1005 E. Walnut St.
Columbia Missouri 6520165201United States
It's more caf than steak house by any fair accounting, but Ernie's has been drawing students since the Great Depression.
For true diner ambience in Columbia, you really need to grab a booth or a seat at the counter at this eatery on the northern edge of downtown, open for breakfast and lunch. A hangout for Mizzou students since 1934, Ernie's isn't large, and although it fashions itself as a steak house, the beef on the menu is more about providing the body with protein than any kind of elegant dining experience. The "chopped cow sandwiches"--or hamburgers, as they're known elsewhere--are popular, especially with the milk shakes. The walls prominently display works of a couple of Ernie's regulars from days long gone--cartoons by Missouri alumni Chester Gould (the pencil behind Dick Tracy's crimefighting adventures) and Mort Walker (best known for sketching the antics of GI layabout Beetle Bailey). A giant drawing by Gould hangs just outside the kitchen and graces the cover of the menu, to boot.