Currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, Popeyes remains the flavorful lovechild of Cajun and Creole cooking, serving up a wide-ranging menu. Connoisseurs of crispiness can stick with Popeyes’ famous New Orleans–style fried chicken meals ($4.49–$6.89) surrounded with savory sides ($1.59–$3.79) such as warm flaky biscuits, red beans and rice, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, Cajun rice, and more. Otherwise, slather some livers and gizzards ($2.99–$5.49) onto a biscuit and eat it, temporarily imbuing you with the chicken’s mighty strength and ability to smell time. Avian-averse appetites can feast instead on a shrimp po’ boy combo ($6.19) with a pecan pie ($1.49) or Mississippi mud pie ($1.99) for dessert. And to keep your famished family from impeaching you and electing a new parent, quell multi-person appetites with bona fide family meals ($10.49–$30.99).
Ray Lamar hasn't spent decades perfecting his donuts. In fact, his namesake shops still use the same recipes that Ray developed in 1933—at the age of 17—when he got his first job working a donut fryer. World War II and a postwar career as a stockbroker interrupted Ray's donut-making pursuits, although he returned to his roots in 1960 when he founded the first LaMar's Donuts.
The shop went on to become a Kansas City icon, with crowds arriving well before 6 a.m. to line up outside the doors and taunt the roosters for sleeping in. Ray and his wife, Shannon, eventually decided to expand their business into a regional empire, and LaMar's Donuts currently boasts 27 franchised stores spread across six states.
Even with all of this growth, decades-old traditions still dictate how things are done. The workers prepare more than 75 different kinds of donuts, hand-making fresh batches of perennial favorites as well as recent inventions each and every morning. In addition to the original glazed creation that dates back to 1933, the menus can feature a variety of cake donuts with flavors such as red velvet, apple spice, and maple.
Since donuts and coffee go together as naturally as paper shredders and subpar report cards, the stores also prepare cappuccinos, mochas, and other coffee drinks. These are all made with handpicked beans that slowly roast inside Italian brick ovens.
Linda and Steve Wood broke the ground on their first Australian-themed enterprise when they opened The Outback Steak and Oyster Bar in 1987. Over the years, the eatery garnered enough attention from Ozark visitors that it inspired the couple to open the Outback Outfitters clothing store in 1989. Nearly a decade later the Woods converted the store into the Outback Pub, adorning its walls with Australian articles and serving a menu of down home, exotic fare. Wild appetizers such as kookaburra-sauce-laden gator tail cause taste buds to don tiny safari caps before trekking through entrees of seasoned grouper or the tavern's specialty Shepparton chicken pot pie. Sips from more than 100 beers bring tides of malty and hoppy flavor, while live entertainment hosted every night gives the dinner crowd a soundtrack more pleasing than compliment-whispering earmuffs.
Serving what the Riverfront Times calls "jazzed-up American-grill standards," Fox Park Grille infuses its starters, sandwiches, and wings with signature touches. The grill's casual atmosphere ushers sports fans and foodies alike to its tables, where burgers stuffed with american, blue, and swiss cheese challenge hands to heft their kaiser rolls. From the meatballs to the sauces, including roasted red pepper, honey mustard, and marinara, the kitchen crafts many eats in-house and remains open until at least 10 p.m. six days a week.
Aside from innovative bar fare, Fox Park Grille also specializes in evening entertainment. Guests vie for the top spot during Wednesday trivia nights, and karaoke singers take the stage on Thursday and Friday. On Saturdays, DJ Rayn spins songs from the ’80s and ’90s for a nostalgic dance party that segues into a fight club for former prom kings.
Iggy's Mexican Cantina celebrates authentic Mexican cuisine with an extensive menu brimming with amply portioned burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, and specialties. Prep for headlining entrees with an opening act such as the fajita taco salad ($7.49), loaded with lettuce, chicken or steak, grilled garden favorites, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole. Traditional land-meat and seafood collide within the epic quesadilla fiesta ($7.99), which unites grilled shrimp, steak, and chicken within warm, cheesy folds of delectable tortilla. Meanwhile, pork pundits can fork into three enchiladas al pastor ($8.49), liberally stuffed with barbecue pork and grilled onions. Let your tongue-schooner sail the salty seas of Iggy's chilled margaritas ($6.99 for medium), served in several fruity flavors, such as mango and peach. Long-distance eaters can cross their tongues' finish line with two sweet Mexican desserts ($2.99 each)—honey-and-cinnamon-sprinkled sopapilla or paradoxical fried ice cream.
Smokehouse Bar-B-Que’s dinner and lunch menus satisfy cravings across the protein spectrum with a selection of hickory-smoked beef, pork, chicken, and seafood. High-quality cuts mingle between the Junior Smokehouse’s sesame-seed buns ($8.45), which grant diners a choice of two savories such as beef brisket, polish sausage, or time-traveling triceratops shank. The Monterey chicken's 8-ounce grilled breast nestles in a corn-dust bun alongside its eponymous cheese, ham, bacon, and dijon-mustard bedmates ($9.25), and chefs catapult a 16-ounce whole catfish through a Cajun-sauce and lemon-butter waterfall before bringing it in to land gently next to a house salad and choice of side ($14.95). Also flanked by a patron-preferred side dish, the Kansas City Strip rolls a 12-ounce certified Angus beef steak down sizzling hickory logs and into eagerly awaiting mouths ($23.95).
The old mulberry tree at the top of Noboleis Vineyards—the same creature that graces the estate's wine labels—symbolizes the endurance of Robert and Lou Ann Nolan in pursuing their dream to own a vineyard. After purchasing a 74-acre expanse of Augusta farmland in 2005, the Nolans planted their first grapes: chambourcin, traminette, norton, and vignoles. Initial growth indicated high yields, but a late frost in 2007 claimed most of the chambourcin crop. Adversity struck again in 2011, when a tornado tore through part of the vineyards and lifted sections of roof off of the winery.
But between these setbacks, the Nolans built a steady string of accomplishments. Their first vintages claimed multiple awards at the 2010 Missouri Governor's Cup, and what had started as plain farmland grew into an estate encompassing an onsite winery, tasting room, cafe, and wine shop. The Nolans now lead tours and host tastings so that visitors can get an up-close look at how Noboleis's wines—such as the barrel-fermented vidal blanc—are produced without tickling the grapes. The indoor and outdoor grounds also regularly host events that range from weddings to live music performances.