The Red Barn Café and Hen House Bakery has two locations in Mt. Vernon, Missouri, which is about a 30 minute drive from Springfield. And, oh boy, is it worth that 30 minute drive! My daughter and I went to the 107 W. Mt. Vernon Blvd. location, which is on the main road in Mt. Vernon, but there is a second location at 101 N. Hickory St.
As the name implies, both locations are painted to resemble the traditional, little, red barn. The parking lot at the 107 W. Mt. Vernon Blvd. location is large and spacious, perfect for those traveling cross country in trailers, RVs or other large vehicles. And since the restaurant is on the main road, it’s just a short distance off the highway.
The dinner special when my daughter and I were there was all you can eat soup, salad and fried chicken. The chicken smelled fantastic, but the dining area was very busy so we opted to order from the menu rather than fight through the crowd.
What we ordered:
I ordered a Red Barn Club Sandwich, which comes with a side of fries. I opted for the Suzy Q fries. The sandwich arrived on a single plate cut into fourths. And it definitely needed to be cut because if it had been left whole eating it would have been tricky. It filled the entire oval-shaped plate by itself. The fries arrived on a separate platter of the exact same size, and filled the entire plate as well. They are very generous with their potion sizes at The Red Barn.
The sandwich was very rich. The bread was perfectly toasted to keep the bread from getting soggy and allowing the sandwich to fall apart. The sandwich meats were juicy, but not dippy, and there was just enough mayonnaise to add flavor without bursting out of the sides and making a mess.
The fries were a disappointment for both my daughter and I. We are, admittedly, fry snobs though, as we like only crispy fries with spices on them- if we need to use ketchup, we view the fries as a failure. The Red Barn fries were too soggy and bland for our taste. Even dumping salt on them just left something to be desired. However, everyone else in the restaurant - and it was a full house - seemed to be enjoying the Suzy Q fries greatly as they were the most popular side dish we saw coming out.
My daughter ordered the chicken fried steak, which comes with all you can eat soup and salad from the buffet, as well as a potato side - mashed potatoes, baked potatoes or fries - and a vegetable side - green beans or corn. My daughter opted for a baked potato and green beans.
To start with the salad bar, it was lacking in variety with only some meager basics - there wasn‘t even a container of ranch dressing, but the greens were fresh and the dressings they did have looked like it was regularly replaced.
The green beans came with bits of bacon in them. This lended a smokey, meaty flavor to the green beans, as well as a honey sweet flavor. It was a delicious combination.
Baked potatoes at The Red Barn are massive; I’m talking bigger than your fist sized. It comes with a dollop of butter in it and a package of sour cream on the side. It was well cooked with the entire inside being softened.
And finally, the chicken fried steak was fantastic. It was the absolute perfect, typical comfort food for us Midwesterners and The Red Barn delivered flavor in spades. The gravy was thick and rich and the entire steak was thoroughly coated in breading - not a spot missed like some other restaurants deliver, and hope the gravy will cover it.
Oh wait, did I say finally before? I lied. As we passed by the dessert cabinet on our way to pay our bill, we just could not pass up the cinnamon rolls. Who could? They had to be at least 10 inches across and 5 inches thick, minimum! Just check out these amazing pictures!
We grabbed two of those to take home with us, and despite full bellies, we were able to take a small bite of each one. They were so decadently sweet with just the right amount of icing. You’ve been warned, when you eat at The Red Barn, leave room for dessert. It’s well worth it. We also debated buying one of the delicious looking pies, or a pie slice at least, but our stomachs were nearly bursting. So maybe next time.
Cinnamon rolls are $3.50 apiece.
A whole pie is $13.95.
The buffet dinner special is $9.50.
Chicken fried steak with potato and vegetable side, as well as all you can eat salad and soup buffet, is $10.95.
The club sandwich, with a side of fries - which is an entire plate full - is $8.50.
A steak, cooked to your order, is $15.