Our quaint town of Columbia contains much more than meets the eye. Boutique coffee shops, breweries, and organic restaurants nestle between well-known bars, shops, offices and fast food restaurants. Inside their walls, though, these hidden specialty businesses add edge to the town we call home.
Many of us never venture past Broadway into the north end of town. Though it seems as if nothing is going on past Broadway, the area is densely populated by local favorites like cafés, small restaurants, art galleries and organic grocery stores. Once we get past our fear of delving into the deep unknown, we discover even more great places located within walking distance of campus.
Check out these awesome local venues!
1) Günter Hans Restaurant:
This is the first restaurant to provide authentic European cuisine in Columbia. Walking into this restaurant/bar feels like entering an establishment in the middle of Europe. The foods and drinks are prepared as if you were in Europe. Günter Hans is also known for its broad selection of craft beer. Located on Hitt Street, Günter Hans is a short walk away from campus. It’s perfect for a nice dinner with family or a casual drink with friends.
Columbia’s very own brewery produces its own stouts and craft beers and offers food and wine. The pub is located on Broadway and nestled underneath retail stores. It’s accessible by way of a staircase leading down from the sidewalk. Since passerby often miss the brewery due to its location, it’s one of downtown Columbia’s most obvious hidden treasures.
This café strives to provide healthy, natural food. Located a few blocks off Broadway, this café offers vegan, gluten-free, low-glycemic and even low-acidity foods to help the body maintain balance. The owners take interest in personal wellness, and sell products to help you lose weight, boost your immune system, and improve wellbeing. Dande Café serves coffee, fine teas, breakfast, brunch, lunch, salads and bakery items. Venture over to get some guilt free treats and some of the best espresso in town.
4) Trey Bistro:
New this year, Trey Bistro is the perfect place to take a date, or simply enjoy a gourmet meal. Trey Bistro takes pride in fine dining, and sources its menu locally. It offers salads, pizzas and sandwiches, in addition to a full lunch and dinner menu. Its bar is open for late-night drinks. Trey Bistro is located on north Ninth Street in downtown Columbia.
5) Frequency Coffee:
Frequency Coffee has taken over an unused basement space in Alley A. Nestled between apartment complexes; this new coffee shop is literally a hidden treasure of Columbia. With so many crowded coffee shops scattered throughout the city, this 13-seat location is the perfect place to study quietly, read a book and enjoy a great cup of joe.
6) Peace Nook:
Located under shops and restaurants on Broadway, Peace Nook doesn’t stand out physically. The bookstore serves as a non-profit, volunteer-based community resource center. It works to promote a peaceful world and sustainable future by selling incense, fair-trade clothing, progressive message products (such as t-shirts, buttons and stickers), natural foods, books and other small trinkets. All proceeds go to Mid-Missouri Peaceworks to support education.
7) Coffee Zone:
This coffee shop is located off Ninth and Broadway. It sits between retail shops, and is often unnoticed by pedestrians. Coffee Zone is a great alternative to skipping the Starbucks line. Coffee Zone stands out from other coffee shops here in Columbia because it serves Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. In addition, it offers bagels, bakery items and sandwiches. At any time of day, Coffee Zone is the place to go for a delicious meal.
8) Root Cellar:
This community-based grocery store is located off 10th and Walnut. It provides customers with extremely fresh food by stocking locally grown produce. The Root Cellar prides itself on providing affordable food to Columbia residents. If you don’t have a car or want better access to fresh food, check out the Root Cellar next time you venture downtown.
These establishments offer an untraditional approach to a college town. Even though they aren’t advertised as well as our favorite fast-food chains or restaurants, they are definitely worth trying. One may even become your new favorite hotspot. Of course, sometimes, the best ones are left hidden.