Oh-so-conveniently located across from our beloved Happy Fisherman, this Osage Beach favorite has been around for decades. Randy’s Frozen Custard is one of those places that drips with cool, sweet happiness every hot summer evening, as folks line up for frozen treats.
Every vacation area has a place like this. In northern Ohio, for instance, up by Cedar Point amusement park, there’s the Pied Piper—been around since the fifties.
At Missouri’s hot and humid Lake of the Ozarks, by evening, most vacationers have already spent hours in the sunshine, boating, fishing, swimming, golfing, jet-skiing, staggering in and out of shops, and all the rest of that tourist stuff. (Don’t forget the skee-ball, go-karts, and bumper cars!) Naturally, you work up an appetite for frozen custard!
And hey, the locals enjoy Randy’s, too—they’ve spent the day taking care of all those tourists, and they need to replenish the nine billion calories they burned up doing that!
Randy’s specialty is the Ozark Turtle—a sundae made with frozen custard, gooey-sweet, warm caramel sauce, hot fudge, and topped with plenty of incredibly well-toasted pecans, that have a superb crunch and just enough salt to balance the sweetness of the rest. Check out the sizes: the “small” one is what I’d call a “regular” serving!
Yes, there are other places to get frozen dairy treats down at the lake, but you should put Randy’s at the top of your list—just for the nostalgia factor, if not for the value and the sheer deliciousness of the Ozark Turtle.
I recently tried to order a mock turtle sundae at our neighborhood soft-serve place, and there was no comparison. The pecans were listless, bland, and lacked crunch. The caramel was more sticky than flavorful. And it was built of that soft-serve stuff, vacant, not like delicious frozen custard. They meant well; they tried. But you get the picture. There, I think I’ll just stick to blueberry milkshakes and chocolate dip cones.
When at the lake, go to Randy’s. (And don’t confuse it with Andy’s, which seems to be an explosively expanding joint from Springdale or Springfield or somewhere, coming soon with four-billion-watt bright lights to a development near you.) Go to Randy’s.
One more thing: If you need a Randy’s fix and you’re stuck in Columbia for some reason, don’t fret—just head to the Hy-Vee shopping area out on West Broadway: There’s a Randy’s outpost there! A bonus of that location is that it’s close to Shakespeare’s Pizza West! So close, in fact, you can smell the pizza while you wait for your concretes and sundaes. (Heaven must be a lot like this, huh?)
“Kid-friendly” is, of course, a given. —So bring the family! Don’t be put off by a long line during peak hours; that just means it’s totally worth it!
One more thing—true story—one night this past week, it was about eight o’clock, and Sue and I drove all the way to Columbia just to get Ozark Turtles. Yes: it’s that good.