- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Well, you guys had no problem bombarding our mailbag with all the riches to be found in Columbia, Mo., and College Station, Texas.
Today, we'll focus on what you guys said about Columbia, and there really appear to be some gems that all SEC fans will love to check out when they head into new territory. Friday, we'll check out what everyone said about Texas A&M's home town, so there's still time for Aggies fans to add some last-minute suggestions.
We start things off with two people who are very familiar with what Columbia has to offer:
David Ubben, Big 12 blogger/Mizzou alum, wrote: Glad to see you boys on the SEC blog are following in the Big 12's footsteps. When I saw you were calling out recommendations for Columbia, though, I had to chime in. As a recent alum, I felt a responsibility to introduce these SEC ruffians to their new Midwestern oasis.
First off, the place you'll hear most often is Shakespeare's. It's worth it. Be prepared to wait, but you can get a huge slice for lunch, or get a group of friends and buy a whole pie for dinner.
Shakespeare's is great, but the place I absolutely, positively have to go every time I come to Columbia is Booche's. They're tiny burgers, but some of the best you'll find in this fair land we call America. I can put down 3-4 pretty easily, but bring cash. They don't take cards. By my count, the only burger I've ever had that's better is at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park in New York City.
Flat Branch is another Columbia staple well worth the trip. It's a nice bridge between a nice dinner and a casual dinner. They brew their own beer, so have a taste. If you're adventurous enough, try the green chili beer; it has some spice. I'm personally not a fan, but some swear by it. If you're looking for something a touch nicer, try Murry's in south Columbia. Nice atmosphere and delicious food.
If you want something other than a taste of the Midwest, I can't recommend Bangkok Gardens strongly enough. It's right in the heart of downtown on Cherry St., and you'll have a hard time finding better Thai food anywhere.
As for the nightlife, you'll hear a ton about Harpo's. Me personally, I like The Heidelberg. It's a great place to hang out with friends and on a game weekend, you never know who you'll run into. I'm not crazy about the food, but the rooftop on a nice night is one of the best spots in the entire city.
If you can swing it, try to pay a visit to the rec center on campus. It's absurd. I spent many a day and night playing hoops on the 7,000 courts, and if you've never seen a 40-person hot tub, that's your chance. (Only one of those is an exaggeration.)
Another nice spot? It's probably not great for a game weekend, but if you're in Columbia for more than a night or two, pay Ragtag Cinema a visit.
Hope this helps, and hey, be nice to Mizzou, y'all.
My take: That's a lot, but with my appetite, I'm sure I can squeeze it all in. Growin' boy and all.
James Franklin, Mizzou QB, said: If you like barbeque, there's two places. There's Buckingham's Bar-B-Q and Bandana's Bar-B-Q. I think Bandana's is the best. If you like pulled pork, they have really good pulled pork.
My take: I'm from the South. Barbeque is a must, but I'm picky when it comes to it. James, you will feel the wrath of the SEC blog if you're wrong about these places!
Juan in Papillion, Neb., wrote: Don't let the Nebraska address fool you -- I'm a proud Mizzou grad coming to you with a restaurant recommendation. Whenever my wife and I return to Columbia, The Pasta Factory on Broadway is a mandatory stop. Great food, a beautiful decor, and close proximity to all the watering holes and shops make it a slam dunk. Enjoy yourself and welcome to "the other" Columbia! M-I-Z ...
Matt in Raleigh, N.C., wrote: I'm a proud Mizzou grad. BoCoMo recommendations: Booche's -- best hamburger on Earth. Shakespeare's -- good pizza; outstanding pepperoni. Flat Branch -- fun brewpub. Ask if William Least Heat Moon still hangs out there. Harpo's -- not my kind of place (fratty) but very popular with the older alums. Ask to see the hacksaws beneath the bar that are used for cutting up the goalposts. Broadway Diner -- after covering a night game, this is where you absolutely must eat. Ask for a Super Stretch. Ernie's: best place for breakfast.
My take: Any place that is going to serve me after a night game is music to my ears. Count me in!
Chris in St. Louis, Mo., wrote: I can tell you that many SEC fans will be very impressed with what Columbia, Mo., has to offer. First of all, you can grab some pizza at Shakespeare's pizza, which I am sure most people will recommend. Aside from that, I would suggest getting some wings or a Willie Phillie at Willie's Pub & Pool. Willie's is also attached to the Fieldhouse, these two places were where I spent the majority of my time while in Columbia. After a game, Fieldhouse/Willie's is one of the best places to go to check out the COEDs and hopefully celebrate victories. I would also suggest checking out Shiloh, this is a Columbia staple. Usually very exciting on game days. After a long night of drinking, the one place everyone must go is The Diner to sample a Stretch, the best late-night meal you'll ever have. It is a mess of eggs, hash browns, chili, onions, peppers and more. Anyway, I hope you and the rest of the SEC faithful enjoy your time in Columbia, we look forward to hosting you all very soon.
Jack in Columbia, Mo., wrote: When you're in Columbia, Mo., you definitely need to make it to Booches on 9th Street. A pool hall that serves the best burgers I've ever tasted. Cash only. Notable for the sign in the front that says "Closed Sunday, see you in church." Harpo's at 10th and Cherry is the most iconic bar in town. After big wins, students take the goalposts down and carry them to Harpo's. Shakespeare's Pizza is another must-see. Great pizza, a huge yellow sign that says LIQUOR GUNS AND AMMO, right in the middle of downtown Columbia.
My take: I'm definitely a fan of funny signs. Good food that goes with them is just a plus.
Steve in Kansas City, Mo., wrote: You'll hear from everyone about the main popular spots: Harpos, Shakespear's Pizza, etc. As an alumni, the main places you have to go to are as follows: Broadway Diner, Booches, Gumby's Pizza, and El Rancho.
P. Yarns in St. Louis, Mo., wrote: You're going to hear common answers about where to go in Columbia. Shakespeare's Pizza is probably the most well-known spot (the original location near campus, not the newer locations), and the pizza is fantastic. For burgers, there isn't a better spot in Missouri than Booche's. It's a pool hall where the burgers are served on wax paper and women weren't allowed entry until the late 70s. For chicken wings, go to CJ's. The downtown microbrew is Flatbranch, where the food is good, too. For a bit nicer sit-down meal, look to Addison's, Sycamore, or Bleu (which is changing locations, but I think will be open again by the fall). And if visiting fans can venture to the south part of town, Murray's will deliver an outstanding meal at a great price, and you'll probably get to hear a good jazz trio, as well. Also keep in mind that Columbia is developing a plan for visiting fans which should include a designated tailgate area. Columbia, like Mizzou and it's alums/fans, is very excited about the new home in the SEC!
D.W. in St. Louis Mo., wrote: Homecoming is a very special football tradition at Mizzou for 101 years! It is one of MU's largest events, as well as in the nation. Recently, the University of Missouri's Homecoming celebration was named the best Homecoming in the nation -- the only school to hold such an honor -- and has been named a model Homecoming program, by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Many schools claim to have the first Homecoming celebration in the nation, but Mizzou can claim it was the first Homecoming centered around a football game and has been celebrated for over 100 consecutive years. Kentucky fans will get to experience Mizzou's Homecoming celebration on Oct 26-27th: the largest Homecoming parade in the nation.
Luke in Quincy, Ill., wrote: As an alum of MIZZOU, this would be my recommendation for a perfect football weekend in Columbia to SEC fans. If you get in Friday night for dinner, I would say hit up Flat Branch Pub and Brewing. Their Katy Trail Pale Ale home brew pairs nicely with the burgers and brick oven pizzas. For entertainment that night I'd hit up Penguin Piano Bar, a lot of time the MIZZOU band will come in to play for a bit the night before game day. If game time allows for it on Sat. I'd grab a pizza from Shakespeares (its a Columbia landmark). As for that night I'd grab dinner at Addisons, and the Nachos Bianco are a must. I think they've won appetizer of the year for five years running according to Columbia Magazine. I usually just order them as my meal, they are ridiculously good. After tailgating, the game, and dinner you've got to hit up Harpos and Shiloh for later night drinks. Lastly, before leaving on Sunday Ernie's Café is an absolute must. It's the best breakfast I've ever had, especially the french toast (trust me it's worth the wait, and there will be one).
Daniel in Columbia, Mo., wrote: If you're not hungry or thirsty I still recommend going on walk around downtown and campus. Aside from the numerous parks and local shops, Downtown has a lively progressive feel to it. Columbia is a very accepting and friendly community, as long as your not a Jayhawk. If you decide to go out chances are someone will buy you a drink and welcome you to our city, win or lose. The whole community has really embraced the move to the SEC and is sure to offer a great experience to visiting fans.
Well, you guys had no problem bombarding our mailbag with all the riches to be found in Columbia, Mo., and College Station, Texas.Today, we'll focus on what you guys said about Columbia, and there really appear to be some gems that all SEC fans will love to check out when they head into new territory.