By Bill Beggs Jr.
We set out to find more than a plateful of steakhouses in Missouri that are great spots for meetings, and the criteria were just that: meat and meetings. The establishments we surveyed aren’t a ranking, but rather just a sampling of some of the best spots in Missouri to handle the menu and meeting space plus A/V, appetizers, teleconferencing, side dishes, tables and chairs, dessert, dry-erase boards, and so forth.
Many of the steakhouses reviewed here grill locally sourced fare, of course. And they cook to order. But, frozen—are you kidding? These aren’t the Sizzlin’ Broiler, those family-style places where you get your pick of what’s left at the buffet, which could be dry and medium-well to whatever.
Choices are essential, especially if you want guests to return, and these eateries have a range of “private dining” options available, are poised to satisfy a group from 12 to 120 (or both, perhaps) with group sizes and palates in between. Rehearsal dinners and engagement parties? Of course. Business meetings? Oh, my goodness, these fine restaurants are nothing if not all-pro, whether handling a banquet for a law firm, luncheon for a financial-services company and clients, or a holiday party for the regional dental society. Entertaining and hospitality are their stock in trade.
Many pride themselves on their unique selection of adult beverages and wines; some put their cellars up against anyone else in town, if not the country.
Not in the mood for beef? Maybe detour to lobster, try a tuna steak or swordfish, or a not-your-average trout, lamb, pork or chicken dish. (Although this is not an article for vegetarians, almost any of the steakhouses reviewed here can prepare a vegetarian or gluten-free diet.)
So let’s fire up the grill and take a virtual tour in print!
5166 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Guests of this incomparable steakhouse at Lake of the Ozarks have been raving since 1980 about the steaks, but many give props to the appetizers, such as the onion rings and mushroom caps with signature stuffing. J. Bruner’s is a popular halfway destination for planners in the St. Louis and K.C. regions, and points in between. The steakhouse can set up and grill for meetings from around 30 to 150 guests, so it can accommodate pharmaceutical rep(s) with a group of physicians from Lake Regional Hospital, for example, or the holiday gala for a whole department. By the way, owner Patrick Boylan also plans meetings, so he knows how to get to the meat of both matters: steaks perfectly prepared, in quantity, and meetings of any size.
Tyler Kane, Olivia Kane
133 West Clinton Place
Kirkwood, MO 63122
The restaurant accommodates a maximum of 25 guests, but aficionados insist it’s worth staking out. Part of the experience is the intimate setting in a Victorian-era home. “I love to travel and love steak, but did not know that subconsciously I would choose your restaurant over a tropical island!” says fan Darlene Ilten. And forget all about the A-1 sauce when you cook at home; you can have some of the restaurant right with you: Citizen Kane’s steak seasoning is available at local groceries.
Delta Queen Port of Call Restaurant
Dana Jones, Nadia Marcum
6035 Second St.
Kimmswick, MO 63052
Facebook: Delta Queen Port of Call – Restaurant & Lounge
The only days you won’t be able to visit this restaurant that opened last fall are Sunday and Monday, the latter because all shops and eateries are shuttered in this historic river town. The building dates from the 1770s, and Ulysses S. Grant did some of his writing here, and likely some of his drinking. Eating and drinking is what it’s all about today, with a menu derived from fare prepared on the legendary Delta Queen steamboat, docked here 15-20 times a year and currently undergoing renovations that are hoped will get her shipshape for overnight river cruises. A local pharmacy held its Christmas party for 25 here, but with four dining rooms, more than 110 can be accommodated; weather permitting, an additional 100 may use the patio. (It’s not officially a steakhouse, but it is a unique dining destination bound to make an impression.)
Emma Bundy, Jamie Windhorst
1855 S. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63131
Diners have their fave steak spots, and Fleming’s is always at the top of the list with 5-star ratings in the dozens of markets it serves. But in Missouri, Frontenac is its only location. Cutting-edge A/V and video conferencing equipment and three private rooms complement an array of customizable menu selections. Sonoma, the smallest, accommodates as many as 22. A full restaurant buyout will provide room for more than 130 guests.
Cindy or Matt Sanders
12200 Dillon Outer Drive
Rolla, MO 65401
Matt’s can accommodate groups from 10 up to 350 in the banquet hall. Limited menu service is available for 60 or fewer guests. Buffet service is available for larger groups. Matt’s is just off Interstate 44, about halfway between St. Louis and Springfield.
Pierpont’s at Union Station
30 W. Pershing Road
Kansas City, MO 64108
great restaurant supreme. Pierpont’s is at K.C.’s historic Union Station (1914), one of the most architecturally significant in the country. It’s been aptly described as a “culinary jewel” and “posh classic with high ceilings and a mahogany bar.” The bar is a sight in itself: it’s 30 feet tall with higher bottles accessed by ladder. Pierpont’s pairs prime steaks and seafood with a vast wine list. The establishment is 8,000 square feet overall and offers wine rooms on the lower level for private dining as well as a loft space that overlooks the vast station lobby. (The website offers a virtual view from the loft via 360kc.com.) A guest might not feel out of place with a handlebar moustache and pocket watch.
Plaza III, The Steakhouse
4749 Pennsylvania Ave.
Kansas City, MO
This multi-level restaurant in Country Club Plaza touts the “gold standard” of K.C. steaks and has been serving up USDA prime for more than 50 years. And when it comes to meetings, Plaza III is all business, whether satisfying large or small groups from repeat clients like KU Medical School or UBS. The wine cellars can be booked separately or together, and can handle between 20 and 60 guests depending on needs ranging from a sit-down dinner to a wine tasting. Awards from magazines are plentiful, and ratings from travel experts are all tops. Live jazz? But of course!
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Stephanie DiDonato, Jeffrey Daniels
1 N. Brentwood Blvd., Suite 150 (at Forsyth)
Clayton, MO 63105
(500 degrees!) and butter-topped steaks, and there are no gimmicks. Business meeting or fundraiser? Ruth’s prides itself on flawless execution, and repeat business is a result. A uniquely decorated private dining room accommodates up to 70. Jacob Dinkel of Total Access Urgent Care had this to say about an awards dinner: “Best ‘Hero Banquet’ yet… looking forward to the next event in three months.”
4501 W. 119th St. (in Andre’s)
Leawood, KS 66209
Sullivan’s is in the K.C. metro area just across the state line in Kansas, so it makes sense that the live music in the restaurant is jazzy. Three private rooms seat approximately 25 each, and the space is more accommodating for a reception. Occupancy of the three together is about 100. The library seats 65; the patio (heated, if need be) accommodates 100. The restaurant has received local plaudits for its live music and happy hour. Steaks are prime, of course, but GM Lisa Carl emphasizes that Sullivan’s is responsive to client needs: “Chef’s been known to whip up bacon, eggs and pancakes for a board meeting.”
Bill Beggs Jr. is a freelance contributor from St. Louis, MO