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In search of Missouri’s ‘Best’ — From Cheeseburgers to Scenic Drives

What constitutes "the best?" Well, like a lot of things, it depends on whom you ask. So, the Missouri Division of Tourism recently conducted an informal Facebook poll where they asked their fans to tell them where to find things like "the best" of everything, from best cheeseburgers to best scenic drives.

As expected, there were a variety of answers, which shows the diversity of Missouri's offerings. So if one of the following spots is something you'd like to check out, hop in the car and take a drive. Missouri is beautiful, no matter what time of year it is, and you just might find "the best" Missouri has to offer.

Blueberry Hill, St. Louis, Missouri

Blueberry Hill, St. Louis, Missouri

The Missouri Division of Tourism's Facebook fans seemed to have a variety of opinions about which of the Show-Me State's eateries offers the best cheeseburger, but Blueberry Hill, in the Delmar Loop in St. Louis earned a couple of mentions. Famous Dave's, which has locations in Branson, Kansas City and St. Joseph, also earned a nomination for having the best burger, as did the Tater Patch in Rolla.

Looking around Missouri, you may also be interested in the burgers at Paddy Malone's Irish Pub, in Jefferson City and Billy Gail's Café, on Route 265 in Branson. (While Billy Gail's is said to serve up a mean burger, the restaurant was, in 2009, honored by a regional magazine for having the best breakfast in the entire 417 area code. The pancakes there are literally fall-off-the-plate huge.)

Missouri is also famous for its breweries, from Anheuser-Busch InBev, in St. Louis, to Schlafly Beer, in Maplewood, to Boulevard Brewing Company, in Kansas City. Our Facebook fans also suggested Springfield Brewing Company, in Springfield and Prison Brews, in Jefferson City. If you're traveling in southeast Missouri, don't forget about Crown Valley Brewing and Distilling Company, outside of Ste. Genevieve.

If wine is more to your liking, Missouri has plenty of brands you might consider "the best" and there's no shortage of opportunities to taste the state's wine, thanks to its five wine trails: the Missouri River Wine Trail, the Hermann Wine Trail, the Route Du Vin, the Ozark Mountain Region Wine Trail, and the Missouri Weinstrasse. For a map of these trails, log onto, select the "Wine Trails" link and then open the map in the drop-down menu.

If you like the eating and drinking establishments Missouri Facebook fans have directed you so far, you might also check out Shakespeare's Pizza, in The District (and near the University of Missouri Campus) in downtown Columbia, or The Pear Tree, a fine-dining restaurant in Bevier. Fan favorites include the steaks and prime rib dinners.

Looking for a relaxing getaway, Facebook fans suggested Lake Springfield Park, and Mark Twain State Park, Stoutsville, which offers scenic views of Mark Twain Lake. And if you're interested in a relaxing drive, one recommendation is to try Highway 14 from Ava to West Plains, particularly in the fall.

If you're looking for "the best" in sweet treats around Missouri, you'll likely hear plenty of debates about chocolates, cakes, cookies, pies and ice cream. In the interest of fairness, it's probably best for you to figure out for yourself which is best (just don't tell your dentist).

  • Central Dairy, in Jefferson City, where a variety of flavors can be heaped on to your cone, in your dish or complement that massive banana split.
  • Café 37, West Plains, which features a mammoth brownie trifle, a generous bread pudding, classic turtle cheesecake and chocolate layer cake.
  • The Blue Owl, Kimmswick, home of fresh-baked pies, cakes, cheesecakes, pastries and candies.
  • Main Street Bakery and Café, Cuba, which is famous for its peanut coffee cake and filled doughnuts.
  • Charmed Cakes and Fine Desserts, in St. Robert, where the focus is on a variety of cake truffles, with flavors ranging from chocolate and coconut to red velvet and chocolate cherry chip.
  • Oooey Gooey Chocolates, Excelsior Springs, where you'll find a variety of cakes, cookies, signature creations and things described simply as "gooey items."
  • Joe's Bakery and Deli, Washington, where the carrot cake is tempting and you'll feel like eating at least two pieces of gooey butter cake. (While you're in Washington, check out the homemade fudge and turtles at The Fudge Shoppe or the toppings on the pie at Cowan's Café, home of the mile-high pie.)

But Missouri doesn't just have some of "the best" food and drinks you'll find anywhere. The state is home to a variety of unique, fun and educational attractions, as well as special events. So, whether you're interested in the presidential history you'll find at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, in Independence; a jaunt down Historic Route 66, which spans from St. Louis to Joplin; or you simply want to listen to a great yarn at an event like the Cape Girardeau Storytelling Festival, you're sure to find it in Missouri.

To find out more on a Missouri destination that's close to home but far from ordinary, or to order a 2010 Missouri Travel Guide, log onto or call 800-519-4800.

Photo by mockstar

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  3. Family-Friendly and Free In Missouri
  4. Missouri Travel Sites Rich in African-American History
  5. Spring is here and so are Missouri’s festivals

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