The area of Missouri where I live is full of smaller towns with limited restaurant choices. There are some real gems hiding in these little towns, but the opening of a new restaurant always makes me very happy!
Mt. Vernon is not so small, with about 5,000 people, and it certainly isn't without restaurants. But many of them, particularly along the easy-access business loop just off Interstate 44, are the standard fast food outlets.
So I was quite excited when a previously empty restaurant building re-opened as the locally owned Red Barn & Grill. It's home cooking, but not bland cooking. Nice atmosphere, lots of cheerful sunflowers in the decor.
Extremely high quality roast beef on the French dip sandwich. Blackened chicken on a salad, big thumbs up. Good burgers, hand shaped patties. Fresh-made sweet tea. And sweet potato fries, one of my all time favorites. If they had chili mayo to go with them like BBs in St. Louis used to, I'd be even more thrilled.
The only complaint I have is that it can be a little slow, because they really are making everything fresh. I'm willing to wait, though!
I recommend getting there a little bit before or after standard lunchtime. I was over there just now at 12:30 my time, to recheck the opening and closing times for this blog and the place was packed! I can't speak for the breakfast or dinner rush, since I haven't been there at those times.
I haven't yet tried one of their slices of pie or huge sticky rolls. I'm guessing that if I have one, I'll want another the next day, and so on, and so on until an entire upsized wardrobe is required. I'll leave it to all of you to take the risk. Enjoy!
The Red Barn & Grill is easy to get to. The address is 107 W. Mt Vernon Blvd, but you don't really need that. Just leave I-44 at the main Mt. Vernon exit, and head west into town on the business loop, which is Mt. Vernon Blvd. You'll go most of the way through town, which frankly is not that far. Pass all that fast food, and look for the sign on your right. Open 7 AM-9 PM every day and now 7-2 on Sunday!
If you're worried that the Red Barn might take more time than you have, continue on down the business loop a few hundred more feet. Look on your left for the Mt. Vernon Family Restaurant sign in a shopping plaza on a little hill. Their food is plainer, but good.
They do great breakfasts, fried chicken, and their specials are reasonably priced. You can even get frog legs, but I'm not that brave. Things generally move a little more quickly there, except on Sunday if you find yourself among the large after-church crowd. This makes a great alternate choice.
Come on over and enjoy some good food in Mt. Vernon!