While it's easy to find fantastic food in Missouri every day of the week, dining spots across the state put their culinary credentials on display during restaurant week events throughout the year. Many of the events also raise funds for local charities, making it a perfect time to take your taste buds on a food-focused trip in the Show-Me State.
Kansas City: Take your pick from more than 150 dining establishments during Kansas City Restaurant Week. The city's premier dining event is so popular it runs for 10 days, Jan. 10-19. Of course, there's barbecue, but you can find almost any cuisine imaginable including Asian, Italian, Irish, Mexican and more. Kansas City is also famous for its steak houses, and there are plenty of vegetarian options, too. Participating restaurants donate 10 percent of sales to several community organizations.
Clayton: During Clayton Restaurant Week, Jan. 13-19, more than 20 of the city's best dining spots offer a special three-course menu for a set price. Savor steak, seafood, pasta and more during the event. Diners can add "an extra helping" to their check by tacking on $5 or more for Operation Food Search, which provides food and nutrition education to community members in need.
Columbia: Enjoy the college-town vibe during two restaurant week events in Columbia where you'll find a lot more than pizza and burgers – although those are great, too. Restaurant Week Winter 2020, Jan. 20-26, will offer special menus and an opportunity to win a gift card when you dine at three or more places. The city hosts a second restaurant week during the summer.
Joplin: Sample the fare in southwest Missouri during JOMO Restaurant Week Jan. 27-Feb. 2. The event celebrates the city's locally owned restaurants and supports the Crosslines Food Pantry. Take a nonperishable food item to any participating restaurant to receive specials and discounts at each location and qualify to win a prize.
Springfield: A variety of eateries will offer lunch, dinner and dessert specials during SOMO Restaurant Week. The city is famous for being the place where cashew chicken was created, but restaurant week is great time to try an array of dishes, including Greek, Korean and Jamaican. The event benefits the Ozarks Food Harvest food bank. Share your best food photo on Instagram with the hashtag #SOMOFoodie and check in at the restaurant you're visiting to qualify for a "food-centric" prize. Check back for 2020 dates.St. Louis: If Italian food is your passion, don't miss Restaurant Week on the Hill. Ten dining establishments in St. Louis' historic Italian neighborhood offer a special three-course prix fixe dinner menu for the event. You can add on an optional donation to your check that goes directly to a local charity making a positive impact in the St. Louis area. Check back for 2020 dates.
St. Louis: The goal of St. Louis Black Restaurant Week is to highlight the "soul, flair and flavor" of African-American owned restaurants. Enjoy a variety of specialties including fried catfish, shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, macaroni and cheese, and fried green tomatoes. Check back for 2020 dates.
St. Louis County: Visit a favorite spot or try someplace new during West County Restaurant Week. More than 20 restaurants showcase their favorite dishes on a three-course prix fixe menu. Dessert offerings include tiramisu, bread pudding and gooey butter cake – a St. Louis tradition. Five dollars from each meal purchased is donated to Friends of Kids with Cancer. Check back for 2020 dates.
Written by Liz Coleman