Eating At the Lake of the Ozarks: 7 Questions for Michael Castle


The small business owners that work hard day in and day out are what help make the Lake of the Ozarks such a desirable destination all year ’round.

This week, we sat down with Michael Castle, owner of On The Rise Bakery & Woodfired Bistro in Osage Beach — To ask him how food has changed over the years, what it’s like to make it in the restaurant business, and what dishes he’s most excited about for this fall.

CWV: You’ve come full circle, beginning your culinary career at The Potted Steer in Osage Beach, graduating from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in NYC and now owner of On the Rise Bakery & Woodfired Bistro in Osage Beach, among other food-related ventures. How has the food scene evolved at the Lake of the Ozarks since you started your own culinary journey years ago?
MC: The foodie education in America has improved drastically over the 10 years or so with the advent of the Food Network as well as all ofimage1 the chef “personality” shows that are on television right now. I think it’s contributed to the elevation of the everyday chef at home and my customers come in to dine with a better idea of what we are trying to accomplish at On the Rise.

CWV: As we head full-swing into fall, what dishes and flavors are you most excited about at your restaurant?
MC: My favorite dish this time of year is our Meyer lemon Crispini with caramelized onions, prosciutto ham, goat cheese, arugula and of course, Meyer lemons.  It’s our way of holding onto the last burst of summer as we move into Autumn.

CWV: Many of our guests like to bake for their families and with their kids. Do you have any tips, tricks, or best practices when it comes to baking at home?
MC: Baking is mostly science with a lot of common sense thrown in. Don’t be afraid to try everything…it’s not like people will complain that your house smells great!

CWV: What serves as the inspiration for the delectable menu items you create at On the Rise?
MC: Inspiration…that comes from “everywhere” and it never ceases to slow down. I love to create.

CWV: What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of owning a restaurant at the Lake oimage3f the Ozarks?
MC: I think like most people, it’s the simple pride you take in doing things well. Owning a restaurant also provides a create outlet when it comes to food and design as well as the challenges of running what I believe to be the most difficult business one can enter into.

CWV: Who are a few of your culinary heroes and why them?
MC: Any chef that has managed to run a successful restaurant while holding himself and everyone around him to the highest of standards…Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria and Grant Achatz to name a few. But, I cannot leave my good friend Chef Dan Frederickson!

CWV: What advice or wisdom would you give to children, teens, or adults who or are considering the culinary path?
MC: First of all, there is no glamour in the restaurant business, despite what you see on television. The hours will be grueling, the demands never wane and to be successful in this business, you better be demanding of yourself as well as those around you and be confident in your own vision. If you’re okay with all of that, you are going to LOVE it!


Brunch At the Lake of the Ozarks: The Cozy Cafe

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

One of the best things about dining at the Lake of the Ozarks is that chain restaurants are few and far between. Instead, you’re going to find lots of home-cooked meals and friendly service.

The Cozy Cafe is a perfect example of hearty food your mom probably used to cook. This is the perfect breakfast or brunch destination at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Cozy serves up breakfast from 6:30am until 2:30. Take your pick of eggs (any way you like them), Belgian waffles, biscuits and gravy, homestyle omelets, and much more!

As far as lunch goes, they also offer a wide variety, including a deli-style Reuben, patty melt, Philly steak and cheese, and hand-cut rib eyes.

Check out a few of the latest reviews from Trip Advisor:

We have eaten here twice, once in 2011 and this year. Simple menu. Great food. Excellent staff. Good prices. Will eat there next time we visit. Only serves breakfast and lunch. – James H.

Due to other reviews I read on Trip Advisor, I stopped at the Cozy Cafe recently. The reviews are spot on. The food is good and plenty. The place is small, but accommodating of groups. There was a family of 16 who came in while we were there. This is a small place, so you might have to wait for a table during peak hours, but worth it. Their breakfast is really good. The pecan and banana waffle is really sinful! Prices are reasonable. – sj2013

The Cozy Cafe is located at 1018 State Highway Kk, Hwy. 54 & KK, Osage Beach, Missouri.

If you have any questions, feel free to give them a ring at 573-348-3325.