Columbia, Missouri is known by many as the home of the Missouri Tigers. What many do not know, is that it is a place bursting with unique culture in the form of music, history, art…and of course, food. If you ever get the chance to visit Columbia, here are the six places you shouldn’t leave town without eating at first:
Originally founded in 1884 in downtown Columbia, Booches Billiard Hall, a true local gem and certainly a place anyone visiting Columbia must try. Their cheeseburgers, which have been nationally recognized, are small, but juicy and bursting with flavor. They’re served on small squares of wax paper and most locals order 2 to 3 with a bowl of chili or bag of chips on the side. It’s safe to say that they have not redecorated since the day they opened, but the old photos and signs decorating the walls of the dimly lit pool hall creates an old-timey atmosphere that makes the food taste even better.
In 1994, Flat Branch Pub & Brewing opened its doors to the city of Columbia. Ever since, it has been serving up delicious meals and brews. It is the perfect place to eat lunch out on the patio and enjoy some sunlight or sip on some cold ones with your friends at the huge bar inside; regardless, Flat branch is a definitely must-visit during your stay in Columbia.
Shakespeare’s Pizza is referred to by the majority of Columbians as THE best pizza place in town. Anyone who tells you differently, well, they’re simply wrong. Shakespeare’s has been serving up delicious pizza in CoMo since 1973 and has since expanded to three separate locations around town. In 2010, it was named the winner of Good Morning America’s “Best Bites Challenge: College Edition.” Have you had a piece… today?
Located on the busiest street in Columbia, CJ’s is without a doubt the #1 spot to go for chicken wings. It is 100% local, and they take great pride in the fact that they are not a chain restaurant like their far less superior competitors: Wingin’ Out and Buffalo Wild Wings. CJ’s has been in business since 1989 and has been serving delicious wings with a side of Tiger spirit ever since.
The Broadway Diner is not only one of the most delicious breakfast spots in town, but it also serves as the late-night spot for college students to gather after a long night out at Harpos. They stay open 24/7, making it possible to get your breakfast fix at any hour of the day. Another great thing about the diner is that you will never leave having spent more than ten dollars, which to your average broke college student such as myself, is quite the dream come true.
6. La Siesta
La Siesta is your Columbia go-to for a taste south of the border, offering variations of fajitas, burritos, tacos, plates and great seafood options. Francisco Guillen and Benjamin Guillen, owners and brothers, came to the United States 23 years ago, bringing with them authentic Mexican food from the central highland state of Guanajuato in Mexico. Many people don’t realize this, but they also happen to deliver their dishes at late hours. This place is as amazing as their Margaritas.
If you have not yet had the chance to visit Columbia, I highly recommend doing so. Not only is the food fantastic, but the people are genuine and the atmosphere is the perfect balance between a small town and a big city.
And always remember…MIZ!