Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Missouri Road Trip

August 1, 2011 9:24 am, UTC

By: Ryan Williams

Columbia, MO

Undergraduate Enrollment: ~32,000

Local Dives:

Mizzou fans love Shakespeare's Pizza. Photo from Elisa Day.

If there are only two pieces of advice that I would give to visitors of Columbia it would be to 1) go to a Mizzou football game and 2) eat at Shakespeare’s pizza. Shakespeare’s is to Columbia, MO what Giordano’s is to Chicago or Gino’s East to New York. It’s recognized as the best pizza in the city, and Missouri natives even say it’s some of the best in the state. A favorite amongst visitors, and locals alike, it’s always packed – Good Morning America has named it as “best college hang out in the nation,” but it’s not just for the teens and young adults. One has the choice of 8”, 12” or 16” of pizza (the 16” inch feeds three-four, and it actually does). You’ll leave Shakespeare’s with a full stomach that can last the whole game…and then some. Shakespeare’s prides itself on being different from any other place out there by placing the equal amount of each topping on the pizza no matter if you get one topping or many. For example, a 16” pepperoni pizza should have 28 pepperonis on it, and if you add any more toppings, you will get 28 of those as well. They are also unique in their drink choices offering both Coke and Pepsi products…

Another good local dive is the Heidelberg not located too far from Shakespeare’s on 9th street. This is a great place if you’re traveling with kids, want to eat somewhere nice, but not too nice. They have a great American style menu with your regulars of burgers, pastas, wraps salads, etc., but they also have some of their own favorites such as their country fried steak – a personal favorite of mine or their popular Kansas City Strip steak. They have both inside seating and then an upstairs for patio seating. There’s a bar available on the main floor so any drink that you would like with your meal is just an order away. On Sunday’s there is a breakfast buffet offered at 10 a.m. so you can well fed hitting the road again.

Addison’s and Boone’s Tavern are up there, too, on the list of Columbia cuisine and are strongly encouraged for visitor’s to try. As for the nightlife, you’ll want to journey towards Harpo’s (Tenth St.) or Fieldhouse (Broadway & Hitt Street) to experience the best of what downtown Columbia has to offer. Even the ESPN Gameday crew made it down to Harpo’s last year when they were here for the Oklahoma game so it’s a pretty big deal.

Faurot Field is fun place to watch a game.

The Stadium: Faurot Field

Where does one even begin to describe what one of the best stadiums the Big 12 has to offer…for starters, the stadiums horseshoe design allows for the fan noise to carry throughout the whole city of Columbia. Whether you make it to the game or not, you can believe that all of Columbia, MO knows exactly when the Tigers are winning, or losing, though that rarely happens for the Tigers at home. The Missouri Tigers won their first six home games when the stadium first opened, and now have currently won 31 in their past 36 home games. Coach Gary Pinkel’s have experienced numerous “undefeated at home” seasons, which in turn has led Missouri to have some of the best Big 12 attendance numbers with an average around 65,000 fans per home game. The stadium is said to seat about 71,004, but considering that hardly anybody sits during a Mizzou home game they have been able to house up to 75,000+ for big games like the one vs. Penn State in 1980.

Faurot Field has history dating all the way back to 1926 and has many longstanding traditions still in place. One being any freshman who’s interested coming to the stadium the week before the Tigers home opener ever season to paint the rocks that make up the 95-foot-long, 95-foot wide ‘M’ that sits right outside of the stadiums north endzone. Seating is also available on the grass when the bleachers are said to be full or at maximum capacity. There are numerous in-game traditions Mizzou is known for: Truman, the official mascot, riding on the official Missouri fire truck spraying the student section with the truck’s hose to get the fans motivated to cheer on their Tigers or doing push-ups for every point that Mizzou scores, and “Big Mo,” a Chicago theatrical drum donated to the school by the St. Louis Tiger club boosters, has become a premier tradition in recent years and every time it’s struck you know there’s another six on the board for M-I-Z Z-O-U.

With the traditions, fan engagement, and an 80 feet by 31.5 HD screen that sits above the south endzone, Missouri’s Faurot field in amongst the upper echelon of Big 12 stadiums and a must visit!

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