By Kathy Roberts, L.O. Profile Editor | Photos by Brad Glidewell

From a well-known, small yet upscale waterfront restaurant known as Gregory’s to a three-story megaplex, Camden on the Lake has developed quite the reputation for exquisite menu options for on-the water dining.

The ever popular H. Toads Bar & Grill gives tourists and locals a unique indoor/outdoor dining experience with a more casual atmosphere for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests arrive by boat or car and are treated to a variety of great food, cold beverages and live music, all while looking out over the fantastic views of the Lake. It’s a place to come and enjoy hanging out with friends. Food options are varied, from “surf and turf ” with South African lobster and center cut filets to the ever-so-desired burgers and wraps, as well as award-winning buffalo chicken wings. And don’t forget to try some frog legs, either Cajun fried or pan-seared with garlic butter.

The Frisky Frog is a waterfront sports bar, open Memorial Day to Labor Day, and has a more laid-back atmosphere, serving pizza, wings and mouthwatering nachos. Chef Chris (“Red”) Messinio, a native Californian, moved to Lake of the Ozarks in 1994. After several other positions at the Lake and in St. Louis, he came to the Horny Toad working under Chef Stephan Haney. In 2011 he advanced to the Executive Chef position.

Some of Chef Red’s signature dishes include blackened grouper sandwich and a rich and creamy seafood mac and cheese with rock lobster, shrimp, lump crab and five different cheeses. The menu is very diverse, offering a wide variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and entrées.

Chef Red’s down-to-earth attitude is reflected in his menu design and management of kitchen staff. He attributes his successes to his relationships and education under great chefs, as well as his wonderful employees. He resides in Eldon, Missouri, with his fiancée Jennifer and two sons, Brady, 7, and Jordan, 16. •

Roasted Banana and Chocolate Bread Pudding

1 loaf Hawaiian Bread
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 bananas
2 cups heavy cream
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. melted butter
1½ cups sugar
1½ cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bread into cubes, toss with a little cinnamon and sugar, then toast in oven for about 5 minutes. Peel and slice bananas and place on cookie sheet in single layer and roast in oven for 5minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Combine heavy cream, eggs, vanilla extract, melted butter and sugar.
Whisk until sugar is dissolved.

Place half the toasted bread in an 8½- by 11-inch baking dish, layer roasted bananas on top of bread, then sprinkle half the chocolate chips over the bananas. Layer with remaining toasted bread and chocolate chips on top. Pour heavy cream custard mixture over the top; make sure to cover entire bread mixture with the custard. Let set for 5-10 minutes before baking.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Serve warm with Caramel Rum Sauce.

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