Tucked away deep in the heart of Branson awaits The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks, a longstanding establishment providing a brilliant combination of elegance, tradition and fine dining.
If you’re not immediately seduced by the beauty of the surrounding foliage or the lodge’s rustic charm, then the mouthwatering food and the friendly student staff will certainly win you over.
For over 100 years, The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks has focused on quality agriculture and education through experiential learning. Affectionately referred to as “Hard Work U,” the college provides Dobyns Dining Room with fresh seasonal vegetables, dairy, beef and pork from its own student-run farms. Students also produce smoked, cured hams, jar their own jam, and make up the kitchen and wait staff. The students work for their tuition, and there’s a clear sense of pride evident in the treatment, preparation, presentation and—most important—the flavor of your meal.
While the dining room is kept pristine and elegant, you’re welcome to come in for a casual lunch starting with their signature smoked tomato soup, followed by hot corn fritters and a tasty chicken salad croissant. The food may sound simple, but it’s nothing less than magnificent; the fresh, local ingredients and masterful execution make their traditional comfort food menu items spark the kind of happy memories only food can trigger.
If you’ve made dinner reservations at Dobyns Dining Room, you can look forward to some old favorites like chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes and pepper gravy or freshwater walleye with roasted shallots and lime butter. Looking for something familiar, yet different? The shrimp mac and cheese is perfect for when you’re feeling adventurous, but not too adventurous. The mix of provolone, Swiss, and cheddar cheeses baked atop penne pasta and generously sprinkled with sautéed shrimp and campus-cured ham deliver that familiar yet somehow new flavor you’ll instantly love.
The dessert menu follows suit in the homemade feel with items like upside down apple pie, peaches and cream bread pudding, and old fashioned ice cream sundaes. Other favorites include chocolate peanut butter cake and special College of the Ozarks handcrafted ice cream. Whether you’re coming in from the cold snowy forest looking for a hot, hearty meal, or evading Branson’s summer heat with light, fresh options, nothing will feel or taste more like home than Dobyns Dining Room in the Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks.