By Savanah Mandeville


For more than two decades, Red Onion Cafe has been a gem of downtown dining in Joplin.

Known for its inviting ambiance, unparalleled customer service and cool, historic building, Red Onion is the type of restaurant everyone talks about and visits again and again.

Part of the enduring allure of Red Onion, located at 203 E. Fourth Street, are the tried-and-true classics on the menu.

“A lot of times when people come to Red Onion, it’s because they have their favorite Red Onion dish they crave,” said General Manager John Starchman, who has been with the restaurant since the beginning. “When people tell us that our food looks and tastes the same today as it did over 20 years ago, that is a huge compliment. For us, consistency is key. We want our customers to keep coming back again and again for the items they’ve come to know and love.”

Things like the French onion soup and Tuxedo Chicken will always be Red Onion staples, but Starchman has been busy adding a number of new menu offerings in recent months.

“We love getting inspired, trying new things and keeping it fun,” he said. “We’ve been doing different dinner specials on weekends, and we keep changing it up.”

Two of the new lunch specials are the shrimp and spinach alfredo and the shrimp and avocado salad paired with a half chicken salad sandwich. The shrimp in the salad is marinated in a unique chipotle lime creme sauce. Oh, and the bread on the sandwich? That’s the mouthwatering wheatberry bread which is, in my opinion, the best bread you can find in town. P.S.: Red Onion sells it by the loaf.


For dinner, they’ve added a savory bacon-wrapped pork loin with caramelized onions served over creamed spinach and mushrooms with smashed new potatoes.

Finally, there are a number of new gourmet cakes on the dessert menu. First, the new turtle cheesecake is already a fan favorite. The red velvet, chocolate layer cake, Italian cream cake and Key Lime pie are from Apple Road Farm in Carthage. Did I mention the Key Lime is low carb and gluten free? Starchman and the team at Red Onion are big supporters of the keto diet and still offer their separate, keto-friendly menu.

With the weather turning chilly and crisp, it’s the perfect time to try a fall beer! Red Onion just got in an assortment of fall flavors including the O’Fallon Pumpkin Beer, Best Brown Ale from Bell’s Brewery, and Sam Adams Octoberfest. For something on the lighter side, Red Onion keeps several low-calorie beers on hand. Did you know there’s such a thing as a low-calorie IPA? Enjoy the full flavor of an IPA without the guilt with a Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty Ale.

Fall is upon us, and the holidays are approaching. Take some time to kick back with a seasonal brew and a scrumptious meal before the end-of-the-year festivities get underway!