Many of the Show-Me State’s topnotch wineries offer dining options beyond the ubiquitous cheese and sausage trays. ‘Food & wine’ is the subject of countless debates, comparisons, TV shows and magazines. But don’t let the so-called experts tell you what you should like. You are the sole judge of what’s good. To help you along that path, VisitMO offers these fine establishments as examples of the ‘food & wine’ available.
Little Hills Winery occupies a structure reminiscent of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Situated beside the brick-paved Main Street in St. Charles, three areas are available for lunch and dinner: the main dining room; the upstairs loft and porch; and the big, tree-shaded patio. They produce a large selection of grape and fruit wines (some are seasonal). The restaurant covers the gamut from burgers and sandwiches to chicken, steaks, pork tenderloin and pasta. The Lobster Ravioli is a specialty. A kids menu is available.
Two miles north of the village of Urich, 20 minutes northwest of Clinton, Red Fox Winery serves lunch Friday thru Sunday, and dinner Friday and Saturday, in a rustic dining room and in the pavilion overlooking the vineyards. The menu is limited and changes often; dinner usually includes slow-roasted prime rib and slow-smoked baby back ribs. Hand-crafted wines range from softly dry to very sweet.
Les Bourgeois Winery's Blufftop Bistro is a fine dining, yet very casual restaurant in Rocheport, 15 miles west of Columbia. Enjoy spectacular, bluff-top views of the Missouri River and countryside. The Bistro offers a full menu of provincial fare for lunch and supper, including fresh seafood, hearty pastas, and meats smoked in-house. They produce more than a dozen estate bottled wines, including port and brut.
Less than 15 minutes west of Camdenton, on a bluff-top above the Big Niangua River, Casa de Loco Winery is the essence of relaxation. Casa offers an outstanding wine selection and made-to-order brick-oven pizzas. Spend the night in one of their rustic, modernized cabins. The large deck overlooking the river is the perfect place to kick back.
In addition to their grape wines, Pirtle Winery is one of Missouri’s top producers of mead – wine made from honey. It is located in Weston, 45 minutes south of St. Joseph. Start with a wine tasting and tour inside a converted circa 1867 German Lutheran Church. After you’ve sampled the wines, head next door to The Vineyards, a four-star restaurant.
Thirty-five miles northwest of Cape Girardeau (four miles south of Patton), Thousands Oaks Winery holds claim to a hand-built, classic European-style wood-fired brick oven, which they use to bake pizza, flatbreads and appetizers. Select from 15-20 estate-bottled wines, including Cherry Bomb, so named because of the huge burst of cherry at the finish.
On a hilltop, just across the Missouri River from Jefferson City, Canterbury Hill Winery & Restaurant has a commanding view from the large, terraced patio. Inside and out, “The Hill” serves a full menu for lunch and dinner. In addition to their own label wines, they offer other Missouri wines, selections from across America, and several craft beers.
Many other Missouri wineries serve a variety of tasty foods, ranging from steak to pizza and cheese to burgers. Our best advice is, visit all 125 to find your favorites. And keep going back, because the menus change with the seasons. Remember, if you want a dry red with fish, or an off-dry white with a well-done KC strip, that’s fine with us ... you are the judge.
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PLEASE NOTE: It is against Missouri law to carry any outside beverages of any kind onto a winery’s property – leave your beer, wine (from other sources), soda and other beverages in the car.