Dive Dining to Die For!

If you haven’t yet, you need to “wise up” and visit this great little gourmet sandwich shop!

Wise Guys Sandwich Pub and the Bread Bowl Bakery are in the heart of the Bagnell Dam Strip in Luby’s Plaza. The names for both were created one night long ago when the three generations of John Leavers (grandfather, father and grandson) were sitting on a dock imbibing three of their favorite libations.

The three are indeed wise guys — as in smart alecks — and describe themselves thusly: Jack Y. Leaver Sr. (founding mentor/partner); Jack Y. Leaver Jr. (mentors founder/partner); and John Y. Leaver 3rd (mentors both/partner). John the 3rd currently runs the place. The Leavers say they got into the restaurant business because they are “glutens for punishment (no
bun intended)”!

They started the Bread Bowl Bakery 17 years ago. It’s a wholesale bakery providing bakery products to just about all the non-chain restaurants, approximately 130, in the greater Lake area including Wobbly Boots, Backwater Jacks, Li’l Rizzo’s and more. Some customer favorites are pretzel buns, potato bread, asiago buns and the 3-herb baguette.

They then opened Wise Guys — of course using Bread Bowl bakery products — to rave reviews in 2012. Wise Guys also offers an excellent selection of craft beers, most of which are made in Missouri.

John says their food isn’t really plain OR fancy. “We fancied-up plain,” he says. “We take the good old classics and make a from-scratch twist that will tickle your fancy.” The menu includes Fish Tacos that were voted No. 1 at the Lake; TJ’s B.L.T. (homemade bacon and tomato jam make this OMG amazing!); and Spicy MothaClucka — self explanatory.

Daily lunch specials often include items not on the regular menu. Some recent offerings sounded really yummy, such as: Chicken Parm Quesadilla; Creole Fish Club; Cheeseburger Nachos; Pickle Soup; Crispy Chicken Club Tacos; and lots of other mouthwatering goodies. Check out their Facebook page for daily specials.

Diners can sit indoors or out, and John describes the atmosphere as “Formally informal, fine diving dining at its best!” Customers keep coming back because everything is homemade, they have a semi-size smoker, and some have said that their “munchies are to die for”! They are planning on opening a seasonal retail location on the strip right next to Wise Guys, a little shop to satisfy that sweet tooth while visiting the Bagnell Dam Strip. •

Wise Cracker
Fresh 3-herb baguette from Bread Bowl Bakery
Roasted garlic cream cheese
Lettuce, torn into small pieces
Tomato slices
In-house smoked turkey breast, thinly sliced
Homemade bacon
Jalapeño pepper, sliced crosswise
Lay’s potato chips
Spread baguette on both halves with roasted garlic cream cheese. Layer the fillings in order: Lettuce, tomatoes, smoked turkey, homemade bacon, jalapeño slices and potato chips. Top with other half of baguette. Serve with potato salad