The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks is a unique experience for lunch or dinner. The meals are prepared and served by students.
A few years ago I took my first trip to Branson, Missouri for my in-laws 50th Wedding Anniversary. I was looking for a restaurant that was somewhat fancy but wasn’t too stiffy. I ended up finding Dobyn’s Dining Room at the Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks, just outside of town. (You can read that original post here) I absolutely loved it and had hoped someday I would return.
When I found myself back in Branson just a few weeks ago, The Keeter Center was at the top of my list to revisit. The menu changes rather often so I knew there was going to be some new dishes to try.
I was in Branson with another food and travel blogger (Lisa from Taste Cook Sip) so in between our shows and seminars, I made us a reservation for an early dinner at The Keeter Center.
The Keeter Center is located on the campus at College of the Ozarks, just south of Branson in Point Lookout, Missouri. The school is unique in that students do not pay tuition, instead they work at the college in various roles related to their major. Within The Keeter Center, there is a 15-room all suite hotel, Dobyn’s Dining Room, an ice cream shop, a bakery, and conference facilities, all run by a staff of students. The school is a Christian based institution, therefore there is no alcohol served at the restaurant.
Though the menu does change seasonally, I was happy to see they still serve their house made apple butter with the bread basket.
We started our meal with the Fried Green Tomatoes – coated in cornmeal that is milled right on campus and topped with a house-made jalapeno jelly. Definitely some of the best fried green tomatoes I have ever had as the coating was super thick and the tomatoes were fresh.
I also ordered a Caeser salad with a parmesan cheese crisp and a classic Caeser dressing. My favorite Caeser dressing is when you can taste a hint of anchovy and this one at The Keeter Center did not disappoint.
For an entree I tried the Crispy Pork Florentine. The pork was hand breaded and topped with mushroom cream sauce and crispy spinach. The pork medallions were served over cheddar whipped potatoes and fresh cut garden vegetables. I loved the mushroom sauce, loved the crispy spinach, loved the tender pork.
Lisa had the Corn Meal Trout topped with shrimp gumbo and served over pepper jack grits and sauteed green beans. All the vegetables served at The Keeter Center is grown on the campus farm, which the restaurant overlooks.
We passed on dessert as we had other plans we had to get to but one of the highlights is the ice cream sampler from the on-campus creamery. There is also a nice selection of cakes and pies from the bakery at The Keeter Center.
The service was just as impeccable as my last visit. Our server was more than happy to talk to us about life as a student at College of the Ozarks. It is absolutely fascinating to learn about the diversity of students here and how they all graduate debt-free and most have jobs lined up. Our server happened to be starting work at Big Cedar Lodge, another place with some great restaurants just south of Branson.
Reservations are highly recommended, especially in the peak tourist seasons. I have The Keeter Center marked as an absolute MUST DO when in the Branson area. Five out of Five sprouts.
For reservations and to view the menu, visit The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks website here.
Click on any of the images below for my recommendations on things to do and where to eat in Branson: