Here’s a sampling of where to eat and stay when visiting Missouri Wine Country.
A welcoming Augusta restaurant, Ashley’s Rose Restaurant & Lone Eagle Pub (5567 Walnut St., Augusta, 636/482-4108, Tues.-Thurs. and Sun. 11am-7pm, Fri.- Sat. 11am-9pm, entrées $18) resides in an early-20th-century frame building known as “the white house” and sports a quirky aviation theme. It is cozy (seats about 60 people) and has a fully stocked bar. The menu features about 20 entrées and is fairly straightforward in its aims. Ashley’s grills a great steak and offers a popular weekly wiener schnitzel special with homemade sweet-and-sour red cabbage and potato pancakes. The restaurant also offers a handful of nice regional wines and runs some additional specials that change with the season. Come early on the weekend—this tiny place fills up fast.
Augusta Brewing Company (5521 Water St., Augusta, 636/482-2337, Sun.-Mon. and Wed.-Thurs. 11am-6pm, Fri.-Sat. 11am-9pm, entrées $12) is a popular stop for cyclists on the Katy Trail; the restaurant’s shady beer garden is just 30 steps from it. Fare here is American pub food with a few traditional German beer haus items thrown in, like the freshly baked Bavarian pretzel served with Tannhauser mustard and a beer brat smothered in house-made sauerkraut. Several locally produced wines are offered in addition to the microbrewery’s own handcrafted ales, wheats, and lagers, and the menu recommends several great pairings. In addition to a friendly atmosphere and beautiful surroundings, the restaurant also has a great summer schedule of country and bluegrass music.
A cozy little family restaurant in historic Hermann, The Cottage Restaurant & Studio (1185 Hwy. H, Hermann, 573/486-4300, Mon. and Thurs.-Sat. 11am-2pm and 5pm-8pm, Sun. 10am-2pm and 3pm-6:30pm, closed in winter, entrées $15) is a perennial favorite. The food here isn’t fancy, but it’s very well-prepared—don’t miss the golden-brown fried chicken, served with a heaping mound of home-style mashed potatoes. (Also on the Do Not Miss list: homemade pie.) Outdoor seating is available on The Cottage’s lovely patio, which overlooks 22 acres of forest. Want to take a painting home with your leftovers? All of the art decorating the walls is for sale, and some of it’s great. Besides, the restaurant’s motto is “Fried Chicken, Fine Art”—and there’s just something undeniably appealing about that.
Hotels and B&Bs
The hosts of the H.S. Clay House and Guest Cottage (219 Public St., Augusta, 314/504-4203, $150- 235) bring 50-plus years of hotel-hospitality experience to this B&B. Each spacious suite here offers luxurious amenities on par with a fourstar hotel. Covered porches, private balconies, whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, and flat-screen TVs with surround sound are only a few of the inn’s great features. Outdoor amenities include an 18,000-square-foot double-tiered deck, swimming pool, and hot tub. The careful clutter and lush landscaped grounds of this whimsical place draw guests back again and again. Hosts Leigh and Alan Buerhe are happy to arrange a romantic gourmet dinner for two in the home’s elegant dining room or to recommend a local restaurant. And guests are sent off every morning on the right foot: A gourmet breakfast served in the first-floor common space features handmade specialties like shirred eggs, sage sausage, and custard French toast.
The inviting suites of The Iron Horse Inn (207 E. 4th St., Hermann, 573/486-9152, $125-165) exude warmth and comfort—all within walking distance of Hermann’s historic Main Street. Each suite in this beautifully restored 1898 Victorian Queen Anne home is completely self-contained (a plus for those not keen on sharing the bathroom with strangers). Visitors here will love the combination of old-fashioned elegance with modern amenities. Some of the suites offer whirlpool baths big enough for two, while others have lovely claw-foot tubs—and every suite is furnished with heirloom antiques. Rhiannon, the Iron Horse’s innkeeper, is perhaps the most gracious host in the area. She is happy to give shop and restaurant recommendations to newcomers, and will also make dinner reservations for guests upon their request. In addition to its proximity to Main Street, the Iron Horse is near the riverfront and the Amtrak station.
The School House Bed and Breakfast in Rocheport (504 3rd St., 573/698-2022, $149-279) is a little off the beaten path—about an hour’s drive west of Hermann—but well worth a side trip. This unique inn is an expertly converted, turn-of-the- 20th-century schoolhouse, and it offers some great modern amenities. The school’s original oak floors and 13-foot ceilings accentuate every addition, including private luxury baths complete with whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, antique furnishings, and luxury down bedding. Abundant windows flood every room with great morning light, and during the warmweather months guests usually begin their day with gourmet coffee in the School House’s serene garden. This bed-and-breakfast has been featured in numerous national publications, including Midwest Living and Southern Living. It is two blocks from the Katy Trail and a mile from Les Bourgeois Vineyards and Winery. Travelers should check the website for last-minute deals, particularly in the off-season.
Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon St. Louis.