Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Sunday Revival

This Sunday Janene and I attended our eighth show church.  This particular show church was called Sunday Revival and is led by John and Debbie Davis.  This particular show church takes place each Sunday at 10:00 a.m. in the Elite Cinema III at the IMAX.

Unlike many other show churches, this one is not strong on music.  The music is led by John Davis and the preaching is done by John Davis.  He is accompanied by his wife, Debbie Davis, on the keyboard.

John Davis classifies himself as an evangelist and evidently does some revivals during the week.  His background appears to be Assemblies, but I may be mistaken.  You will hear old time songs, and many times will hear expressions such as "May I have an A-Men on that."

A collection is taken.

Services begin at 10 and end shortly after 11.  If you like Reverend Davis, you will like the services.  If you don't, you won't.

Show churches are, like art, a matter of taste.  

In my opinion, there are more interesting show churches available; but feel free go and judge for yourself.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sculpture Outside of Branson Post Office


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Branson Eating Tips

Eating Out in Branson-Some General Comments and Tips

Branson caters to tourists. Like other cities that cater to tourists prices are likely to be higher than usual and quality less than expected. This is a generalization and does not hold true for every restaurant of course. However, in a town with a strong tourist trade, many of the customers are not repeat customers by nature allowing the owners to serve substandard food at excessive prices. My tips to visitors to Branson are as follows:

  • Eat before you come. (Just kidding.)
  • Eat at chains. A chain restaurant such as McDonald's or Taco Bell will have generally the same prices as elsewhere and the same quality. We also have Steak and Shake, Olive Garden and the like. Stay with a chain and you won't go insane.
  • Keep in mind that you came to visit Branson to have a good time and not necessarily to have a grand culinary experience. (You may have an adventuresome culinary experience; but not necessarily a grand one). If you want a grand culinary experience you might try Rome or Paris or even New York.
  • Read my blog where I review restaurants.
  • Most pizza chains will deliver to your room.
  • If you are really adventuresome, read the Taney County Food Inspection in The Branson TriLakes News. As I write this I am looking at the June 23, 2012 edition and find that one of my favorite restaurants did not pass inspection and had 2 Non-Critical Violations and 7 Critical Violations. Wow, check it if you dare or go to this site and type in the name of the restaurant where you plan to eat: http://www.taneycohealth.org/inspections.php
  • Carry a supply of tums, Pepto Bismol, and various antiacids in your travel kit.
  • Get a room with a microwave and a refrigerator and bring in frozen foods from Wal-Mart or a grocery store. You will save a boatload of money and the quality should be as good as you get at some of the travel restaurants.
  • If the restaurant caters to buses, or if you see a bus there, just keep on driving.
With these tips you should be able to survive your trip to Branson.

Jackie B. Goode's Uptown Cafe

My wife and I have been regulars at the Uptown Cafe since the late 1990's.  We have recommended it to our friends, enjoyed listening to the juke box, having a great steak burger and a shake or malt.  I am disappointed to report that there have been a number of recent changes in the Uptown that causes it to fall in our esteem as a fun Branson restaurant.

The first item is that we used to come in during the evenings and listen to a wonderful Wurlitzer Juke Box.  You could pay some coin and choose an old fashioned song.  The last few times we have visited, the Wurlitzer sits darkened and apparently abandoned.

Second, the Uptown is loosing its identity as a cafe.  After some renovations and  a show area was put in,  entertainers would come in during the evening and sing for tips.  This was fun.  You could eat and get some cheap entertainment.  Things have changed.  Now the Uptown Cafe has decided it is a dinner theater.  From Tuesday through Friday they have dinner at 7 p.m. and a show at 8 p.m.  I talked with the cashier and learned that beginning at 6:30 each evening non-theater customers are shuffled off to the side and back so they will  not accidentally hear the show.  

In order to keep revenues up, the Uptown is trying to simultaneously serve both types of customers.

Here is what our experience was.  We got there about 7.  Although we were in the front of the waiting line, we had to wait while paying show customers behind us were seated.  Then we were moved off to the side as  far as possible from the show.  In effect, we had become "second class" customers and we felt like it.

The food was good.  The service by Amanda was excellent.  The overall dining experience was however far poorer than we had experienced in the past.

This review does not deal with the show which we did not see nor hear.

My recommendation is do not eat here during show times which would be 6:30 p.m. and afterwards on Tuesday through Friday.  You might try it for lunch.  We will probably not.

  A final comment, is that when restaurants continue to make modifications such as this there is trouble ultimately in the wind.  That is a sad state of events especially since the Uptown Cafe has had a good reputation in the past.  Trip Advisor rates them in the 50's out of 300 restaurants.  After my experience I would rate them considerably lower than Trip Advisor.

Unfortunately, we can no longer recommend the Uptown Cafe.

Attached is a copy of their current menu as well as a few other photos:

The Seating for the Theater area at about 7:30 p.m.

Our Seating in a Different part of the Restaurant at about 7:30 p.m.

The Uptown at Night

Sunday, August 26, 2012


We went to Sadie's for lunch today.  My best advice is not to go.  I checked Trip Advisor for restaurants in Branson after we ate there and it was rated #177.  I understand why.

The fried chicken was OK.  There were a choice of various potatoes and dressing.  There were ribs which I tried but found them to be unappetizing.  The salad bar was mediocre although the lettuce was fresh.

There were four types of cobbler for dessert including apple, peach, cherry and blackberry.

The buffet was $8.95 per person.  Sandwiches are about $7.95 per person making the buffet a no-brainer until you taste the food.

We would not recommend Sadie's.  Sorry Sadie.

 Keep on driving down Highway 76.

Below are some pictures (but warning the pictures look better than the food tastes):

The Grand Old Gospel Hour with Sam Stauffer

The Grand Old Gospel Hour with Sam Stauffer

Today we continued our exploration of the Branson Show Church Scene. We visited The Grand Old Gospel Hour. This service is held each Sunday at the Dick Clark Theater beginning at 10:00 a.m. The ushers did a good job greeting us at the door. Despite the fact that they got us down to the front row (which Janene and I work studiously to avoid) they were friendly and all worked out OK.

The service began promptly at 10. Praise and worship was led by a worship team Words to the songs were projected on a screen behind the praise team. The songs were a mixture of new songs and old songs. I thought that the praise team did a fairly good job and that it was better than many show churches which tend to major on performance instead of participation.

The Grand Old Gospel Hour takes prayer requests. These requests are prayed over on Wednesday evenings and purportedly are not removed from the master list unless requested. Also the The Grand Old Gospel Hour supports some mission outreaches in third world countries including India.

By 10:40 the singing, offering and special music had been completed and it was time for the preachin' to begin. The preaching is done by Sam Stauffer. Pastor Stauffer originally came from Joplin, Missouri and has a wide background including Methodist and Christian influences. He spent some time in California at Melodyland Christian Center. He described himself in his preaching as being a “bapticostal” which meant that he had some familiarity with Charismatic Baptist influences.

It is very clear from the service and the preaching that Pastor Stauffer and The Grand Old Gospel Hour are both orthodox Christian in background and theology and are ecumenical in outlook realizing that on non-essentials Christians can differ. It is also clear from the preaching that Pastor Stauffer is on a long-term personal Christian pilgrimmage. Pastor Stauffer made it clear that in his life the issue is the presence of Christ not position nor power.

My wife, Janene, rated the service as an 8 out of a max of 10. I thought this was a very positive rating so I pass it on. Pastor Stauffer had something to say and for me that is better than most.

Janene and I would recommend this church as a place to visit. You can learn more about the church by going to www.gospelhour.org. You can obtain additional information on this church by calling 417-337-8888.

And yes, Pastor Stauffer, you knew you had some words for someone special. We were those people. Congratulations, you got it right.

Below are some pictures of the church:

Go to the entrance of The Dick Clark Theater

The Entrance to the theater is just South of the Midtown Cafe which is attached to the theater.

The Inside of the Theater

The Praise Team

A Little Cool Jazz to begin the Service

Two Members of the Praise Team

Pastor Sam Stauffer

Leader of the Praise Team

Pastor Sam Stauffer
(I told them to watch where they sat me.  :-) )

Preachin' Atcha

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Early Ford V-8 Get Together

This morning I was driving home from the Fitness Center and spotted a number of old cars.  Now this is not unusual in Branson where there are always old cars, motorcycles or trikes in abundance.  The get together was held at the Radisson Hotel and was a meeting of the Early Ford V-8 Club.  They had not only a vehicle exhibition but a place where you could swap or buy parts.  Below are some pictures.  I hope you enjoy them.