Today’s destination, Branson, MO, has been called “Las Vegas — Family Style.” It’s located only about a half hour from where I live. Though as a kid I loved to go to Silver Dollar City (“Fire in the hole!!!”) and to White Water in Branson, it’s become more and more of a resort town, and a favorite vacation spot for retirees — who come by the busload. So I was pleasantly surprised to find some hidden gems that will give me a reason to go back again.
5291 State Hwy 265, Branson, MO 65616 (417) 338-8883
You’ve got to see this place to believe it. Owned by Bill & Gail Blong, this cafe is located in a log cabin with some old gas pumps out in front. It seems to be in the middle of nowhere and yet we had to park way down the street because there were so many cars. It’s incredible how far out of the way people will drive when the food is good. And it is! Billy Gail’s is a favorite of the locals and is famous for its fresh ingredients, friendly service, and over-the-plate pancakes as big as pizzas.
2. Tanger Outlet Malls
Need I say more? Ann Taylor, Loft, Banana Republic … It’s a shopping haven. (If you like that sort of thing!)
3. Dick’s 5 and 10
103 W. Main St., Branson, MO 65616 (417) 334-2410
Located in historic downtown Branson, this odds-and-ends shop has been around for nearly 50 years. You’ll find anything and everything you never thought you needed. www.dicksoldtime5and10.com.
120 N. Sycamore, Branson, MO 65616 (417) 335-4765
Just down from Dick’s 5 and 10, Rocky’s offers great Italian food in a casual, softly-lit atmosphere. We got in on the lunch menu (served til 4pm). The lasagna and Rocky’s salad (with artichokes) were especially good.