The Arcadia Valley is a very small area in Southeast Missouri. For the most part, we don’t have a lot of choices for a nice dinner out with family and friends. However, the choices we do have are top notch. The Arcadia Valley is so small that we have managed to stay off the radar of the chain restaurants that populate larger areas. There are no Ryan’s, Applebee’s, or Chili’s here. We didn’t even have a McDonald’s until the late 90’s. Imagine that, areas that were a part of the former Soviet Union saw the golden arches in their communities before we did. Other than a couple of fast food places along the highway, each and every one of our restaurants are unique.
My family’s favorite restaurant in the Arcadia Valley is Bailey Jo’s Barbeque and Seafood (located on Highway 21 just between Pilot Knob and Ironton). In the Arcadia Valley, businesses often have to be a one stop shopping experience in order to succeed. Essentially, the businesses must do more than one thing well if they want to be successful. Bailey Jo’s has some of the best barbeque in Southeast Missouri. It is unique because it is smoked with cherry wood. In addition, Bailey Jo’s boasts its own brand of barbeque sauce. Not only does Bailey Jo’s do barbeque, but they also do seafood and lots of it. Every Friday night, patrons can enjoy “All You Can Eat Shrimp” fresh from the gulf coast at Bailey Jo’s. In the summer time, Bailey Jo’s is especially unique in that the restaurant boasts a beer garden made out of some of Southeast Missouri’s finest Cedar. On most Saturday evenings, patrons can enjoy live music on the beer garden while they enjoy some of Southeast Missouri’s finest barbeque and/ or seafood.
Another restaurant that holds a special place in my heart is located in Lesterville, Missouri – just south of the Arcadia Valley. BeBe’s Black River Beach Club and Bistro is officially open this season at Bearcat Getaway Resort, however, I am proud to say that I have been eating there since the mid 90’s. David and Glee Suntrip, the owners of the resort, have always had a kitchen at Bearcat where they served dinner and breakfast for their guests. I have enjoyed many barbeque pork steaks and hamburgers at the resort and have had the pleasure to have eaten many Sunday morning breakfasts there as well. This season, in 2010, BeBe’s Black River Beach Club and Bistro is bigger and better than the old kitchen was, but I guarantee that the food will be just as good. I am looking forward to many more good meals with some good people at the new location. BeBe’s not only features barbeque and breakfast, but patrons can enjoy Tex Mex during the Bearcat Fiesta, Cajun food during the Bearcat Carnival, and a pig roast on Parrothead Weekend. After dinner, patrons can enjoy live music performed by some of the Midwest’s hottest acts, camp out overnight, and wake up to a country breakfast so good, you’ll swear that your grandma works there. For more details, check them out on the web at www.bearcatgetaway.com
In spite of our deep recession and a tough economy, the Arcadia Valley is home to a new local business. Ryno’s Pizzeria and Pub, located on Highway 21 south of Arcadia, is one place where I will be taking my family to eat this summer. Right now, it is June and the sun is shining. There is nothing like being outside, but I know that some rainy days are coming as are the days when the temperature is in the triple digits – or at least feels like it. No matter how much my family enjoys being outside, some days the cold AC is just what we need. Ryno’s Pizzeria and Pub features cold air and cold beer along with a menu stuffed (like a calzone) with my family’s favorite Italian food – pizza. In addition, it is my understanding that Ryno’s is planning on having live entertainment in the pub on select weekend nights. There is nothing like cold beer and hot pizza served up with a dash of live music.
After having spent well over a decade eating at Bearcats and more than five years of eating at Bailey Jo’s, I don’t miss the chain restaurants at all. The larger towns can have the Applebee’s and the Chili’s. Now that we have Ryno’s Pizzeria and Pub, they can keep Pizza Hut, too. Folks in the ex-burbs may enjoy TGI- Fridays, but for me and mine, we say TGIAV – Thanks God It’s Arcadia Valley – because we have these unique dining experiences that feature top notch food and entertainment.