St. James Winery in Branson, Missouri
By Vanessa Westmoreland
There was talk about Branson opening its first winery/restaurant in Branson, Missouri that would be different from any other dining experience there. Travel Buddy had to explore the new destination for itself. The smells from the scratch kitchen are what first hit you when you walk through the St James Winery & Restaurant. Then, you hear the romantic music cascading into your ears and you are instantly transported to a place that doesn’t feel like Branson.
The exposed brick columns and beautiful, large red brick oven in the open kitchen make gorgeous cornerstones of the restaurant and give it a Tuscan vineyard look and feel. You can snuggle up to the bar and enjoy your meal and sip your delicious wines as you watch the chefs cook their masterpieces.
The restaurant opened in summer of 2017 and is a sensory overload for your tastebuds. The appetizers are some of the most creative selections, including goat cheese stuffed apricots wrapped in bacon and served with a balsamic reduction drizzle. Then there is the stuffed hibiscus, the flowers are stuffed with goat cheese and chive oil. If that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, a surprise dish was the fresh melon and mint. It may sound ordinary, but it is anything but that, the mint served with balsamic and honey makes this dish a star performance. Over and over the chef and staff members hear from guests that the food combinations are surprisingly tasty.. The scratch kitchen is definitely what makes it special and sets it apart, giving the food interesting flavor profiles.
And for the main course, you ask? The prime rib, you must try the prime rib. This dinner for two is a delicious dish but is offered at limited times, so check with your waiter first. There are two 12 oz prime rib dinners served, plus a glass of a tasty beverage and 2 chocolate mousse desserts all for $59.99!
This experience within a destination offers so much more than food, it also has a tasting room, charming gift shop and a courtyard with a waterfall, fire pits, outdoor seating and bocce ball. You are only reminded that you are in Branson when you look up and see the ferris wheel along the skyline.
It is truly an oasis in the middle of town where you can enjoy games on the south lawn, including frisbee and cornhole. There is a smaller menu offered outdoors on the covered patio dining and is perfect for dates, family dining or business meetings.
The tasting room proudly showcases a custom built fan overhead and gorgeous brick bar where private tastings, parties and educational classes can be offered. There is a lot of beer as well so if you aren’t a wine drinker, don’t worry there is something for you as well. Beer options include Revelation Stout, Rod’s Cream Ale, Courtship Cranberry Ale, McIntyre Cider and so much more.
We haven’t forgotten about the wine, after all we are talking about a winery. St James sells the number one fruit wine in the nation which is a blackberry wine. They are also the biggest distributor of wine in the state of Missouri. St James was founded in 1970 and Velvet Red is their best seller in the state. They also have some of the most fruit wines to choose from, including but not limited to strawberry, blueberry, cherry, peach and raspberry.
Wine flight Wednesdays are only $9.99 for three wines of your choosing. But why stop at one flight when you can select the traditional winery offerings, and also the many unique fruit flavored wines as well?
Fridays and Saturdays offer live entertainment. This is a must-stop on your next trip to Branson, especially if you are searching for a “non-Branson” atmosphere. This is where locals frequent sometimes 3 or more times a week and the demographic crosses all ages.
Go to www.stjamesbranson.com to learn more about their world class dining, award winning wines, wine tasting and sign up for their wine club and newsletter where you hear about specials, sales and events.