After living in Columbia for several years now, I would have to say that downtown is my favorite part about Columbia — mostly because of the food selection. Whether you’re in the mood for cheap bar food, an upscale dinner or a veggie burger, there’s tons of options. The festival will feature incredible food, of course (we are the Roots N Blues N BBQ festival after all), but if you’re around CoMo for a few days before or after the weekend, check out my top five favorite places to eat in the area.
An age old tradition for natives and students alike, Booches has become a staple over its tenure in downtown Columbia. The menu is simple, yet satisfying: fresh burgers, crisp potato chips and draft beers. Established in 1884, this nostalgic burger joint has had its doors open for over 125 years. On top of that, it has been honored by many organizations and publications, including USA Today’s “Top 25 Burgers in the Nation” in 2000. It’s definitely worth a stop in for lunch while you’re in town.
Fan Favorite: Legendary burgers. Enough said.
If you’re anything like me, you love a good brunch spot. Cafe B is that and so much more. It’s easy to feel at home with their comfortable decor and mix-and-match coffee mugs. Their menu has an array of options — from burritos to salads, vegetarian to gluten free. On top of their delicious menu, Cafe B offers a “unique, accessible and safe space for all of Columbia and for the many traveling poets, musicians and doers and makers of the world.” If you’re looking for some breakfast before you head over to Stephens Lake Park, this is one of the best options.
Fan Favorite: Benedict and a Mo-Mosa!
A favorite for vegans and non-vegans alike, Main Squeeze specializes in delicious, healthy meals sans meat. The all-window storefront, yellow walls, handmade seat covers and friendly staff make this dining experience uncomparable. They pride themselves on their menu consisting of the highest quality and most sustainable food possible. Conveniently located on 9th Street, Main Squeeze is definitely worth the hype.
Fan Favorite: The Works Bowl with a Lavender Lemonade.
A local tavern located on the edge of downtown and campus, “the Berg” is known for good food, good service and good company. Their quick service and welcoming crew, on top of their unbeatable deals make this restaurant a definite Top 5 favorite. The menu is perfect for lunch or late night drinks with friends. Pro tip: Buy one, get one free appetizers from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight.
This is the ideal place for you to visit when you’re in Como. Originally located just west of downtown, the red seats, vintage decorations and old-timey bar give it the nostalgic ‘diner’ feel we all love. On any given day, you’ll see a variety of customers: from freshman at Mizzou to downtown professionals on their lunch break. Being open 24 hours from Wednesday morning to Sunday afternoon, there’s never a wrong time for a fresh cup of coffee and an order of pancakes. Plus, they’re open late. So if you’re looking for a post-festival bite, write this one down.
Fan Favorite: The Stretch— a crazy concoction of a dish, complete with hashbrowns, chili, eggs, cheddar cheese, red onions, green peppers