Okay – I have to ask. Have you ever tried fried green tomatoes? Or does the smell of slow-cooked pot roast bring you back to your childhood? Well, I know a place where you can both try something new AND return to grandma’s kitchen all in one sitting. Travel with me in your mind (and pictures) to “simpler times” at McFarlain’s Family Restaurant and be prepared for an experience that both brings you home and gives you a new memory for that mental scrapbook.
Disclaimer: I attended a media event as the guest of Niccole from The Creative SAHM. While this was an event sponsored by the Stone Castle Hotel and Conference Center, all opinions listed below are 100% authentic and mine alone.
McFarlain’s Family Restaurant
McFarlain’s Family Restaurant is a local favorite and, believe it or not, a Branson exclusive. Found nestled within the perimeter of the fun-filled Branson IMAX Entertainment Complex in Branson, Missouri, the restaurant has a unique atmosphere about it and serves each meal with a side of entertaining hospitality. To be honest, eating here feels like you’ve gone home for dinner. It’s not only an experience for the taste buds, but a memory in the making for the entire family. From good ol’ southern favorites on your plate to becoming a part of the “conversation,” dining at McFarlain’s Family Restaurant is a treat and another one of those Branson “bucket list” items.
I love how the decor takes you back in time as soon as you step through the open entrance. As you walk from the feel of being in an ol’ country store and into the open dining room, you find yourself surrounded by walls adorned with black and white photos and items that reflect the inspiration that ignited the boom in local tourism.
So – let’s talk good eats. McFarlain’s is well known for its “legendary Ozarks cuisine.” Many locals come to enjoy the homemade soups, salads and sandwiches and still others swear by the McFarlain’s Special, a heaping portion of that slow-cooked pot roast placed on soft white bread, topped with gravy and a side of creamy mashed potatoes. Comfort food at its best, right?
The menu also has a number of delectable desserts to tempt you once you have finished your main course. From made-from-scratch cobblers and the famous Branson Traffic Jam pie, the sweet tooth in you will not walk away disappointed.
Our Particular Visit
Our group visited the restaurant immediately after our IMAX experience and behind-the-scenes tour. Not only was it convenient, but the timing could not have been any more perfect. We were famished! By the time we reached our seats, drinks were being poured and the honey cornbread was begging to be buttered. Not too long after that, each table was served several baskets of the one thing I had been waiting to try for months – FRIED GREEN TOMATOES!!!
Did I like them?
I can remember early on in the planning stages of our #BloggingBranson trip the mention of eating fried green tomatoes. It honestly caused me to pause, stare at the photo and think about whether or not I was ready to try something new like this. I mean, I like RED tomatoes ~ would these be any different? Does frying them make them any better? Are they juicier, more firm or even have a different taste? Of course, everybody else in the group had been talking about how delicious they are, so, I had eventually come to the conclusion that this would be on my Branson bucket list.
Well, I’m here to say ~ I’ve tried them and they were absolutely delicious! OH ~ EM ~ GOODNESS! I was in love with this new find and could have eaten them all day long. As mentioned above, I love tomatoes as it is, but these were sooo good. Dipping them in the ranch dressing just added to the flavor, but they were honestly fantastic right out of the basket. A definite must try, my friends, if you have never tasted fried green tomatoes.
So – McFarlain’s gave me the opportunity to try something new.
My Entree Awaits
I didn’t fill myself up on them, though. I was a good girl and did save room for my entree. Since we were given a choice of three options from the McFarlain’s group menu, I went ahead and chose the McFarlain’s Special. I mean, when in Rome, right?
Confession time: I don’t talk much about my childhood, but this dish actually reminded me of a positive. I kid you not. This was something my mother used to love putting together – pot roast on bread with a savory brown gravy poured all over it. There were times she would serve it over mashed potatoes with gravy, too. Yum! In either case, this brought back a happy memory for me and it was the perfect way to enjoy my lunch there.
So – McFarlain’s gave me the opportunity to “go back home.”
Something’s Not Looking Quite Right
At one point during the meal, one of my friends thought something was different. She noted that she felt as if she had been shrinking. Shrinking? Really? We were a little worried about her at first because she had not been feeling well earlier in the day. Now, coincidentally, our server had, for no reason at all, checked on us TWICE within a minute or two. This seemed a bit unusual and it ignited some curiosity.
Well, it didn’t take us long after to realize that our dear friend was RIGHT!! Something was DEFINITELY different and, indeed, it DID feel as if we were shrinking!
At McFarlain’s Family Restaurant, there are a few unique tables spread throughout the dining room that have the ability to do something the other tables cannot. In other words, during the course of our meal, the table at which we were sitting was slowly rising to the point where our little blogger heads were barely peering over it! We were reaching up to get our food! It was insane and rather hilarious, to be honest!
Of course, this obviously made us the focus of everyone’s attention in the dining room in that moment. Cameras were snapping and chuckles were circulating. It was quite the experience. We were just so relieved to know that our friend was not falling ill!!!
But how did we get the table to return to its normal height? Well, I’m going to save that secret for you to experience yourself. Nor am I going to share at which table we were sitting or what it looked like. Just do me a favor ~ if you do find yourself at McFarlain’s (which I highly recommend) AND at the rising table, let me know!!! I’d love to laugh with you over our shared experience!!
I will, however, share this piece. As a token of our participation and willingness to endure the temporary humiliation, we received certificates of membership into the McFarlain’s Rising Table Society! Now THIS is a memory I will never forget and an honor I will proudly bear!
During our visit, we were fortunate enough to experience something extra special. Mr. and Mrs. Bluto, the owners of the restaurant, just happened to be there and chose to sit among us during the meal. The couple even made it a point to visit our table after our hilarious five minutes of Branson fame. What a sweet pair and it was an honor to meet “Branson royalty.”
Full and Memorable
So, in the end, we left McFarlain’s with full stomachs and memories that will never fade. I loved everything about this place and cannot wait to go back to visit. Can you believe it? I’m already craving another basket of fried green tomatoes! What about you?
In Branson? Check out McFarlain’s Family Restaurant!
Contact Us: 417-336-4680
Open Daily: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Breakfast: 8:00 am – 11:00 am
Lunch & Dinner: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Hours may change for special events or holidays.
For more info on things to do around Branson, check out these posts!
- The Titanic Museum
- Silver Dollar City
- Track Family Fun Parks
- Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction
Other Restaurants for the rest of your stay:
Don’t forget to check out Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center for a great place to stay during your visit to Branson!