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Delectable Diversity

I’m pretty sure the entire 573 area knows exactly how I feel about good local food by now. Lol. Every town has its specialty dishes or its crown jewel restaurant that the community loves to boast, and for good reason. Impressively, even the smaller towns in this region contain hidden culinary treasures, and surprisingly enough the variety in diverse foods and cultures is pretty extensive in most of the towns around here, but none more so than in Cape Girardeau.

From North Kingshighway to Nash Road, and from Route K to the River Campus, there are well over 200 different outstanding eateries to choose from giving visitors the opportunity to sample a variety of cuisines from nearly anywhere in the world! It’s not just a place to go eat, it’s a destination location for an amazing culinary experience with those you love. Dining creates treasured moments here, in Cape Girardeau Missouri.

An elderly couple sips wine at a nice restaurant, laughing and holding hands

Whether you’re brave enough to get out there, or you’d feel better off staying in, you’re covered here in Cape. According to one local resident, “You can dine in, or get takeout or curbside from one of our many local dining options. From Caribbean and Creole to Vietnamese and classic American dishes like burgers and sandwiches. You’ll find an option that appeals to everyone."

A man in glasses smiles broadly seated at a bar with a gin and tonic beneath a trendy modern spherical lighting fixture

Cape Girardeau offers a host of palate-pleasing places worth exploring. And it makes for a wonderful date night! After walking along the riverfront, dinner at any of the downtown restaurants will most definitely continue to kindle that romantic spark. Don’t limit your selection to just that area though! The alluring flavors of Cape can be found all over town. No matter your tastes, you’ll find something to appease your appetites while lost in conversation. And if you want to keep meals light, check out one of the local coffee houses or breweries instead!

I myself have had the extraordinary privilege of sampling several of Cape’s fantastic eateries. Here are just a few of my personal favorites!

Eat. Drink. And Be Mary!

Located on Broadway in Downtown Cape Girardeau, Mary Jane Bourbon & Smokehouse prides itself on serving high-quality dishes from fine dining recipes using fresh local ingredients and pairing those delectable meals with some of the finest hand-crafted bourbon cocktails in town!

Named for the legendary grandmother of owner and local superstar, Carissa Stark, Mary Jane Bourbon & Smokehouse lives up to the class, sophistication, and feeling of celebration inspired by this amazing matriarch. Eat. Drink. And Be Mary!

Inspired by Vietnamese street food, Pho8 redefines the fast-casual dining experience. With Chef Ann Rivera’s gluten-free menu, fresh ingredients, and a relaxed atmosphere, this is a great place to stop in and try something different.

A dish of pork, noodles and parsley garnished with nuts, herbs, lemon and jalepeno.  sits on a wooden counter with chop sticks an onion and a sprig of mint

Three eggrolls sit on a plate with a small bowl of sauce, and fresh coleslaw salad. chopsticks lie across the bowl

From house-made Kimchi to their famous Pho, you're sure to find something you love!

You can’t help but feel welcomed and joyously loved like a wonderfully nostalgic homecoming when you step through the doors at Spanish Street Farmacy. This Green family-owned homegrown little patch of heaven takes you back to simpler times with a classically modern menu.

A store/dining area that looks like its from the 1940s with fresh produce in a display case and baskets, jars of dried herbs behind the counter on shelves, and an ice cream bar with stools and malt shakes

Using organic locally grown ingredients and a large array of both traditional and modern dishes, Spanish Street Farmacy is a great place to have a big meal, a light lunch, or a quick pop in for a shake! Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’re sure to make some sweet memories here!

A totally unique experience, sampling the menu at Gabriel’s is like traveling to Italy without having to leave home. Gabriel and his team focus on traditional ingredients prepared in a way that’s approachable and accessible even if you’re timid about trying new cuisine. The delectable menu is straightforward and specific to guide diners through the best of Italy, Gabriel style!

On top of serving elegant Italian meals and fine wines, Gabriel's offers cooking classes for both kids and adults, and mixology classes for those over 21!

Last year one of our Mommy Makeover winners won a dinner for two at this amazing restaurant and I had the honor of sampling some of their dishes for the very first time. Chef Su Hill absolutely blew me away!

The menu weaves modern flair into traditional Asian cuisine, creating dynamic and unexpected flavors.

Although the menu is simple, the taste is anything but. Saffron blends fine dining with a relaxed atmosphere and reasonable prices, making it an ideal dining destination!

Voted Southeast Missouri's #1 Mexican Restaurant, El Sol lives up to every bit of the hype.

Owned by Alvaro Muñoz, El Sol is the Beacon of Broadway for the weary and hungry who travel to Downtown Cape in search of local deals.

El Sol is a place where patrons can really experience Mexican cuisine and feel welcome to sit back and take in the atmosphere.

They also feature a full service patio, a separate bar area, and a private banquet room.

El Sol’s decor highlights old-world Mexican influences with contemporary touches.

Guilt sometimes follows after trying some of the rich and decadent menus here in the 573, but not here at Fresh Healthy Cafe!

With a large array of menu items including vegetarian, vegan, and diabetic-friendly meals, Fresh Healthy Cafe is both tasty and nutritious.

Whether you’re meeting someone for lunch, swooping in for a power breakfast after a workout, or just stopping by for a quick snack wrap or an amazing smoothie, Fresh Healthy Cafe has your back, and believe me, your body will love you for it!

A great place for catching up with old friends, or just recharging your motivation on a chilly or rainy day, Baristas Coffee Bar has a large variety of coffee drinks, pastries, cocktails, healthy lunches, and delicious comfort foods. They focus on high-quality food and service, making sure everyone feels welcome and enjoys their visit.

Last but certainly not least is my favorite little ice cream shop. Sugar Chic Creamery can lure you in from blocks away with the hypnotic sweet vanilla fragrance of freshly made waffle cones that drifts all the way up Broadway and down Main Street.

With a large menu of specialty items and a huge selection of gourmet ice creams including an array of vegan, diabetic, & lactose-free options, and even pet-friendly cream treats for your furry friend, Sugar Chic Creamery is the ideal premiere destination in Cape Girardeau for any ice cream connoisseur!

This is merely just a few of the extraordinary places to get some epic eats here in the food capital of Southeast Missouri. Be sure to get out there, explore some of Cape’s awesome venues with amazing menus, and find those treasured moments making precious memories to cherish for years to come.

Until then 573, be happy, be healthy, be well!

Written by AJ Koehler


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