Osage Beach welcomes new regional franchise, Bonnie Cafe

Vicki Wood
Lake Sun Leader

Following in the tradition of offering a family dining experience of lake area favorite Kay’s Restaurant, Bonnie Cafe has opened their doors in the same location in Osage Beach. Although new to the lake area, the owners of the cafe, the Hubbard family are not new to the restaurant business.

The family has five locations in Southern Illinois, this newest location is their sixth, and their first venture in Missouri. The food is definitely midwestern with a few unique nods to Illinois, and a touch of southern cooking roots. The matriarch of the Bonnie Cafe family is Melissa Hubbard, who’s first venture into the culinary field was as a teen working under a southern lady in a restaurant in Camden, Ark., on the border of Arkansas and Texas. 

Working alongside Melissa in the kitchen is her son, Brett, as the head chef, and daughter, Brittany,  overseeing the restaurant floor. Dad, Brian, is still managing carry out operations at the other five locations in southern Illinois. All of the Hubbard’s restaurants offer up the same type of comfort food menu with daily specials customers can find listed on handwritten daily special wall boards. Melissa offers up daily blue plate specials like fried chicken, liver and onions, meatloaf, or chicken and dumplings, choice of three sides, and it comes with hot roll or cornbread, and a choice from three desserts. Everything is fresh and homemade with an emphasis on comfort food. The salads are not your typical deli salad — these are the kind you’d find at a potluck or backyard barbecue.  

Chef Brett is in his early 20s, but started cooking alongside mom and dad when he was about 14. The Hubbard’s have been in the restaurant business since 1993. 

“We’ve had a condo here for six years, and we’ve always thought about doing this, and just finally said to each other, we never will know if we don’t try it. The Kay’s location was perfect and exactly what we wanted after meeting with the previous owners,” Melissa said. The interior of the former Kay’s restaurant stays pretty much intact, with just a few updates to some of the wall decor, and Bonnie’s pictures from Illinois.

Melissa has worked with The Artful Pie to create a special “Ozark White Pie,” similar to the “White Pie” a regional staple in Illinois made with egg whites, vanilla and sugar. For Bonnie’s white chocolate is added to create a light and delicate pie with a cookie crust.   

Melissa said Bonnie’s sources their beef locally to ensure quality and freshness. It’s their hamburgers, she said, that they are known for in Illinois.

Bonnie’s Cafe

4196 Osage Beach Parkway, Osage Beach

Open 6 a.m.-8 p.m. except for Wednesdays.

Lake Sun Leader