Claysville Store in Claysville, Missouri

Claysville Store

On Sunday, we headed down to the Claysville Store in Claysville, Missouri for lunch.

Claysville is an old rivertown that was pretty much defunct until recently. The Missouri river is huge and the “river bottoms” it flows through is even larger — miles wide. While decades ago Claysville was a bustling town where cargo was transferred from river to rail, the river shifted such that it flows almost a mile away from the town now.

Out of the outright stupidity that was the death of the railroads in the United States has come one gem, though, and it is breathing new life into river towns like Claysville.

Specifically, the Rails to Trails program and the creation of the Katy Trail. The Katy trail passes right by Claysville and, like many other river towns, a business or two has sprung up to serve the bikers and hikers that pass along the trail.

Claysville Store Biscuits

In the case of Claysville, it is the Claysville Store. Owned and run by a family in the weekends — in their spare time — it has become quite the hot little lunch spot.

On Sunday, they open at 12:30. We showed up a little before noon and drove around the bottoms for a bit. We returned at 12:10 and a couple of customers had arrived. By 12:30 the parking lot — the lawn in front of the restaurant and the shoulder of the road across road (gravel) — was full.

Reservations only for this particular hole in the wall on the weekends. However, they are happy to fit in a handful of hikers/bikers off the trail.

Upon sitting down, they bring tea, lemonade, water, or soda and a big plate of piping hot fresh cooked biscuits. Delicious amazing biscuits that really need no butter, but are definitely even more delectable with drippy buttery goodness.

Fried Chicken Plate

The menu is simple; fried chicken, fried chicken with ham or whatever the one special is.

That is it.

I opted for a plate of dark meat fried chicken. I would like to say it was excellent. But, alas, it wasn’t — too damned salty. I could taste the potential, but it just wasn’t there. Some of the regulars we were with said the same.

Anyway, it was very very good. The mashed potatoes with chicken gravy were over the top. Beans & Bacon were exactly that. It was a good meal with great people — family — and in an excellent setting. And certainly worth the $7.

They also make pies. Lots and lots of pies. Delicious amazing pies.

Missouri River

After lunch, we headed out across the river bottoms to try and find the river.

Seems like it would be easy to find a river that is about 1/4 of a mile wide at its narrowest in the area. Not so much; the roads are a bit random and typically follow the top of the flood control levees.

After winding around for a while, we found a random river landing where we could hop out of the car and marvel at the river.

Ever been to the ocean? Witnessed the unstoppable perpetual motion of the waves breaking on the beach?

The Missouri River is a lot like that only the water is all moving in the same direction all the time. None of that break and return stuff. This is a body of water with a destination in mind. It moves. And instead of the occasional leaf or twig floating downstream, you can see logs and the occasional tree. And this is at the end of a long dry summer.

It is quite clear that “across the river” is just exactly as far away as the nearest bridge or ferry. No wading across this creek!

Anyway — the Katy Trail roughly parallels the Missouri River for something like 200 miles. Since it is a railroad bed converted to a trail, there are no hills. Someday, I hope to ride it from end to end — there are wineries, breweries, restaurants, and bed-n-breakfasts all along. I’m thinking late spring would be ideal.

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8 Responses to “Claysville Store in Claysville, Missouri”

  1. Daniel Jalkut says:

    I love rail trails/bike paths. We’ve got a good one in Cape Cod but not nearly as long as the Katy Trail! When I was in Oxford last I was inspired to dream a similar dream to yours: hiking from Oxford to London along the Thames River.

    The problem with that 200 mile ride on the Katy is I’d have “Across the wide Missouri” stuck in my head the whole time.

  2. James Eagan says:

    Damn, those biscuits look good. I was never much of a biscuit man, myself, until I went to Java Jive in Atlanta. Since then, I’ve grown a nice appreciation for them. Yum!

  3. St Louis Missouri News says:

    The Katy Trail is awesome, great scenery! And yeah the biscuits do look tasty!

  4. Rita says:

    I have had those bicuits and have never had better. If you like blackberry cobbler, theirs is to-die-for. I am not a fried chicken lover, but theirs I will eat! I don’t recall that it has ever been too salty.

    If you are in the area, you have to give it a try. Limited hours – Saturday evenings, Sunday afternoons, reservations not required but preferred. And, no, I am not related in any way to the business. Just a very satisfied customer who loves good food.

  5. R says:

    We went to the claysville store today for lunch. It cost our family, myself and my husbandy, my 5 year old and 2 year old 47.00. Not sure how the pricing is done, but this is simply unreasonable. The food was good, but not that good. We will not go back.

  6. Wade says:

    Awesome food, great price! My family’s favorite place to go and we live in Columbia.

    In reponse to the above post by “R”:
    We just ate there today. The price of 3 piece (white) chicken dinner is $8.75, and mixed (2 dark, 1 white) is $7.50. That includes cole slaw, biscuits, cinnamon apple sauce, green beans, and gravy. Sweet tea/drinks are $1.25. Family style dinner (all you can eat) is $11.99 per person and includes the drink. Delicious pie slices are $2.50. Maybe you ordered the family style for everyone? Unless you are going to eat a lot, family style is not the best value!

  7. Amanda Dahling says:

    I stumbled upon your blog while doing some research on the Claysville General Store for an article I am working on for my weekly magazine, The Little Dixie Weekender. We are a free alt-weekly pick up mag.

    You have some wonderful photos and I wanted to inquire the possibility that we might use your photos, giving full credit to you, of course. Also, if there would not be a problem with it, what would you like the attribution to be?

    Thank you so much for your time.

  8. Tom Foozer says:

    Our good friends from Jeff City, Larry & Madolyn, took us to this place as a treat and boy oh boy, what a pleasant surprise! If you leave there hungry, it’s your own fault! The chicken is for the main attraction and it is simply delicious. It’s home style cooking with a family atmosphere. The owner came out and asked how everyone was doing and did we enjoy the food (you gotta be kidding, it was great!) Friendly folks, good food, we had a terrific time!! I can’t wait to go back, thanks for your hospitality and great food!

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