Local Grown Restaurants to Visit on Valentine's Day


With Valentine's Day just around the corner, it's right time you nag your darling husband (or wife) into treating you to a well deserved night out. If you're local, you've made it through the cold of January and hopefully fought off the flu bug epidemic.  Dust off your fine shoes, throw on your Sunday best, ladies smooth on some lipstick; gents dab on some cologne. Here are a few of my favorite Local Grown Restaurants to visit on Valentine's Day. Most of these venues come with on site lodging to boot, so they are worth the short scenic drive. AUTHORS NOTE: I have been to all of these places, some frequently. These are my opinions. I did not include chains, because this blog is about supporting local, like I did here. The restaurants on this post are within less than an hour drive from West Plains, MO.  

Rockbridge Trout and Game Ranch

If luck is on your side and you have a sitter who will keep the kids overnight, plan to visit Rockbridge Trout and Game Ranch (1 hour from West Plains). If you don't get the opportunity to spend your Valentine's Day at Rockbridge, come back when the weather is nice and bring the whole family. There is something for everyone! Aside from fishing and hunting, there are hiking trails, an old mill turned bar (temporarily closed), horseback riding, both casual and first class lodging, and of course the well known restaurant.


Valentine's Day Specials-


Dinner for two

Pick two for $38 (includes garden salad and fresh bread)

Choice 1: Pork Loin Kabob. Served on top of wild rice.

Choice 2: Rainbow Trout Filet (choose Rockbridge Trout- cedar plank seasoned and grilled or Pecan Crusted Trout- lightly battered then rolled in crushed pecans and grilled)

Jumbo Bread Shrimp Platter- Rockbridge seasoned jumbo breaded shrimp served with a side of creamy garlic mashed potatoes.

Upgrade with lodging

Standard Room $50, Deluxe $70, and Suite $85. Check the Rockbridge website for more information on lodging.

***If you plan to order off -special, I highly recommend the Cold Smoked Trout. Whether fish is your thing or not, I can assure you this will be an appetizer you will enjoy. Top the Wheat Thin cracker with the dill cream cheese, a sliver of trout, and slice of red onion for the perfect combo of flavors. For entrees a favorite is the Trout Almondine or the Fried Chicken. Pair your meal with a fine glass or bottle of wine. We have always been most impressed with the wine selection at this restaurant. There aren't many places where you can get a fine wine like, Opus, by the glass. Cheers!

Make your Valentine's day reservation by calling (417) 679-3619

For more info on Rockbridge Game and Trout Ranch visit their website here.

History buff? Read the history of the Rockbridge Farm here.

Ropers (formerly Cafe 37)

I'm going to relay a story that I admit will make me sound a little mean, but it's message speaks volumes. I read a negative review about Cafe 37, many years ago that could be summarized as this, "they poured me a half a glass of wine and then charged me the price of a full!" It doesn't take a Sommelier to know why I got a kick out of this statement.  Another reviewer stated this, "There was a period of time...when they were {having problems}. Unfortunately, people around here aren't big on second chances unless you are McDonald's." All of that being said, I included this place on my list for a reason. For our recent date nights,  this restaurant is been on our regular rotation. We came here in the past and I can promise you; times have changed. This is why I'm writing this post about it (aka writing home). If you're from a small town, opportunities for a high end dining experience are slim. Consider this: you want to have a nice glass of wine, an artfully crafted meal, quiet conversation (without cries or tantrums from children in the next booth), take your time with your salad and entrees and not feel rushed out to make room for the next customer. This place fits all of that criteria.  This beautiful historic court square building with it's original exposed brick walls, pressed tin ceiling tiles, antique bar, and upstairs opera house (a must see) offers so much in atmosphere. The new chef creates wonderfully delicious entrees (I can personally attest to this).  If any place deserves a second chance, I urge you to make it this one. You won't be disappointed, unless of course you do not know how a proper glass of wine is poured.

I highly recommend you order the Spinach artichoke dip or Caesar salad for starters, then Chicken Pontchartrain (heed with caution its a little spicy); pair with a glass of Jordan Cabernet.

Roper's is located at 37 Court Square in West Plains.

The Chef's Table 

If you want a truly unique experience, unlike anything you'll find in our area, you have to reserve your spot at the Chef's Table at Dawt Mill. Pull up a stool at the Chef's Table and watch as your meal is crafted before you with ingredients grown in the Dawt Mill's own garden.  Chef Ryan's culinary art far exceeds what you'd expect from a small town with the population count under 600. The Chef's Table at Dawt Mill is located in Tecumseh, MO, 40 minutes southwest of West Plains; the last stop on the Norfork River before it joins the Northfork Lake. Last April, our town and local rivers were devastated by what has been called a 1000 year flood. Many homes and resorts were a total loss; some completely swept down river. Dawt Mill was not unscathed. Over the last year, many restorations have been made to the historic Mill and rebuilding of the resort will continue into Spring. Happily, The Chef's Table is open again for business and ready to seat you and your loved one for Valentine's Day. Seating at the chef's table is limited, so everyone has a view of the cooking show. Spots are filling fast and if you miss out, you have to come back another time. I celebrated a birthday here; we filled every seat and had a blast.

Valentine's Weekend (February 16 &17) Specials-

Dinner Specials

Reserve from 5-9 pm $30 per person (limited seating available)

Course 1: Lobster Bisque or House Salad

Course 2: Filet or Fried Chicken to be served with goat cheese and herb whipped potatoes and asparagus

Course 3: Molten Chocolate Cake with raspberries and whipped cream.

Upgrade with Lodging

Stay the night special for $150

*Alcohol and gratuity not included in either special

Image may contain: food

To Make a reservation call: 417-284-3540

More information on Dawt Mill and The Chef's Table visit www.dawtmill.com/dining/the-chefs-table/


La Pastorella

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If you're looking for a nostalgic home cooked meal that will make your belly feel some of the love you hope for on Valentine's Day, go to LaPastorella in Mammoth Spring, Ar. To give you a glimpse of what I mean by "nostalgic", let me paint this picture for you. Terry and Tina operate the restaurant. Terry and the couple's son take the orders and serve the food; Tina does the cooking. Tina is German and she makes her meals just as she made them back home; Jaeger schnitzel, bavarian rork roast, spaetzle, and even liver and onions (they sell out of this in minutes, so don't turn up your nose). Everything on their menu is made from scratch; even the spaetzle is hand rolled.  They will NOT let you order anything to go because they firmly believe it must be enjoyed at the table and not reheated. Everything on the menu is first come first serve; you miss out on the schnitzels, try not to cry.

I wasn't able to reach anyone at the restaurant when I composed this post. They're only open Wednesday through Sunday.  Don't fear, I'll give you my menu recommendations. I wouldn't steer you wrong. Start with the house salad (I kid you not this is the best salad on the planet) topped with fresh garden tomatoes and an authentic German potato salad (trust me you will want potato salad on every salad for the rest of your life). Then order the Jaeger Schnitzel (if you're unfamiliar, this is a breaded pork cutlet) topped with a mushroom sauce and served with a side of their hand-rolled spaetzle dumplings and cranberry chutney. Heed with caution: be prepared to clean your plate. You won't want to leave anything behind, but if you don't care for tomatoes on your salad, plan on scooping them onto your husbands plate. If you leave food behind you will be scolded. I'm not even remotely kidding about this. They do not serve alcohol, but you can bring your own wine as long as it is not opened prior to arrival and it is brought in a bag. They do not seat guests past 7 pm, so arrive early.

Call 870-625-3000 To hear the Valentine's Day menu and make a reservation. Also, be sure and ask them about their B&B. La Pastorella is located on Main Street of Mammoth Spring, Ar 30 minutes from West Plains, MO.

What are your Valentines Day plans?

Which would you choose to visit?

Local restaurants and business owners,

Would you like your business featured like I did for this new coffeeshop ? I would be so happy to do so. Just email me at staufferjamie@icloud.com

Authors note: all pictures provided on this post were taken from the business website.

Local Grown Restaurants for Valentine's Day