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Whether you live in Nixa or are just passing through, there are a variety of restaurants to satisfy your hunger. From fabulous Italian to gluten-free sweets and barbecue, here are five restaurants to explore.
Piccolo has been delighting Italian food lovers since 2016. The restaurant was started by Steve and Cassie D’Arpino, a family with a long history in the industry. Steve’s parents owned D’Arpino’s Italian Cafe in Springfield for more than a decade.
While a few of the recipes, such as the classic marinara sauce, were transferred to this Nixa restaurant, there are many innovative dishes at Piccolo, like the Italian nachos. Fried wontons are smothered in alfredo sauce and then topped with grilled chicken, tomatoes, basil, pepperoncini and balsamic reduction.
The D’Arpinos love a little spicy kick and there are many unconventional dishes that showcase this, including the jalapeno corn brûlée rigatoni. The pasta is sautéed in a spicy southwestern cream sauce with chicken, sausage, meatballs, black olives and pepperoncini, then topped with brûléed jalapeno corn, Sriracha and parmesan.
For more classic Italian, the garlic cheese bread is delicious, the lasagna is a lovely carryover from D’Arpino and the seafood cannelloni is another popular choice. The restaurant features an extensive vegetarian and vegan menu, which is rare in this area. The eggplant parmesan is a wonderful vegetarian pick.
Gettin’ Basted is the spot for juicy barbecue and delicious wagyu burgers. The restaurant started in Branson and its flagship is still there, but the Nixa location opened in 2020 (there’s also a location in Springfield).
This is Ozarks-style barbecue, so it’s cooked hot and fast over Missouri hardwood coals. The meats are delectable, from the classic pulled pork sandwich to the brisket. The battered fries are some of the best and the poblano cream corn brûlée is a must-try side.
Outside of great meat, the happy hour, from 3-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, is incredible. They have a jumbo pretzel served with queso and mustard, and it’s $5 during happy hour. You can also score pulled pork or hamburger sliders for $2, or a half-pound of smoked wings for $5.
Craft beers are $3 during happy hour, while domestic drafts are $2, Piggy Punch is $4 and Bloody Marys and house margaritas are $5. The Piggy Punch cocktail is a heavenly balance between vodka, peach schnapps, pineapple and cranberry juice. It’s not overly sweet, but has that tropical kiss from the pineapple.
The restaurant was started by Brad Leighninger, who has won every major barbecue competition in this country. His is the only team in history to be named the Kansas City Barbecue Society Team of the Year three times (2018, 2020, 2021). Leighninger is one of the most decorated pitmasters around and it shows in the food.
14 Mill Market
Southwest Missouri’s only food hall is located in Nixa, so it has to be a pick. At 14 Mill Market, you have 10 restaurants to choose from — everything from pizza to waffles and poke bowls. The food hall is a perfect spot for friends to gather and share dishes, families with different tastes or someone to pop in and grab a quick lunch to go. Every time you visit, you can try something new and vendors are also switching their menu items.
Lindsay’s Kitchen recently added fall items such as chicken pot pie, pecan apple salad (which she has available to grab and go) and, for those who want to linger, a pumpkin butternut spice latte. There’s nothing like a delicious Cuban on a cold day, and D’Vine Delicatessen has one.
As cooler weather settles in, it’s a perfect time to visit on Friday or Saturday nights for live music on the patio. Also, mark your calendar for a special event. From noon-10 p.m. on Oct. 14, they are having a harvest festival with vendors, face painting, pumpkins, games, live music and more. This is a wonderful addition to Nixa’s food scene.
The Hernandez family, owners of Primas Mexican Kitchen, have opened a breakfast and lunch spot in Nixa. Primas was started by Martin Hernandez in 1986 and remains family-owned. They have businesses in Springfield and Ozark, and have added Bistro 160 to their list.
At the bistro, they use cage-free eggs, local honey and all-natural deli meats. They make their own green chile salsa and chorizo.
Bistro 160 has a variety of dishes, from classic waffles to spunky omelets with Mexican flair. The Greene Chile omelet is filled with red Argentinian shrimp, red onion, mozzarella and provolone, then covered in green chile salsa and topped with fresh avocado and lime crema.
They have a classic Corned Beef Hash and a very creative Steelhead Trout Benedict, featuring wild-caught smoked trout, English muffin, agave-infused hollandaise sauce, chives and poached eggs.
Another winner is the Cali Toastie: toasted sourdough topped with fresh smashed avocado, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, applewood smoked bacon and a poached egg, and drizzled with fresh lime crema. It comes with potato or fruit.
Bistro 160 also has nice salads, rotating cake flavors and cocktails.
The Sweet Deal
Our last pick is a bakery — a gluten-free spot to be exact. The Sweet Deal is owned by Laura Deal, hence the clever name. She follows a gluten-free diet and so does almost everyone she employs.
Deal is known for her delightful and playful macarons — both the flavors and designs are fun. Just in time for football season, you can order a dozen football-themed macarons for $39. There are two flavors in each dozen.
She also makes cupcakes, brownies, cookies, cinnamon rolls and more. Deal has different themes each week, which she posts on Facebook for preorders. For example, her recent theme was cheesecake. The Sweet Deal also has dairy-free brownies and quick breads, like pumpkin and zucchini.
Here’s something awesome: She offers a 25% discount to employees of Cox and Mercy, police officers, EMTs, firefighters and military members (active, retired and reserves). Just bring your ID and tell her if you qualify.
Her macarons are so heavenly that you won’t miss the gluten. Facebook is the best way to follow the bakery, and you will want to as she releases holiday designs and flavors. You can tell Deal loves what she does.
The bakery has limited hours and is open Thursday-Saturday (Wednesday for preorders only).