With plenty of outdoor activities, lots of entertainment options, and beautiful weather almost year-round, Branson, Missouri, is a wonderful place to visit. Branson is located in the Ozark mountains and is known as an outdoorsman’s paradise as well as an entertainment mecca. So whether you want to go golfing, fishing, hiking, or see a music show, you’ll be able to do it in Branson. No matter how you choose to spend your time in Branson, you’ll want to check out the dining scene. With tons of restaurants, there are options that should please everyone. Since the weather is beautiful most of the year, Branson has quite a few spots that offer outside dining options. Here are our top picks for outdoor dining.
Note: Some information in this piece was obtained during a sponsored press trip, but all recommendations are my own.
1. Little Hacienda
Little Hacienda is a modern Mexican food spot that serves especially good chips and salsa. There’s just nothing better, especially when the chips are fresh and the salsa is on point. We found both at Little Hacienda. Salsa can be tough to get right. Too runny and it won’t cling to the chip. Too thick and it overpowers the chip. Little Hacienda’s is just right.
In addition to the scrumptious chips and salsa, Little Hacienda offers a full menu of Mexican specialties including ceviche, which is a dish that not a lot of places offer. We are ceviche connoisseurs and always enjoy trying this dish when we see it. Every chef puts their own spin on ceviche and Little Hacienda was no different!
I recommend enjoying a drink at the gorgeous bar inside the large dining room, then taking the party outside to the comfortable patio area. There’s plenty of room for the whole group to spread out and enjoy the weather and the splendid views! Little Hacienda is located at 3375 Little Pete’s and is open 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. 7 days a week.
2. Osage Restaurant At Top Of The Rock
Would you like an absolutely glorious view while relaxing in an upscale yet homey dining area? Look no further than Osage Restaurant at Top of the Rock. Osage restaurant is a culinary and visual treat! The rustic interior, complete with the warm and cozy ambiance of the fireplace, lends a comfortable and homey feeling to the large dining space.
We enjoyed the stunning views of the rolling hills, the golf course, the chapel, and the lake. There may not be a more picturesque place in all the Ozarks. The Osage restaurant offers a variety of upscale dinner entrées including aged steaks, pasta, chicken, and more. In addition to the mains, they offer creative sides and starters. The wedge salad I selected with my entrée was the best wedge salad I’ve ever had! The buttermilk fried chicken was incredible as well! It’s true that the Osage is on the pricey side of things, but the food is so mouthwateringly good, the service on point, and the views so spectacular, that it’s really one of those things you must experience.
Pro Tip: Go to the Osage near sunset in order to watch the nightly sunset celebration. The celebration, complete with the firing of a canon as well as Scottish bagpipers, pays homage to the end of another beautiful Ozark day!
3. Chateau Grille
The Chateau Grille, located inside the sprawling Chateau Lake Resort Spa & Convention Center, offers upscale dining with a gorgeous view. While not technically outdoor dining, you’ll feel as if you’re outdoors because of all the huge windows that offer expansive views of Tablerock Lake. Diners enjoy a grand buffet that changes daily. Some buffet menu items include steak, chicken, and seafood, all expertly prepared using organic and locally grown products whenever possible. You’ll also enjoy a fantastic wine list as well as a full bar menu for those all-important adult beverages! The restaurant is currently open for breakfast and dinner Wednesday–Sunday.
4. Silver Dollar City
If you’re in the mood for some serious fun with your meal, head over to Silver Dollar City and explore! Silver Dollar City is one of the top-rated amusement parks in the entire country and for good reason. It’s really much more than your typical amusement park. And one place it really shines is the wide variety of food available at the park. There are a ton of different options, most of it down-home, country-type food, and all of it is excellent!
Rivertown Smokehouse offers incredible barbecue with all the tasty sides you’d expect, including a really good smokey mac and cheese. The outdoor seating area at Rivertown is located right by the new Mystic River Falls water ride, so you can enjoy your meal while watching folks come down the falls. It’s fun to hear them holler and see how wet they get!
If you don’t want a sit-down meal, there are quick options for takeaway food on almost every corner within the park. And, with plenty of places to grab a bench, you won’t have to worry about where to enjoy your snack. For a truly unique snack on the go, try the tater twist. This simple snack consists of sliced potatoes that have been fried and spiraled around a stick. If you want a little protein with your snack, try the twisted tater dog that includes a yummy hot dog, also served on a stick surrounded by fried potatoes.
Pro Tip: Make sure you get a loaf of the well-known and delicious Clara Belle’s Cinnamon Bread that Silver Dollar City is famous for.
5. The Paddlewheel
Looking for some music with your meal? The Paddlewheel, located on Lake Taneycomo, may be just what you’re looking for. Along with a beautiful view, enjoy outdoor firepits, big screen TVs, and lots of live entertainment. Since you’re on the water, why not go for one of its seafood inspired dishes like the pub fish and chips? And for the perfect outdoor adult beverage, try its twist on the classic margarita! Its house Marla-Rita is made with peach vodka, triple sec, sour, and a splash of orange juice.
The Paddlewheel offers a unique setting at Branson Landing on Lake Taneycomo. And did I mention that the Paddlewheel is Branson’s only floating lake restaurant? The folks at the Paddlewheel know how to have a good time. It boasts live entertainment several nights per week including awesome live bands and DJs, plus the ever-popular open mic nights. The Paddlewheel has become so popular in fact, that it is now known as the largest nightclub in Branson.
6. Andy B’s
Andy B’s is a unique full-service restaurant and much, much more. Located on Branson Landing Blvd, Andy B’s has a large and lively outdoor patio perfect for enjoying a cold drink from its full bar menu while people-watching along the boulevard. The menu at Andy B’s boasts all kinds of goodies including appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, main dishes, pizza, and salads. Consider trying a tasty Nashville hot — a sandwich consisting of fried chicken, Nashville hot sauce, and pickles all served on a brioche bun.
Or maybe you’re in the mood for something adventurous like the unwrapped crab rangoon dip. Consisting of lump crab, cream cheese, onions, and sweet Thai chili, it’s hard to go wrong. Once you’ve finished your meal outside, there’s plenty to do inside here. It just so happens that Andy B’s is home to a nine-lane bowling alley! There’s also an arcade and a virtual reality experience onsite. If that doesn’t appeal, how about trying your luck escaping from the escape room? In the mood for karaoke? You can sing your heart out at Andy B’s! The options here are plentiful.
7. Big Whiskey’s American Restaurant & Bar
Connected to the Hilton Hotel at the Branson Landing, Big Whiskey’s American Restaurant & Bar offers up classic American food, and you guessed it, whiskey! Relax and unwind with a quick snack on its expansive patio. Or enjoy an appetizer and drink during its weekday happy hour from 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. With a full food menu and over 120 whiskey selections, there’s a lot to choose from. Salads are always a favorite of mine and Big Whiskey’s has quite a large selection of greens to choose from — how to decide?! Salads are just the tip of the iceberg, actually, because the menu is gigantic and includes many different main dish options including burgers, pasta, wings, and steaks. And, for brunch lovers, you can enjoy brunch with bottomless cocktails, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. on weekends.
Branson is noted for its entertainment venues and food services: