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 For all the foodies out there who are looking for a great meal for less, come visit Branson! We have some of the most excellent places to eat in Branson MO that offer their best meals for those on a budget.


Billy Bob’s Dairly Land

This highly praised burger joint is a shining spot in Branson. Locals and tourists agree that it has one of the yummiest burgers around. The friendly staff makes sure to accommodate patrons and food comes out quick. Kids will love Billy Bob’s Dairy Land and parents will love the prices too! Get your diner fix here while on a budget.


White River Fish House

White River Fish House has quality seafood and sights for a great price! In addition to delicious Mahi Mahi and a fish and chips dish, the restaurant offers homestyle meals like a homemade sweet cornbread and fresh rice and vegetables. The restaurant sits on the White River, offering lovely waterfront views, and the décor provides a rustic ambiance perfect for the river view.


Billy Gail’s Café

This well-known restaurant has a breakfast menu to kill for! The Blueberry Pancakes are a favorite and highlights their whole pancake menu, which boasts pancakes as large as the plate they’re served on! For dinner, order the homemade Chicken Fried Steak or an old fashion burgers and fries combo. You won’t be disappointed with Billy Gail’s Café, and neither will your wallet!


Rocco’s Pizza

Rocco’s Pizza creates New York style pizza perfect for any occasion. The family owned business offers a variety of dishes, including everything from lasagna or Italian beef pizza to Hawaiian style pizza and zucchini bread. The prices and service at Rocco’s are great, and many locals agree that it’s the best pizza in Branson. Make sure you don’t miss out!


Places to Eat in Branson MO: Baba’s Burgers & Gyros

When you’re looking for an inexpensive bite, look no further. An American and Greek diner, Baba’s Burgers and Gyros deliver on both fronts! You can order a unique elk or buffalo burger or a gyro with some of the softest and freshest pita, topped with meat and homemade Tzatziki sauce. The owners and staff will treat you kindly and you may walk away claiming to have had one of the best gyros or burgers of your life!

Don’t be fooled; great food doesn’t have to cost you much! Come to Branson and find out for yourself! Contact us today for more information about visiting Branson and its wonderful restaurants.

W.E. Nunan’s Specialty Foods

Since I work just up the hill from Downtown Branson and deal with the traffic going to and from the office during the summer months, I very rarely venture across Business 76 during this hectic time of year. Yesterday, right before the busiest weekend in Branson, my husband and I decided to do just that and enter the Forbidden Zone for locals in our search of a Blu-Ray player compatible with our out-dated surround sound system. I’m sure others will identify with this syndrome which I call Nonsensical Thiftitus. Our 5+ year old Blu-Ray player bit the dust and instead of buying a new one, my husband feels the necessity to scour the pawn shops and thrift stores for another one that will work with the speakers that are older than the player, and possibly time, itself. We will continue this fruitless quest until I finally break down and buy a new system. Inevitably, two weeks after this purchase, while searching for another technological antique that has gone haywire, we will come across exactly what we had been looking for.

But I digress. While strolling from Lightning Pawn toward Branson Pawn, we passed W.E. Nunan’s Specialty Foods, whose opening I remembered from a recent Chamber of Commerce announcement and decided to stop and take a look. What we found inside was delightful! There were unique gifts sprinkled throughout the shop but the meat counter drew my attention immediately. All the meats are made and smoked in-house, including boudin, brats, summer sausage and chocolate-covered bacon. We sampled the boudin which packed a little kick but was not too spicy to cover up the great taste. Since we had just planned on picking up a burger or something to take home for dinner, we decide to get a couple apple brats instead. At $1.99 each, you can’t beat the price at any fast food factory. We took home a jar of Apple Salsa too which complimented the brats superbly. Oh, in addition to traditional salsa, they also have pineapple salsa and bacon salsa. Wait, let me say that again with all the respect and emphasis it deserves – BACON SALSA!!!! There are a variety of barbeque sauces, jellies and jams, including a concoction called Frog Jam, which I forgot to ask the owner about but will certainly remember to ask next time I go.

If you’re looking for something a little different to try or to take home to friends, stop in and check out this new Branson business. The prices are definitely affordable, the owners are friendly, the food is good and you can’t go wrong with bacon!

Black Horse Pub – Hollister, Mo

This Sunday April 26th, The Black Horse Pub in historic downtown Hollister, Mo presents The Smoke Off 2015 Competition

BBQ Buffet starting at 1pm, Judging will be 2-4pm. All-U-Can-Eat $15

All day streetside fun with live music, drink specials and giveaways at 24 Downing Street, Hollister, Mo.

Pick up one of the free Branson Daily Independent newspapers around town to see the above picture more clearer!!

Every day, Branson honors the veterens who fought for our freedom through shows and activities. This memorial day, Branson will give an extra special thanks to our veterans through many area events. We are still digging up upcoming branson events so check back as the holiday gets closer.


3. Shop the Outlet Malls & Branson Landing

The upcoming 3 day Memorial holiday weekend always brings shopping sales with it. This year is no different. From May 22-25 you’ll find many of the shopping malls and outlet stores in the area hosting sidewalk sales and specials. I recommend you start your spree at Tanger Outlets where you’ll find many name brand outlet stores. The Shoppes at Branson Meadows will likely be having big sales as well. As a bonus, you can catch an afternoon movie at the cinema too. Last but not least, you’ll find plenty of shopping, restaurants, and music downtown at The Branson Landing.


2. Silver Dollar City Bluegrass and BBQ Festival

The premier Branson area theme park Silver Dollar City always has something cooking. This memorial holiday you’ll find great American BBQ and Bluegrass music! This all-you-can eat BBQ fest takes place everyday from May 7-25 after 3pm in the Reunion Hall. Be sure to check the aformentioned link for their Bluegrass Music schedule as well.


1. Fireworks!

Who doesn’t like food, fireworks, and fun? Big Cedar Lodge and The Chataeu on the Lake will both be celebrating the weekend with music, food, children’s events, and a memorable evening of fireworks. Both events are open to the public so don’t miss out!

Need lodging this Memorial weekend? Visit Sunset Nightly Rentals and choose from 100 different vacation rentals spread across the Ozarks!


Only in Branson, MO, One of my favorite sandwiches, the New York Club!

You can pick up this $7.75 sub with chips & pickles at East Coast Subs located at 2797 Hwy 248. (Out towards the old Kirby & Mel Tillis theatres).  Turkey, ham, bacon, American cheese, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, with Dijon Mustard on a homemade toasted roll. The bread is so yummy! Try one of their many other subs!

Open from 11-5, M-Saturday. Call ahead 417-334-2601


I love this Crave Food Truck! Located in Hollister, across from the Walgreens in the parking lot of Home & Décor. Fresh, local food. Look for the red picnic tables. Open from 11am – 2pm, M-F. There are 3 lunch selections at just $8.00 each.

Vasken’s is a Mediterranean Delicatessen with a decidedly International flavor


McDonalds on Vacation? I’ll Pass!

Let’s face it – You can have lunch at McDonalds or Subway at home. Why not lunch at an eatery unlike one you’ll find just about anywhere else? Vasken’s Deli is different from any delicatessen I’ve ever been to. Although they have common items found in every deli, Vasken’s is a Mediterranean Delicatessen with a decidedly International flavor, and the offerings give evidence to that fact. Gyros, Falafel, Reubens, Humus, Pita Pizzas, Hearty Soups, Fresh Salads, Baklava, and other delectable pastries are what await you at Vasken’s. If you are on a special diet, you might be surprised at the selection of gluten-free and sodium restricted products for sale.


Locals know Best

Since Vasken’s is very popular with Branson locals, weekdays are busy. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy lunch, because you’ll probably have to wait to place your order, and then wait to get it filled. The upside is that everything is prepared fresh when you order it, and they have a wonderful selection of international foods in their market area to browse through while you wait for your order. You’ll find imported soft drinks, Kalamata olives, Curry Paste, Tahini Sauce, Capers, Olive Oils, Stuffed Grape Leaves, spices, grains, pastas, many types of canned sauces, and kosher items.


Mediterranean Flavor

Among the more popular selections at the deli are the Gyros, Falafel, Reuben sandwiches, and Soups. My personal favorite is the traditional Lamb and Beef Gyro. Instead using just sour cream or some sort of ranch sauce (like many American restaurants), Vasken’s employs a traditional Greek Tzaziki sauce (made with sour cream, garlic, mint, and cucumbers). It’s the bomb! Occasionally I go for a little more heat and get the Firehouse Gyro, which has spicy giardiniera vegetables and tahini sauce added. My wife loves the Reuben sandwich, which is made with very lean corned beef, and is a little less soggy than most restaurants’ version.

Vasken’s Deli is located at 3200 Gretna Road, near The Factory Shoppes at Branson Meadows. Being off of the strip, means it is easy to get to and parking is ample. If you would like to preview the their offerings, then take a look at the Vaskin’s menu. If you’d like to avoid the crowds, here are a few suggestions. Be there at 11am – the real crowds don’t start until about 11:30am. Go on Saturday, since many Branson locals go there during their lunch hour, Saturdays are a little less busy. Place a carry-out order – they start taking phone orders at 10am to start picking up at 11am, and there is a convenient front case and register to pick up the carry-out orders. Vasken’s Deli has limited hours of operation. The deli is only open from 11am to 6pm, and is closed Sundays. Therefore, Vasken’s is the perfect lunch stop while you are in Branson.

Food is essential for life, and it’s essential for having a good vacation. Good food with family and friends can lead to some of the most memorable moments a group can share. When you’re away from home and out of your element, you want to be sure to spend money on something enjoyable. Thankfully, Branson has plenty of delicious options to offer for many hungry travelers. From steaks to seafood, there is a lot of culinary finesse in this wonderful town.

But, I’m not here to talk about those dishes. While steak is nice and fish is wonderful, there is a group of people who have no interest in those things. Almost a year ago, I made the choice to stop eating meat, and that meant I had to use prior knowledge of this town to find restaurants that I could enjoy. And, thankfully, Branson steps up to the plate and bats marvelously. For vegetarians coming to the area, don’t worry, because this is my mission for today: to guide you to the tastiest meat-free options Branson has to offer! Don’t fret, because there are plenty.


Thai Thai Cuisine right Off the Branson Strip

Something every vegetarian learns quickly is that stepping out of their own cultural norm can sometimes be necessary to find good eating options. If you’ve never tried Thai food, now is a great time to give it a shot! Make a trip to Thai Thai Cuisine, located right off the Branson Strip, and get ready for a flavor explosion! One of the best parts of Thai Thai is almost all their dishes have an option of adding meat or tofu, which removes the sometimes awkward “special instructions” process of ordering. Their ingredients are superb and fresh, making every dish a wonderful experience. For those that like a kick of robust flavor, try the Phad Thai. With peanuts and a tangy sauce, it’s a great dish that’s super filling, with or without meat! If you’d rather go a more subtle, mellow route, the Phad Woon Sen is a great pick! At Thai Thai, there’s something everyone can enjoy, vegetarians and meat lovers alike.


Vasken’s Deli for Mediterranean

And now, a trip to a very different part of the culinary world: the Mediterranean! Vasken’s Deli is a precious gem, hidden away off of Gretna road, that serves all kind of yummy deli sandwiches and wraps. They have lots of great vegetarian friendly options, my favorite being their falafel. Their homemade tahini is absolutely delicious and the perfect condiment for the wrap… or practically anything else! It’s just that good! There are many other options for veggies, including hummus sandwiches and meat-free paninis. If you have a sweet tooth, Vasken’s also sells many pastries and sweets, so make sure to give them a look. See our In depth Vaskin’s Review for more information!


Dobyn’s Dining Room at the Keeter Center

If you want a super classy dining experience, head on over to Dobyn’s Dining Room at the Keeter Center. A part of College of the Ozarks, there’s a very special quality to this restaurant: almost all their ingredients are straight from the campus, grown and collected by students of the college. If it’s not directly from the campus, it’s outsourced locally. So, not only are you eating deliciously healthy and fresh meals, you’re helping a business that prides themselves in a smaller carbon footprint and supporting local businesses. Their options are plentiful for vegetarians, but I have one recommendation that stands above the rest: the Vegetable Garden Sandwich. Truly one of the best sandwiches I’ve had, the eggplant and red peppers are so flavorful and are complemented perfectly by the provolone and portabella mushrooms. After taking one bite, it was hard to keep my jaw from dropping at such amazing flavor! Just writing about it makes me want to order another one right now. There’s one thing to know about eating at the Keeter Center, though, and that’s that reservations are highly recommended. You can reserve online at

Sometimes finding food you can enjoy in a place you’re not familiar with can be difficult, especially when you’ve cut out an entire food group! But, it’s not impossible, and locals like me will always be around to help! Now it’s time to make your own memories of Branson, but make sure to load up on tasty meals before you do… You’ll need energy for your fantastic vacation, after all!


Cold Weather Won’t Matter

How often does Mother Nature disrupt your vacation plans? Maybe I’m just unlucky, but I’ve never had a vacation with utopia like weather every day. When your inevitable, unseasonably cold or wet vacation day arrives, head over to Castle Rock’s indoor water park for a slippery fun time without breaking the bank.

Before reading on, let this slideshow share my family experience!


The Price is Right

As a parent of twin 8 yr old boys, I am always on the lookout for value attractions. Castle Rock Water Park certainly falls into this category. At $15 per swimmer, a family of 4 can spend the entire day splashing down the slides, floating the lazy river, or swimming laps in the swimming pools. If you’re a parent that prefers to sit out and play lifeguard, your ticket as a non-swimmer will only run $5. Children 2 years and under are free. Don’t let the price fool you though, the park is not only a blast, it’s well maintained, clean, and safe.


Large Water Slides

There are 2 large water slides in the park with a minimum height requirement of 42 inches. Long, concrete, stairways complete with hand railings ascend above the main level to the slide entrances.

For the first slide, you’ll grab a required, inflatable tube before your short hike to the top. The slide itself is completely covered and winds around at a very gradual slope and concludes with a steepening plunge into a large landing pool. Because it is fully enclosed, it’s a dark ride. This one is a personal favorite of my boys. They’ve appropriately named it the “cave slide.”
The second slide doesn’t require an inflatable tube. Compared to the first slide, the slope makes for a slightly faster ride initially with a drop in speed at the conclusion. The overall slide speed is definitely tied to the weight of the rider. If you’re a 6 foot 4 inch adult, you’re gonna build up speed before the final plunge. As an observer, you won’t want to miss the perfect photo/video opportunity behind the thick, splash barrier at the base of the slide (pic in slideshow). Watch out for adults though! Even the splash guard might not fully thwart off their concluding water show.


Kiddie Pool and Slides

Between the two main slides you’ll find an entire area for toddlers. I’m not exactly sure of the water depth, but it can’t be much more than a foot. There are 3 or 4 kiddie slides in the shape of tropical fish, reptiles, and amphibians. I saw children as young as 2 years old (with a parent of course) splashing around. There are also several water falls and a giant, 500 gallon dumping bucket to fully drench your little ones.


Lazy River

There is a giant loft area housing a lazy river. The river is great for both adults and children. You have the choice of swimming tubeless or grabbing a single or double tube for a leisurely float. I must caution adults though; there is an unavoidable waterfall that will soak you each lap. Along with the waterfall, kids will enjoy the unique, mini-bucket dump encountered along the way.


Swimming Pools & Outdoor Area

There are two swimming pools; one outside, one inside. The rectangular, indoor pool has both a shallow and deep end with multiple ladders and steps leading into the shallow end. The pool is handicap accessible by way of a lifting device. You won’t find a diving board, however, so you’ll have to save your twisting, somersaulting, pike dive for the upcoming summer Olympics.

We visited the park in March; therefore, the outdoor area was still closed. As seen in the photo, there is a swimming pool, a kiddie pool, another dump bucket, and 2 kiddie slides. Although there were no lounge chairs out, I suspect there will be once the area opens for the season.


Fuel for the Fire

Kids’ burn energy; lots of it. When its time to drag them away from the slides, you’ll have plenty of food options available to refill their tanks. The restaurant, adjoining the main park with the hotel lobby, has an extensive menu. Pizza, burgers, grilled cheese, pulled pork, and PB&J are just a few of the kids meals you’ll find on the menu. Prices are reasonable too ($10.99 for a 12 inch pizza). You are not restricted to eating in the restaurant. You can bring your meals to one of the many table areas surrounding the water rides so little Johnny can remain barefoot and wet while eating lunch. For early risers, the restaurant also includes a breakfast menu.


Gaming & Gift Shop

One word. Galaga! Wait… 4 words. Galaga and Cruisin USA. Ok. So my age and gaming addiction is showing. I grew up battling the never ending onslaught of galactic bugs and probably spent an entire 401k account on galaga and cruisin USA. I wasn’t a pacman fan, but the popular ms pacman is here too. Along with the aforementioned classics, there’s an air hockey machine, skee ball, a stuffed animal claw machine, and a handful of other arcade games. You won’t find any quarter gouging in this small arcade; 25 and 50 cents a play.


Safety and Lifeguards

Safety is top notch. Even my wife, a recovering helicopter mom, managed to relax while our kids splashed around for hours. There is an entire army of lifeguards on constant patrol. You’ll find them circling the kiddie pools, slides, swimming pools and lazy river. A lifeguard is also camped at the top of each slide policing correct usage of the slides. I also noticed the watchful eye of management ensuring the lifeguards are paying attention. Worth a mention is the chlorine level which is loosely related to safety. As with any public pool, there’s ample chlorine to make your eyes sting. A good thing if you ask me. Nobody wants to spend the remainder of their vacation battling a microscopic bug.

When its time to pack up and leave, you’ll find a rinsing shower right next to a large supply of clean towels. If the kids minded well and didn’t bellyache about leaving, you can grab them an ice cream or chocolate bar from the various vending machines on your way out.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this small, indoor water park to families. It provides enough enjoyment for an entire day. The ticket cost is minimal and the food, video games, and gift shop are priced reasonably.


Location & Lodging

Castle Rock can be found on Green Mountain Drive just off the main Branson Strip (Hwy 76). If you’re looking for lodging close by, check out our Thousand Hills condo rentals located across the street.