My waitress returned to collect my order and I decided to go with the chicken and dumplings. I figured a nice warm bowl of that would be the perfect compliment to a dreary, rainy evening.

She returned just a few minutes later with my meal and I was delighted to see that everything on my plate was piping hot and fresh. My bowl was filled to the brim with delicious and creamy chicken and dumplings and sat next to a large helping of buttery, red-skinned mashed potatoes and gravy. The meal came with a warm homemade biscuit and a choice of side. I went with the green beans which ended up being a great choice. They were delicious!

In fact, everything on my plate was exceptional. It was just what I expected from a restaurant that bragged “homestyle cooking.” The dining room was quiet and made for a nice, relaxing getaway where I could enjoy my meal.

If you’re looking for some warm comfort food in Branson, look no further than Farmhouse Restaurant. Now that I’ve been there I can understand all the rave reviews and I’m confident you will too!

Details

Address: 119 W. Main St., Branson, Mo.

Hours: Daily 7 a.m.- 8 p.m.

Fare: Homestyle cooking

Price range: Most dishes range from $7-$10 per person

Ideal for: Casual breakfast, lunch or dinner; family dining; group dining

Take Advantage of These Dining Discounts in the Ozarks

When you’re on vacation, taking your family out to eat is the one thing that will consume a large portion of your budget. Fortunately, the Ozarks is home to many local restaurants and popular chains that offer great deals and free meals for kids.

Check out some of these options next time you decide to eat a family meal out and you might just find that you’ll save a few dollars!

Bair’s Sports Grill

Locations and Phone Numbers

With three different locations in the Ozarks, Bair’s Sports Grill is a convenient stop for a mouthwatering, juicy burger, a delicious salad made with fresh ingredients or just about anything else you’d typically find in a sandwich, wrap, soup and wings joint. Stop by on Wednesday after 4 p.m. and receive one kids meal for just $1.

Famous Dave’s

Locations and Phone Numbers

Famous Dave’s is one of the best places in the Ozarks to find great barbecue. With a delicious menu featuring wood-smoked meats and cuts of meat hand-rubbed with custom made blends of spices, you can’t go wrong here. Stop by on Wednesday from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. and get one free kids meal per adult entree purchased. On Thursdays, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. each adult entree purchased receives one kids meal for $1.99.

McAlister’s Deli

Locations and Phone Numbers

McAlister’s Deli is a great option for families, boasting healthy and delicious salads, hot and cold cut sandwiches, a variety of soups and sides and sweet desserts. Everyone is sure to find something that will make them happy here and with four Springfield locations, you’re bound to find one nearby. On Sundays and Tuesdays from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. guests can receive two free kids meals per adult entree purchased.

Coyote’s Nixa Grille

Locations and Phone Numbers

This sports cafe is famous for its wings, burgers and prime ribs and is great for families who want a casual relaxing atmosphere. The adults can enjoy a cold brew and All-You-Care-To-Eat wings while the kids dig into burgers and fries. Tuesdays not only feature one free kids meal per adult entree purchased from 5 p.m.- 8 p.m., but there’s also a live magician on hand for great family entertainment from 6 p.m.- 8 p.m.

Alli’s Family Restaurant

Locations and Phone Numbers

A diner-style family restaurant, Alli’s serves up some of that delicious comfort food that everyone’s craving during these cold winter months. Choose from chicken fried chicken, an open face beef hot platter sandwich, a country fried skillet or any more of this restaurant’s delicious options. Each week, Monday through Thursday for a free kids meal from 5 p.m.- 9 p.m. alongside any adult entree $6.99 or up.

For dozens of other great options, please visit www.bransonshows.com!

Food Friday: Jayne Dough Sandwiches

photo 1 (7)Every week while I’m in Branson I get to try a new restaurant and share my experience with all of you. Exciting right? I like to think so.

Last week as I was researching the many dining options in Branson, I came across a neat little sandwich shop called Jayne Dough. It’s over by The Shoppes at Branson Hills & Branson Hills Plaza. If you don’t know where that is, you can see the Books-A-Million from Highway 65 traveling south.

Anyway, this locally owned sandwich shop reminds me of Subway, just with WAY better customer service. I stopped by around 4 p.m. for an early dinner and the lady behind the counter greeted me warmly. I felt like I was staring at the menu for ages because I wasn’t sure of what to get and had never been there before but the lady never rushed me and gave me all the time I needed.

Eventually I decided on the Chicken Salad sandwich on wheat bread. When I ordered she smiled broadly and said, “Well that’s the local favorite!” I was happy to have chosen something so promising and as she prepared my sandwich right there in front of me we chatted a bit. I learned that she was actually the owner of Jayne Dough and that she and her husband opened the sandwich shop together. I could immediately tell this was a family-oriented company because of her genuine kindness, the fantastic prices and I may have spotted some school pictures on the wall behind the counter.

When you order a sandwich at Jayne Dough, much like at Subway, you can pick and choose what veggies, sauces and other toppings you want on your sandwich. I added tomato, lettuce, spinach and onion to my Chicken Salad sandwich and it was to die for. Seriously.

I can see why it’s the local favorite! It’s the perfect combination of creamy and tart and pairs well with veggies and the soft, fresh-baked bread it comes served on. Oh, and did I mention the chicken salad is homemade?

The menu features a variety of traditional sandwiches including turkey, ham, roast beef, roasted chicken, the Italian Classic and more but if you’re not in the mood for a sandwich, you can choose from delicious pizza wedges, salad or soup.

Everything I had at Jayne Dough was absolutely delicious and as I stepped out the door to leave, the owner said, “Thanks for stopping in Kelsey. Have a great day!” The fact that she even remembered my name says a lot about her and her company’s character.

Definitely stop by this Branson gem for a great lunch or dinner!

Details:

Location: 1232 Branson Hills Pkwy., Suite 201, Branson, Mo.

Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.- 8 p.m., closed Sundays and holidays

Price Range: $8-$10 per person

Cuisine: Deli food

Good for: Family meals, casual lunch or dinner

 

Food Friday: Florentina’s Ristorante Italiano

Florentina'sThis week in Branson I stopped into Florentina’s Ristorante Italiano for a warm, hearty dinner and couldn’t have been more impressed. Well-liked for its authentic local Italian dishes, Florentina’s has an impressive selection of delicious entrees that will leave you absolutely stuffed and content.

For a Monday night in Branson, the place was completely packed and the buzz of ongoing conversations filled my ears as I pulled the front door open. I was immediately seated at a small table in the dining room and greeted by my friendly server who placed the thick menu in front of me.

The restaurant’s decor was filled with warm colors, lush plants and decorative art. Large tables seated big groups of people and families who were loudly enjoying their meals and the waiters and waitresses were all busy serving plates and happily chatting with customers.

I was eyeing the lasagna on the menu when my server arrived back at my table and offered his own advice. He told me the local favorite was the Rigatoni Florentina and I warily took his advice, convincing myself that it would be best to try something new.

He returned less to my table less than ten minutes later with a heaping plate of rigatoni noodles coated in a creamy tomato cream sauce and topped with a melted, gooey cheese blend. I was anxious to try this dish of interesting ingredients. A unique blend of grilled chicken, red onion, mushrooms, broccoli, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, capers, kalamata olives and garlic, the Rigatoni Florentina is definitely one of the more interesting dishes on the menu.

I took a bite, not really sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised with the diverse array of flavors that greeted my tastebuds. Each bite incorporated a new zesty flavor that was simply too delicious to describe.

There was no way I could finish my entire portion, even if I tried, so be aware that if you dine at Florentina’s you’ll most likely leave with leftovers. Which is fantastic! I took my leftovers to work the next day and had my coworkers jealously sniffing the air.

Next time you’re in Branson, check this place out! You won’t be disappointed.

Details

Location: 2690 Green Mountain Dr., Branson, Mo
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.- 9 p.m; Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.- 9:30 p.m.
Price range: $7-$9 per person for lunch, $10-$15 per person for dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Good for: Date night, family dining