Harry Truman’s neighborhood –a great family getaway, Part 2

Tasty treats beckon at Clinton's Soda Fountain on Independence Square.

Harry Truman’s pithy sayings are just as applicable today as they were when he was our thirty-third President. As you tour the town of Independence, Missouri, the ghost of Truman looms large.

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Wait a minute, Harry. There’s no need to venture into the kitchen at all. After all that shopping, a family’s bound to work up an appetite, and Independence’s eateries aim to please. You don’t have to go farther than historic Independence Square to find a plethora of restaurants catering to the whole family.

Ophelia’s Restaurant specializes in American cuisine, including apricot and plum glazed chicken, and pine nut crusted lamb loin, as well as gourmet salads. Café Verona features upscale Italian specialties, like gamberetto di scampi (shrimp scampi) and osso buco (veal shanks). If you’re in the mood for German Schnitzel, the Rheinland beckons. The Court House Exchange (serving burgers and beer since 1899) touts its house favorites of pork tenderloin and bread pudding, but its Court House Salad Bar is always in session, too.

Kids will appreciate the specialty pizzas at Square Pizza, where the pizzas are made “one square at a time.” If you feel like being creative, you can choose from nearly two dozen ingredients to make your own culinary (and, of course, square) masterpiece.

An exhibit on the Postwar Economic Boom at the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum is filled with 1950's vintage artifacts.

“The only thing new in this world is the history that you don’t know.” You can learn an awful lot about history in Independence, especially if you venture to the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum, 500 U.S. 24 Highway, where you’ll encounter a life-sized recreation of the Oval Office, and an award-winning film about Truman’s life and times. Many of the exhibits in the Museum are interactive, so you’ll never be bored. You can participate in one of the “decision theaters” where you learn what influenced the President to make some of his monumental decisions. And, yes, you can even be “President for a Day”! Who ever knew that learning about history could be this much fun?

Before leaving the Museum, you can stop at the Gift Shop and take home your very own “The Buck Stops Here” plaque.

Be sure to read Harry Truman’s neighborhood—a great family getaway, Part 1, to find out about shopping on Independence Square, Harry Truman’s neighborhood–a great family getaway, Part 3 to learn about the Puppetry Arts Institute, and Harry Truman’s neighborhood–a great family getaway, Part 4 to find a great place to stay in Independence. Patsy Bell Hobson’s “A weekend in Independence, MO” offers more tips for enjoying Independence. Our Independence, Missouri family getaway continues in Harry Truman’s neighborhood—a great family getaway, Part 3.

Photos courtesy of Independence Department of Tourism.


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