Doesn’t downtown Branson have any restaurants?

Well not many, according to the city’s official web site. Let’s just say the “Demrep” family from Indianapolis, Indiana is visiting Branson for the first time, thanks to the Branson Airport, and was looking for a family style meal their first evening in town. They had heard about historic downtown Branson and wanted to eat there on their first night in town. As people are prone to do these days, they went to the internet and ended up on and were really impressed when they saw the words “Official Website of Branson, Missouri.”

With anticipation they clicked on the “Dining” link and were taken to It has a nice general narrative about dining in the area and gives the guest the option of clicking on a list to view “All Dinning Listings” or to “Browse Locations.” This was the Demreps first trip to Branson, they had no idea about its different restaurants, they knew the location of where they wanted to eat, down town Branson, so they selected that option from under the “Browse Location” list.

To say the least they were surprised and not very impressed when only four items showed up for “Downtown Branson,” were McDonalds, Wendy’s, Pappa Johns, and the Candle Stick Inn Restaurant. John Demrep said to his wife Michelle, “Why Mother we have most of these same restaurants at home.” Michelle said, “But Father we don’t have Candlestick Inn. It sounds family like and is downtown. Let’s try it.”

They and their two children left their hotel on the western edge of Branson’s strip and started east on Highway 76 to the address shown on the website for the Candlestick Restaurant, 1316 W. Highway 76, Suite 199. When they got there, needless to say they didn’t find the Candlestick Restaurant at that location. When they called the phone number listed 417-335-3633, which they had dutifully written down from the website prior to leaving their motel, they were informed the phone had been disconnected.

Seeing as how they were on Highway 76 heading east and the traffic going west bound was heavy they just continued eastbound, and ran into downtown. As they drove around Branson’s beautifull, quaint and homey downtown they noticed a number of restaurants such as Clocker’s, Branson Café, the Farm House, Rocky’s, and the Bleu Olive. They decided on the Bleu Olive Mediterranean Grille & Bar and, as the story goes, had a great meal starting off with some of the best Asiago Cheese “Flambe” they had ever had.

“Wait a minute,” some who know where the Candlestick Inn is located might say, “Why is the address for Candlestick to a place on West Highway 76? Isn’t Candlestick’s great food, atmosphere, and beautiful view of Branson Landing and downtown Branson located off of East Highway 76 at 127 Taney Street high atop Mount Branson?” The answer of course is “Yes.”

Still others might ask, if the web site is owned by the city of Branson, leased to the Tourism Community Enhancement District (TECD), is being run for both under a contract with the Branson Lakes Area CVB financed by tourism tax dollars collected and remitted by all the restaurants downtown why aren’t all the restaurants in downtown listed? Who is responsible for looking out for the interests of all the small businesses collecting and remitting the tax to make sure they are adequately covered on the web site and other promotional activities paid for by city of Branson and TECD Tourism Taxes?

Some would suggest, “Isn’t it Branson’s elected officials and the TECD Board of Directors?” Other might ask, “Why aren’t the two associations representing the downtown businesses monitoring the situation and taking the appropriate steps to get things changed?”

The pathetic thing is that no one seems to care enough to monitor what is happening or do anything about it. Alexis de Tocqueville said that “In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.”

It is inconceivable to an Ole Seagull that the TCED board can spend $400,000 of tax payer money collected through the efforts of the businesses and people in the District to help promote the Table Rock Chamber of Commerce, which isn’t in the District, while businesses within the District are treated and ignored in this manner. And besides is Candlestick Inn really in downtown Branson or does a river flow through it?

About Gary Groman aka The Ole Seagull

Editor of The Branson Courier
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