On our trek across Missouri US 50 towards Kansas, we were able to stop at another restaurant on the “21 Restaurants You Have to Visit in Missouri Before You Die“ list. It is a bucket list item for my husband and I to visit all 21 restaurants and we’re up to six visited now. Oscar’s Diner in Jefferson City, MO was a nice surprise because it has an interesting theme throughout the restaurant. It’s all about movies and TV shows from the era when Oscar’s was first opened with some of the dishes on their menu being named after the stars of those programs. Offerings such as The James Dean Cheeseburger, Aunt Bee’s Breaded or Grilled Tenderloin, The Honeymooner’s Sirloin for Two and my favorite, The Melt’n’Berle Patty Melt. They also had the women’s bathroom decorated like a 50s hair salon which I thought was unique and retro chic.
They serve the typical diner fare but are well known for turning out delicious dishes to travelers and regulars alike. The day we visited, the dining room was full of military personnel and police officers, which Jefferson City is full of since it’s the capitol of Missouri. But the one thing that impressed me more than the food here were the people. We watched as almost every customer that walked past the tables of military and police personnel stopped and extended their appreciation of the sacrifice and service these folks put forth on a daily basis. It was one of those moments that restores your faith in humanity.
I always yearn to find out the story behind people and places so I appreciate it when a restaurant includes their story on the menu. Oscar’s story is one of a family running various restaurants across Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. In Oscar’s immediate family, there have been 3 generations running restaurants in Jefferson City at various times. When Oscar’s was originally opened in 1948 it was a steakhouse where the restaurant’s namesake and his wife served steaks that were bigger than the plate. When they retired in 1971, their son took over the steakhouse and ran it for another 16 years before closing. The current establishment was built by Oscar’s grandson in honor of his Papaw and serves many of the dishes Oscar was famous for along with an expanded menu of diner favorites. The last of the story reads, “We hope you find Oscar’s Diner to be an inviting family restaurant, where all generations can meet to create special, new memories in the Jefferson City area.” I believe they’ve accomplished their goal!
As for the food, my husband enjoyed the pot roast and mashed potatoes. That gravy is a beautiful brown color and proves the deep, richness of flavor. Our son opted for the patty melt with homemade potato chips. Both were excellent classic fare. Anytime I go to a diner, it is hard for me to steer away from the reuben sandwich so per usual protocol that’s what I chose this time too. I am so glad I did because it was one of the best I’ve tasted. If you’re in the Jefferson City area, I encourage you to stop by Oscar’s Diner and have a taste for yourself!