When I was told I would be going to Missouri for the Journalism Interactive conference, I had an idea in my head of what it would be like – there would be lots of cattle and we would be located in the middle of nowhere. However, it was the complete opposite. We were located at the University of Missouri, which was a gorgeous college with an idealistic college town. We had a blast, and you can see more of my experience here.
I didn’t really know what kind of food to expect from Missouri, but my professor who used to go to the University of Missouri – Jeremy Littau – said they have great BBQ. I love BBQ, and nothing hits the spot like a pulled pork sandwich. This knowledge may have made me more excited for the food than the conference (although, I did have a fantastic time at the conference and learned some very useful skills).
On the first day for lunch, we decided to go to Flat Branch Pub & Brewing. As a group, we picked hot pretzel sticks with spinach artichoke dip to start. Professor Matt Veto – my other professor who used to go to the University of Missouri but wasn’t able to attend the conference – swore by the pulled pork here. This confirmation, along with my undeniable love of pulled pork, pushed me to order it.
The hot soft pretzel sticks with spinach dip came out first. The pretzels come with beer mustard, but we paid the extra money for the spinach dip. The menu described the dip as warm and zesty spinach dip made with roasted red peppers and pepper cheese, which sounded amazing. Luckily, the pretzels and dip sounded as fabulous as I hoped. The pretzels were perfectly salted and the dip was delicious. However, I love the saltiness of pretzels so I preferred them without the dip because it masks the salty greatness. In addition, the pretzels were warm and buttery, making for the perfect appetizer that we all enjoyed.
In Pennsylvania, I’ve had the hardest time finding some good pulled pork. Due to Professor Veto’s high recommendation of the pulled pork, I was happy to get my fix. As my side for the sandwich, I ordered sautéed vegetables. I failed to notice on the menu that it said it was smoked pork on an artisan bun, with the BBQ sauce on the side. I think this sandwich would have been much better had the BBQ sauce been originally on it and cooked into it to build flavors. The meat was great, however, I had to ask for extra BBQ sauce on it. The vegetables were good and what you would expect from a pub-style restaurant. I enjoyed my sandwich, but it wasn’t as good as anything I’ve had in the South. When we told Professor Veto about my review of the sandwich, he claimed he’s never had the pulled pork sandwich there – although we all swear he said it.
One thing that really surprised me about this restaurant was the tea. It was cold and rainy outside, so I ordered a cup of hot tea. To my pleasant surprise, I was given a cup, a pot and an assortment of tea bags. Typically, places will only give you black tea and a single cup serving. As a tea lover, I was ecstatic over this tea order.
The restaurant was packed, which goes to show it’s a great place. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, and the wood used in the decor added to this. In addition, the food was well priced. Our waiter was also good, and it made for an overall pleasant experience. If I lived in the area, I would definitely go there often.
Flat Branch Pub & Brewing
115 S 5th St, Columbia, MO 65201
Mon-Sun 11:00 am – 12:00 am