The sign for RJ’s Family Restaurant reads “Close to Home…Yet Far from Ordinary!” RJ’s many loyal customers agree.
The restaurant parking lot is busy during its open hours, especially on weekends when RJ’s serves a breakfast buffet featuring the customers’ favorites, including pastries, eggs, breakfast meats, fruit, and biscuits with or without gravy. Every day, customers know they’ll be served good tasting food in generous portions.
One often offered for breakfast is Monkey Bread French Toast. Another is a variation on Eggs Benedict, a Lake favorite. At RJ’s, crab cakes rest under softly poached eggs that blend into a Hollandaise sauce until the two are the same color of yellow sunshine. A Mediterranean version of Eggs Benedict has been offered as a special. This one featured turkey on English muffins with Hollandaise and sundried tomatoes.
Recent lunch specials included an 8-ounce boneless pork chop stuffed with apple and cranberry bread. Chicken and dumplings were also on the menu. These are but two satisfying meal choices that draw diners for lunch or brunch.
Daily breakfast and lunch specials are potential new menu items if diners’ responses are positive. Owner Randy Jung ("RJ") grows his business by listening to customers: he often can be found sitting at the table with them, chatting over their morning coffee.
A native son of the Lake area, Randy graduated from School of the Osage, class of '73. For more than three decades, he worked the back of the house as cook and chef. He spent ten years with Tan-Tar-A Resort when the Marriott Corporation sent several European chefs to shape and direct the cuisine offered. Jung says those chefs were demanding; they honed the strong work ethic that his family had already instilled in him, and they taught him a great deal about food and flavor.
Now, Jung spends as much time at the front of the house as he does in the back. He greets the regulars and tries to keep newcomers coming back with a kind word and a note of gratitude. He learns what customers like and what they suggest by meeting and greeting them.
Since becoming a first-time restaurant owner about eight years ago, Jung has been gratified to see the business thrive and grow. Some of that success is surely due to the breakfast menu. RJ’s offers the foods that he remembers from his grandmother’s and his mother’s kitchens. Biscuits and gravy is dish. It’s another popular menu item around Lake of the Ozarks. At RJ’s, it’s a generous portion consisting of one or two large biscuits cut in half then smothered in sausage gravy. Eggs and bacon can be added.
Such a large breakfast is perfect for the fisherman who’ll be on the water well past lunchtime or the rancher who’ll be herding cattle until the sun goes down. Bird and deer hunters will also enjoy this meal after long walks through the woods. It’s a stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast for men or women who’ll work off all those calories before they eat again.
RJ’s is open daily year-round from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., a nice treat for full-time Westside residents. RJ’s is also smoke-free, a change that took place in June 2013 and one that has not had a negative impact on his customer base
Jung’s motto is never be complacent! He won’t take his customers for granted or his menu. He strives to provide quality food that customers enjoy and new menu items to challenge their palates. Self-taught and hard-working, Jung’s motto seems to be guiding him into another year of growth and success.
On the way out, customers pass by a display case holding pies and cakes. The meringue atop a coconut cream is light as air and lightly sweet, but there are many good dessert choices to finish a good meal or carry out for dining later at home.