Lake of the Ozarks is known for its excellent waterfront dining scene. Boat up to the restaurant's dock, tie up, and walk up the ramp for dinner with a Lake view.
But in the winter, many waterfront restaurants are closed, and either way, boating to the open ones is often out of the question. So for those who are looking for a great restaurant or bar off the beaten path, look no further! LakeExpo conducted a survey on Facebook to find the best off-the-water bars and restaurants at the Lake and used a not-very-scientific method to compile some of the top results. We got locals to weigh-in, too, and it turns out that Lake people are passionate about their favorite watering holes, dives, and mom-and-pop places. Here are 15 of the most popular places, based on our Facebook poll, below...
(Quotes edited for brevity and clarity)
(Looking for more ideas for a night out? Check out LakeExpo's Eat & Drink Signature Series, here: lakeexpo.com/restaurants)
15 Top Off-Water Restaurants & Bars At Lake Of The Ozarks
1. Tirebiters Peanut Bar
Where: 4704 Jayhawk St. - Osage Beach
A local favorite in Osage Beach, fans say Tirebiters Peanut Bar has good food and cheap drinks.
“It reminds me of a neighborhood Irish pub; you’ll see older diners, families with younger kids and singles who enjoy the bar atmosphere. The staff is friendly and hardworking and the food is consistently good. And peanut shells on the floor? That’s always fun!” said Facebook commenter Heather Shields
Daily specials and happy hour: Daily specials Monday through Friday and happy hour from 4–6 and all day Sunday.
Heather’s favorite dish: Burger or chicken strips with fries
2. The Branding Iron
Where: 12142 MO-5 - Sunrise Beach
After a devastating fire in 2019, The Branding Iron is back and better than ever with the same good food and small-town feel in Sunrise Beach.
“It’s home cooking and top-quality, all the way down to the salad-dressing which I’m super picky about. Kelly the owner is awesome and treats everyone like they are special,” said Facebook commenter, Christi Taylor.
Christi’s favorite dish: Buffalo pizza
3. The Blue Cat Tavern and Grill
Where: 1259 Irontown Dr. - Roach
Hometown cooking down in Roach, Missouri, Blue Cat is a great place to watch the Chief’s play!
“My favorite thing about the Blue Cat is the hometown feel when you're there - whether you're from MO or across the country.” said Facebook commenter, Kelly Smith.
Events and Activities: Indoor cornhole, bingo and karaoke are all offered!
Kelly’s Favorite Dish: Margery's famous grilled veggies and salads
4. Hurricane Dolly’s
Where: 258 Trail's End Rd. - Sunrise Beach
A long-time staple of Sunrise Beach, Hurricane Dolly’s is an eclectic little place that’s got something for everyone.
“Dolly's is a casual neighborhood bar/restaurant that is off the beaten path. Friendly atmosphere where lots of locals frequent. Just the friendly people and laid back atmosphere.” said Facebook commenter, Pat Devlin.
Pat’s favorite dish: Prime rib
5. Jones Outpost
Where: 6409 MO-7 - Montreal
With the motto "love, peace and bacon grease," Jones Outpost is a great small-town restaurant in Montreal, Missouri.
“Mike is a great chef and he has really made an impact with both restaurants here at the lake. His dedication to sourcing food locally is to be admired as well. Jones Outpost is nationally renowned for the pork tenderloin and features many amazing homestyle meals such as the chicken fried pig and country fried steak!” said Facebook commenter, Freddie McLaughlin.
Freddie’s favorite dish: Chicken fried pig and country fried steak
Specials: Specials are offered daily
6. Shrimp Daddy's
Where: 16218 MO-5, Sunrise Beach
Shrimp Daddy's is a great choice for anyone looking for Cajun food and a Mardi Gras atmosphere, year-round, in Sunrise Beach.
“The owner is so kind and takes time to talk to every customer when you are there to make sure you’re happy. I think the atmosphere is just so fun. It feels like you’ve been transported to New Orleans when you walk inside," said Facebook commenter Hannah Lenz.
Hannah’s favorite dish: "The catfish, but we’ve never had anything we don’t like there!"
7. Smokin’ Jones
Where: 1175 Business Route 5 - Camdenton
If you’re looking for Ozark style BBQ, Smokin’ Jones in Camdenton is the place for you.
“Mike really hit the nail on the head with Smokin' Jones Ozark Style BBQ. This type of eatery is exactly what Camdenton needed. The smoked meat is absolutely on point, the sauces are heavenly and the daily creations are always a huge hit with me,” said Facebook commenter Freddie McLaughlin.
Freddie's favorite dish: Hillbilly Bowl
Where: 310 S. Main St. - Laurie
“Chances “R” that you’ll be back!” is the catchy tagline of this homestyle combination bar and restaurant with great prices and even better food.
"Chances R [has a] great local feel & atmosphere. The home style food is always amazing. The best memories are playing shuffleboard & hanging out with my wife," said Facebook commenter Phillip Adams.
Phillip’s favorite dish: Burgers and haddock fish sandwich
Activities: Pool and shuffleboard
Specials: Sunday All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast Bar
9. Vinny’s Cafe
Where: 751 N. Main St. - Laurie
Fine home cooking in Laurie Missouri, Vinny’s Cafe is a great spot for the whole family.
“Vinnys has wonderful service. It’s one of my favorites on the west side. All of the establishments are all great over here.” said Facebook commenter, Yolanda Kuntz.
Yolanda’s favorite dish: Fish, chicken and burgers
10. Taqueria La Tapatia
5838 Osage Beach Pkwy. - Osage Beach
You no longer have to go to Mexico for authentic Mexican food, look no further than La Tapatia Taqueria in Osage Beach! A tiny indoor area allows for a couple of tables, and if the weather's nice you can sit at one of the two picnic tables outside. But you'll likely be ordering your La Tapatia para llevar.
“I like La Tapatia because it reminds me of times in Mexico. They have coke in glass bottles with real sugar. They often have Mariachi music playing and I have gotten to know the employees there really well. I have eaten a lot in Mexico and La Tapatia is authentic.” said Facebook commenter, Danial Ousley.
Danial’s favorite dish: Street tacos and guacamole
(Editor's Note: Order the carnitas tacos. Always top them with the green sauce, and if you enjoy a little fuego, use a little of the red too. If you're sweating by the end of the first taco, you used the right amount. -NB)
11. Southern Comfort at Camp Bagnell
Where: 401 Old Bagnell Rd. - Eldon
Camp Bagnell Fish and Steakhouse is now Southern Comfort! With new owners and a refined menu, Southern Comfort has friendly service and great food in Camp Bagnell.
"My favorite thing about Southern Comfort is the homestyle cooking, large portions, and great prices!" said Facebook commenter Elijah Burdette.
Elijah’s favorite dish: Catfish Bites appetizer
Where: 1140 Bagnell Dam Blvd., Lake Ozark
A restaurant and bar on the Bagnell Strip, Lucky’s is the spot for a good burger and a stiff drink.
“The owners and the bartenders make you feel like family. And there are just too many great memories to choose from. St. Pat's Day festivities, to karaoke, to Chiefs game days to the celebration(s) of life for many dear people,” said Facebook commenter, Jeannette Russell.
Jeannette’s favorite dish: Depends on the day because I love their lunch specials
13. RJ’s Family Restaurant
Where: 275 US-54, Camdenton
A small-town family restaurant in Camdenton, RJ’s is known for great service, great food and huge portions! Open for breakfast and lunch, RJ's is a popular spot for a breakfast meeting, a Saturday brunch, or establishing a weekly ritual with friends.
“Good food, good waitresses, good price. My best memory is the many times I have shared a meal with friends and colleagues. A group of pastors meets there on Wednesday mornings and in addition to the good food we share our joys and struggles with one another,” said Facebook commenter Timothy Faber.
Timothy’s favorite dish: Denver omelet with home fries and toast
14. Rocky Top
Where: 16384 O Highway - Gravois Mills
A hidden gem in Gravois Mills, Rocky Top is a fun spot to watch the game and get a bite to eat. The Lake's westside crowd loves Rocky Top.
“Rocky Top is right in our neighborhood and it’s just like Cheers where everyone knows your name. The owner works the bar and entertains his clients. Make you feel at home. We’ve really enjoyed watching the Chiefs games there and the Jell-O shots when they score,” said Facebook commenter Tonya S Garlick.
Tonya’s favorite dish: Broasted chicken
15. The Office
Where: 4460 Horseshoe Bend Pkwy. - Lake Ozark
A great spot for tried and true American food, The Office is the place to get a good meal and have a great time!
“My favorite thing is that it’s very close to where I live, LOL! Also as a single female you feel comfortable going in alone. My favorite dish there is a toss up between their pizza and the Mother Clucker sliders with house made jalapeño ranch and yummy shoestring fries!!” said Facebook commenter Michelle Curry.
Michelle’s favorite dish: Pizza or Mother Clucker sliders.