I was so excited for us to get our blog up and running because I wanted to share with travelers my familiarization tour of Highway 36 that turned into an onion ring tour.
New to my job with the Missouri Division of Tourism, I was very excited to take some travel writers on a familiarization tour of Missouri Highway 36 along northern Missouri in September 2008. For those who don’t know, Highway 36 is home to many famous faces from Missouri, including Jesse James in St. Joseph and Kearney, James Cash (J.C.) Penney in Hamilton, General John Pershing in Laclede, Walt Disney in Marceline; and Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) in Hannibal. Famous Faces of Missouri was the theme of our tour; little did I know the food would be just as enjoyable as the history.
We began our journey in St. Joseph with dinner at Boudreaux’s Louisiana Seafood & Steak. One of our hosts from the St. Joseph Convention and Visitors Bureau suggested the onion rings as an appetizer and said they were delicious; she was right. With the perfect amount of breading, the perfect amount of onion and just a little kick they were a great way to start an amazing meal.
The next day we headed to Chillicothe (no there isn’t a famous face there), the home of sliced bread, and home to a beautiful old train depot converted into a BBQ joint, Wabash BBQ. Our travel writers were fond of sampling a little bit of everything so our host in Chillicothe had an appetizer sampler platter waiting for us when we arrived. Again, there were onion rings, or what I would call onion straws and these too were amazing. Strips of onions with just the perfect amount of onion, breading and spices. Don’t even get me started on the amazing barbeque because I could go on forever!
That night we had dinner at The Pear Tree Restaurant, in a little town called Bevier, not far from Macon. This father-son run restaurant attracts people from all over to sample their exquisite food. Not only were the onion rings good, but they were also a work of art, stacked in a neat pyramid. These onion rings were also very large, but managed to have the perfect amount of onion and breading.
Our last stop was in Hannibal with dinner at TJ’s Supper Club. Our hosts, the Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau, had kindly called ahead and ordered some appetizers to be ready when we arrived. One of our travel writers joked that we would probably get onion rings again, and sure enough, onion rings were delivered to our table. We couldn’t help but laugh. These were amazing also, crispy, and just the right amount of onion and breading.
Each of these restaurants said they were known for their onion rings, and I can see why. All the food was delicious at each of our restaurants, but the onion rings really started off each meal right. By the end of the tour we had sampled some of the best onion rings in Missouri, and then swore off fried for the next few weeks!