Travelers between Springfield and Branson on U.S. 65 have good reason to make a pit stop in the thriving community of Ozark. Its midwest charm, local restaurants and unique shops combine to create an experience exclusive to the Ozarks, one of the fastest-growing areas in the state.
The Downtown Square
The Ozark Courthouse Square Historic District is quintessential Americana. The historic courthouse sits in the center with local shops and restaurants surrounding it. Iguana Roja Restaurante specializes in contemporary Latin-American dining. The award-winning Lizard King Chicken Wings are a must-try with your choice of four flavors — El Diablo, Strawberry Heat, IgRo Buffalo and Chipotle Agave. Just off the square is The Finley, a historic church turned into a restaurant with a speakeasy hidden in the basement. Dine inside or outdoors in the flower-filled courtyard perfect for cocktail hour.
Antique lovers can head to the section of Ozark known as the “Antiques District”, where antique shops are around every corner. Browse for treasures at Camp Flea Antique Mall + Vintage Market, Keen Eye Antiques, Blue Bird Vintage and others. For food and antiques, Spring Creek Tea Room is an antique shop and elegant lunchtime eatery featuring delicious soups, sandwiches and a variety of mouthwatering cakes and pies.
A visit to Ozark isn’t complete without a visit to the famous Lambert’s Cafe. Look out! The restaurant is known for “Throwed Rolls”, where servers toss the melt-in-your-mouth bread to customers. The hot rolls and sorghum are part of the “pass arounds” that come with a meal, including macaroni and tomatoes, fried potatoes and onions, black-eyed peas and fried okra. The chicken fried round steak, roast beef and barbecue ribs are all popular menu items.
Finley River Park
After a meal at Lambert’s Cafe, you might need a little exercise, and Finley River Park is the perfect place. This picturesque park is a clean and fun destination for anyone looking to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful Ozarks. With lots of space to play and roam, the Finley River Park is perfect for picnics, evening strolls, fishing, paddling and more. The park is home to a number of festivals and activities every year, including the Christian County Fair, the annual balloon glow and the annual Christmas light display.
Ozark Mill at Finley Farms
Photo courtesy of Ozark Mill
Finley Farms in Ozark is the ultimate farm-to-table experience. Visitors can enjoy a meal at the Ozark Mill Restaurant overlooking the Finley River. Opened in September 2021, the menu focuses on seasonal dishes featuring local, sustainable food sources, including 28 types of produce organically grown on-site. Originally built in 1833, The Ozark Mill serves as the heart of Finley Farms. Patrons can also have coffee and explore the “makerspace” at The Workshop and take a farm tour of the grounds.
B & B Theatres Marquee Suites
One of the more unique movie-going experiences the Ozarks has to offer is at the B & B Theatres Marquee Suites. Here, film buffs can relax in plush leather recliners during the movie while being served from a full bar and menu.
Smallin Civil War Cave
Smallin Civil War Cave is a fascinating glimpse into the past. Along with seeing the beauty of the huge cave opening where a spring gushes water year-round and rocks are covered in lush green moss and ferns, guests learn lessons about history, geology, paleontology and nature as they walk on the half-mile paved path that takes them through the cave.
The city of Ozark acquired the Garrison Spring property in 2021 and plans to turn the 9.8 acres of land into a community park. The land will feature trails, a vista point overlooking the springs, and a learning center offering classes on conservation topics. The project will continue developing over the next five years. Learn more about Ozark at OzarkMissouri.com.