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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.

If you’re thinking this blog post is about education, you will probably have to go somewhere else, because College of the Ozarks, or more popularly called Hard Work U, is not just a place of learning. College of the Ozarks is a work-study college, so none of the students pay tuition; they earn tuition through 15 hours of campus work each week. But never fear, the campus has a lot to offer tourists as well!

Campus Agriculture

After you enter the “gates of opportunity,” I recommend you visit the dairy farm. Students who run the farm get up early every morning and milk the cows around 5 am and then again at 5 pm. If you’re there around those times you’ll learn about the cow milking process. Across from the milking area is the tractor museum. Here you can see all of the equipment they have used over the years and learn a thing or two about farming. The farm is completely open for tours; all you have to do is ask one of the students. Make sure they take you to see the baby calves!

Next to the dairy farm are the greenhouses. Stop and smell the flowers where students grow their prize winning orchids, along with other plants and vegetables. You can purchase the orchids any time, and on Fridays, you can visit the farmers market where vegetables, flowers, meats, and other student made products are available for purchase. Anything that anyone purchases here goes to help students to pay for their education!

The rustic looking building is the mill. The College locally outsources different grains and grinds them right here in the mill. Chock-full of history and artifacts, the mill has a lot of information about the early Ozark period. They also make baskets by hand and linens with the loom. Everything they make is available for purchase, along with some of the meats that the campus raises, butchers, and processes themselves!

On the “sweeter” side of campus you’ll find the fruitcake and jelly kitchen! Here you will see students making the campus famous fruitcakes and apple butter, along with tons of different jellies. Never tried fruitcake? Well you will have an opportunity to here!

Chapel, Point Lookout, and Ralph Foster Museum

Right next to the fruitcake and jelly kitchen is the Williams Memorial Chapel. This architecturally gorgeous building with its stained glass windows makes a great place for worship and weddings. Services are at 11 am every Sunday.

Across from the chapel is the “Point Lookout.” This scenic overlook looks over the lovely Lake Taneycomo, city of Branson, and Ozark Mountains. A beautiful sight to behold in the fall when the leaves are changing colors!

I saved the best for last; The Ralph Foster Museum! This three-story museum has a bit of everything for everyone. Full of artifacts from the college and Ozarks, its highlights include a gun collection and the famous Beverly Hillbilly’s car!

As you can see there is lots to do here! After you spend the afternoon here, don’t forget to visit the Keeter Center for dinner, or just coffee and ice cream.

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!