Starlighters' owner Laura Hawkins and Johnny Lambert draw upon decades of dance experience to preside over a troupe of professional performers who lead hoofers of all ages through ballet, tap, hip-hop, jazz, and ballroom moves. In weekly 75-minute sessions, tap classes let percussive pedagogues introduce steps from classic Broadway styling and informal Morse code. Ballet aficionados lead students through five basic positions and into advanced on-point pirouettes, and modern-dance coaches fuse Afro-Cuban, Latin, and lyric styles. Solo coryphées or couples in ballroom-dancing sessions learn to perform basic steps and advanced lifts while tracking progress in studio mirrors. Dancers twirl and leap in two modern studios with sprung hardwood flooring that minimize stress on joints and maximize envy from regular hardwood tree houses.
At Lola’s Pastries & Eatery, the aromas of fresh, homemade pastries waft through the air as passionate cooks craft sandwiches from Grandma Lola’s original recipes. The breakfast menu is populated with a slew of made-from-scratch delights, including Lola’s Irresistible cinnamon rolls ($2.39) and coffeecake that douses succulent crumbles of moist cake in fresh-roasted coffee ($2.19). Fresh-baked jumbo muffins fill opponents’ mouths during heated morning bird-watching debates ($1.79), and on-the-go breakfasts, such as the heart-healthy muffin and fruit trio paired with custom-blended, locally roasted coffee ($4.39), facilitate efficient early-morning existences.
When Travis Dickey opened the first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in 1941, the menu offered beef brisket, pit hams, barbecue beans, potato chips, drinks, and that’s all. By focusing on perfecting the flavors of a few dishes, Travis was able to increase quality, and, ultimately, customers. Patrons were so enamored of the food that the restaurant eventually expanded into a nationwide franchise, allowing Americans all over to wear badges made of barbecue sauce. Dickey’s has been passed on to Travis’s sons, but not much else has changed—the quality meats are still seasoned and smoked onsite, and except for the addition of spicy cheddar sausage in 2011, the menu has remained largely the same for the last 50 years.
Regional meats ensure that the most succulent Texas-style chopped beef brisket, old-recipe polish sausage, and fall-off-the-bone pork ribs make it to tabletops. Sides such as mac 'n' cheese and green beans with bacon continue to enhance feasts with an extra punch of homestyle tastiness. Each meal comes complete with complimentary ice cream, soft rolls, and dill pickles.
Named both for the bakery's 21 flavors and as a nod to the owners' son, who has Down syndrome—a disorder stemming from an extra copy of the 21st chromosome—TwentyOne Cakes crafts confections of every size within its sky-and-toffee-hued café. The lineup of seasonal flavors, such as german chocolate, gingerbread, and maple bacon, takes on colorful frosting and chatty personalities as it transforms into full cakes, three sizes of cupcakes, and bite-size cake balls. The eatery's brigade of tables mingles with a pair of comfy armchairs to give patrons respite during sugar comas, and free WiFi keeps brains busy in between sips of coffee or tea. As part of the company's mission to bring acceptance and awareness of individuals with Down syndrome, 10 percent of each purchase at TwentyOne Cakes goes to benefit Down Syndrome Group of the Ozarks.
Sausage rolls, savory meat pies, and lamingtons—chocolate-dipped and coconut-dusted sponge cake—are a few of the treats available at Walkabout Coffee Shop, a café dedicated to authentic Australian snacks and culture. The spot's friendly baristas also brew single-origin coffees, blend smoothies, and concoct specialty lattes and mochas. Aboriginal-influenced decor lends the coffeehouse a funky, relaxed ambiance, and musicians fill the space with their melodies during open-mic nights.
A muscle car squeals into a parking space by the patio, Cruisin’ USA Frozen Custard’s neon sign reflected in its polished red chrome. At the umbrella-clad tables, families eating hot dogs and couples sharing banana splits pause to admire the ride. Though this scene seems straight out of the 1950s, it’s commonplace on summery Saturday nights in Nixa. Cruisin’ USA Frozen Custard regularly hosts concerts and fills its parking lot with vintage cars, motorcycles, and souped-up hot rods. Customers dropping by can enhance the classic American scene with classic American eats, including sandwiches, malts, custard-based concretes, and deep-fried El Caminos.