Anthony Bourdain in the Ozarks: 3 Spots Where Tony Ate

There are many beautiful places across the U.S.; some – usually southern and central ones – are overlooked for more impressive natural vistas and historic sites of the West and Northeast. For those in the know though, the Ozarks are a haven. Home to watersports, fishing and hunting, and a particularly unique slice of American culture, it’s no surprise that Anthony Bourdain was drawn to visit the Ozarks once in his global travels – and in his attempt to make better sense of the country he called home.

Anthony Bourdain visited the Ozarks to film season 7 (episode 5) of No Reservations; this was his only visit to this part of the U.S. on screen, though he did visit neighboring cities like Nashville and Kansas City.

Anthony Bourdain in the Ozarks Hero

If you’re planning a trip to the Ozarks and love Anthony Bourdain’s shows, you might be inspired to try and visit some of the same places visited by Anthony Bourdain in the Ozarks. To be honest, there aren’t many – but they’re good ones. Get ready for a sample of the special combination of cultures that can only come together in a beautiful place like this, in the Heartland of America.

Want to watch the episode where Anthony Bourdain visits the Ozarks?
The No Reservations episode is available on Amazon, Hulu, and Apple TV.

In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the 𐓏𐒰𐓓𐒰𐓓𐒷 𐒼𐓂𐓊𐒻 𐓆𐒻𐒿𐒷 𐓀𐒰^𐓓𐒰^(Osage), Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Kaskaskia, and Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo) peoples, among others. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.

Rumors Cocktail Lounge

Anthony Bourdain in the Ozarks - Rumple Minze

Bourdain heads to Joplin, Missouri to witness an arm-wrestling tournament and drink some cold pints and shots of Rumple Minze, otherwise known as peppermint schnapps.

After enough “liquid courage” and a challenge from a Joplin woman to arm-wrestle and donate money to child cancer patients, Anthony loses to the elderly woman and they pool their cash for a kind donation.

Claythorne Lodge

Anthony Bourdain in the Ozarks - Duck Breast

Claythorne Lodge is the campground where Tony and his crew stayed during their Ozarks trip; this establishment is on the western edge of the Ozarks not far from Joplin. (Actually, looking at the map, Bourdain and crew barely scratched the surface of the huge geographical area that comprises the Ozarks, which is perhaps why the episode and this list are so short on restaurants.)

In any case, after a semi-successful duck hunt – a traditional Ozarks activity –, Tony’s hunting guides claim that they’ve never had good duck breast. Bourdain decides to change that for them at the Lodge, preparing duck for them; while cooking he says one of the (many) memorable one-liners from the show: “Gentlemen, remember this, please: when cooking duck, always wear pants.”

Fred & Red’s

Anthony Bourdain in the Ozarks - Spaghetti Red

Home of the legendary “spaghetti red,” Fred & Red’s is a local institution that has served generations of families since 1923.

If you’re thinking – wait, isn’t most spaghetti red? – then you’re clearly not from the Ozarks (or this part of it, anyway.) The restaurant’s “spaghetti red” specialty is a hearty pile of spaghetti noodles, topped with chili and paired with sliced pickles, yellow onion, grated parmesan, and ketchup – it’s unique but not dissimilar from the Skyline Chili Bourdain tries in Cleveland.

Be warned though: locals say it is wise to be within at least one hour of a bathroom while eating this meal. (We don’t have any on-screen report of this from Tony, so take that as you will.)

While there aren’t many places visited by Anthony Bourdain in the Ozarks, these are some classic spots if you want to get into the culture of this part of the U.S. Have any questions about where Anthony Bourdain ate in the Ozarks? Let me know in the comments below.

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Ricky has worked off and on in the restaurant industry since high school, filling positions from host to line cook to sous chef all in California and Kentucky. He has always had a desire for food and travel, so discovering Anthony’s writings and shows years back was like meeting a great new friend.

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