Rural Missouri - April 2012 - (Page 21)

11th annual contest results reveal readers’ favorites Best Restaurant: Catalpa, Arrow Rock Runner-Up: Piggy’s BarBQ, O’Fallon; 636-272-7444; Every barbecue joint has its following, and Piggy’s is no exception. Regulars rave about the Kansas City-style barbecue that Gary and Anita Hellyer started serving up just off of Interstate 70 in 2005. Be sure to stop in on “Full Slab Fridays,” when pitmaster Mike Killian offers a full slab of spare ribs for $14.99. Editor’s Choice: Strawberry’s, Holcomb; 573-792-9689, Field Editor Kyle Spradley believes everyone should have Strawberry’s on their “barbecue bucket list.” If you ever find yourself in the “heel” of the Bootheel, it is worth the drive to Holcomb for Jerry “Straw” Holsten’s famous smoked pork steak dinner. Straw serves up a 2-pound, centercut pork steak on one plate and your choice of three sides on another — all for just $12. Best Chili 1st Place: Casper’s, Springfield; 417866-9750 This little diner tucked inside an old Quonset hut has been a Springfield staple for more than a century. Although the restaurant is closed in the summer, the rest of the year you can sample a beef and pinto bean chili that is delicious by itself and the perfect complement to Casper’s hotdogs, hamburgers and the famous Frito pie. Runner-Up: Dixon’s Chili Parlor, Independence; 816-861-7308, Dixon’s offers up what is arguably the most unique chili in all of Missouri. The mildly seasoned meat and beans are cooked separately and drained. When you order, a scoop of beans and a scoop of meat are placed on a plate. You can order your chili “juicy” (with meat juice), “soupy” (with bean broth) or “both.” From there, it’s up to you to add extras such as onions, cheese, sour cream or jalapeño relish. Editor’s Choice: Fred & Red’s Chili, Joplin; 417-781-5341 Associate Editor Heather Berry was shocked when she heard that Fred & Red’s, a Joplin institution since 1923, would be closing its doors. After 88 years of business, this eatery on Main Street — known for its homemade chili and hand-rolled tamales — will close as near to April 15 as possible. Owner Larry Wilcoxson hopes to sell the restaurant and his secret recipes. Rural Missouri wishes Larry well in his retirement and sends condolences to all displaced Fred & Red’s regulars. Best Pizza 1st Place: Shakespeare’s Pizza, Columbia; 573-449-2454, Founded in 1973, Shakespeare’s is a Columbia landmark. Located north of the University of Missouri campus, the pizzeria has been a staple for college students for generations and is known for its quirky décor and e won’t lie to you. We really did wonder what the reaction would be this year when — after four years with a regional format — we returned to our roots and made the 11th annual Best of Rural Missouri Readers’ Choice Contest a statewide affair. Would you like the throwback to the early days? Would you vote? Turns out, you apparently love naming a statewide winner. Voting this year surpassed that of any previous contest, and online voting nearly doubled. In fact, we had to enlist reinforcements to get the ballots counted! Among this year’s winners, you’ll find some new names, along with the return of a few longtime favorites. We’ve also named Editor’s Choice winners for the first time since 2007. So sit back and enjoy the next four pages highlighting the winners of your contest. If you visit any of them in 2012, let them know you read about them in Rural Missouri. Enjoy! Best Restaurant 1st Place: Catalpa, Arrow Rock; 660-837-3324, catalparestaurant A first-time winner in the contest is Catalpa, a little eatery opened in May 2011 by Saline County native Liz Huff, a chef who has worked in restaurants across the United States and the Virgin Islands. Enjoy elegant French and American-inspired appetizers and entrées before a show at the nearby Lyceum Theatre, then come back later for one of Liz’s desserts. Catalpa opens for its 2012 season on April 13. W photo by Kyle Spradley Runner-Up: The Pear Tree Restaurant, Bevier; 660-773-6666, After placing in our contest for nine consecutive years, The Pear Tree was mysteriously absent in 2011. However, readers let us know this year that they still love the restaurant’s famous onion rings, batter-dipped lobster tail and succulent prime rib. The Pear Tree continues to offer up memorable gourmet meals perfect for celebrating life’s milestones. Editor’s Choice: Lambert’s Café, Sikeston; 573-471-4261, Editor Jim McCarty has been eating at Lambert’s since it started in an old house in Sikeston and a pitcher from the high school softball team threw the rolls. Since then, the restaurant known for its generous portions and “pass arounds” has thrown more than 2.4 million rolls and expanded to locations in Ozark and Foley, Ala. Best Barbecue 1st Place: The Rusty Jug Barbeque & Root Beer Saloon, El Dorado Springs; 417-876-4669, Rural Missouri readers were first introduced to The Rusty Jug in early 2010. Since then, owners Todd and Michele Leonard have become regular winners in the readers’ choice contest, and it’s no surprise. Todd has a penchant for creating off-the-wall taste sensations, including the famous RJ’s Deep-Fried Ribs. For those seeking something a little less gluttonous, the Rusty Jug also offers low-calorie plates. Best Barbecue: The Rusty Jug, El Dorado Springs photo by Jason Jenkins

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - April 2012

Rural Missouri - April 2012
Table of Contents
Mule memories
Squandered opportunity
Something to gobble about
Best of Rural Missouri
Hearth and Home
The hardest fun ever
News Briefs
Around Missouri
Small-town saviors

Rural Missouri - April 2012