There’s a new eatery at the Missouri State Fair this year and it’s quickly becoming the popular place to sit down, cool-off, relax and eat the best Missouri has to offer.
The AgriMissouri Bistro and Market located inside the Dr. Taylor Woods Youth Building offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also have a happy hour in the afternoon where visitors can sample Missouri wine and beer.
“The opportunity arose, the building was vacant, AgriMissouri was growing and we saw it as a chance to really add some life to this corner of the fairgrounds,” Charlie Hopper, AgriMissouri program coordinator, said.
The bistro is located to the northeast of the Mathewson Exhibition Center and Hopper said the eatery is doing “wonderful, and fantastic.”
Also inside the building are Missouri-made items that can be purchased.
“We have the traditional store that we used to have in the Ag Building with all the Missouri-made products,” he said. “But, we’ve added the full-service restaurant. Everything is farm-to-table based.”
Meat is bought directly from farmers.
“We are working with whole animals, we don’t buy a truck load of this cut or that cut,” Hopper said. “We have to work our way through that inventory that comes off the animal. That is why the menu changes quite a bit throughout the Fair.”
They offer beef, pork and chicken.
“We buy whole chickens, whole pigs and whole cows … all meats are hand-cut here on site,” he added. “We have fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Monday’s special was a watermelon and blackberry salad for $2. The salad was presented well and mixed with cilantro and red onion. Hopper said they are keeping the prices reasonable.
“That is one of the things that happens when you have farm-to-table, everybody thinks it has to cost more, but it doesn’t,” he said. “Because you use everything. You’re using a lot of what people would consider cheaper things and turning it into something nice.
“You’re really able to control your price points on things that would traditionally be more expensive,” he added. “At the same time if you want to buy one of those expensive cuts of meat, we may only have 40 a day, because there’s only so many cuts on each end.”
Tuesday the lunch special was roast beef, mashed potatoes, stuffed zucchini, blackberry bread pudding with black walnut ice cream and drink all for $12; the evening special was a pepper steak mix or a spicy garlic-rubbed pork chop.
“I work with three whole loins, so I’m only going to have 40 cuts to that,” he said. “We always have a chicken item and then we always have beef or pork or both.”
Hopper said people seem to be enjoying all of the menu items.
“People really like the breakfast,” he said. “We have some regular customers that have been here since the day we opened. They have been eating here every day. Some of them more than once a day.”
The meatloaf sandwich has quickly become popular. The beef comes from Invermos Valley Ranch in Tebbets; it is stuffed with Miette goat cheese from Baetje Farms LLC in Bloomingdale. Micro greens, from City Bitty in Kansas City, and Jersey Supreme cheese, from Homestead Creamery in Jamesport, top the meatloaf. It is garnished with heirloom tomatoes from Pierpont Farms in Columbia.
“It’s loaded with goat cheese and various other things,” Hopper noted. “We work with a lot of local artisan cheeses in all of our products. Everything is Missouri-grown and made. The cows are on the farm where the cheese is produced.”
Hopper said he’s pretty certain the bistro will be back next year.
“I don’t know how it cannot be after this year,” he added. “It’s just a great place to hang out. There’s not a lot of places on the fairgrounds where you can get together with a group or your family and just relax for an hour, where you’re not being rushed by the crowds. It’s really family-friendly and there’s something for everybody.”
The AgriMissouri Bistro and Market serves breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m., the main menu is served from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., happy hour is from 4 to 6 p.m. with dinner specials from 6 to 8 p.m. It is located inside the Dr. Taylor Woods Youth Building.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 826-1000 ext. 1481 or @flbemiss.