Lots of places offer cheap, flimsy punch cards that entitle you to a free coffee or a free smoothie when you’ve met a certain quota.
But at Branson’s Level 2 Steakhouse, “frequent fliers” who show up a mere five times receive their very own steak knife engraved with their very own name. It’s called the Cut Club and so far, more than 3000 people have qualified. The knives are alphabetized and kept in a special case in the kitchen. Mickey Gilley and Andy Williams are just two who have earned their own engraved knife.
Even newbies have the opportunity to survey a fine collection of steak knives and pick that special one for cutting into their ever-so juicy filet mignon, Kansas City strip, ribeye, porterhouse or prime rib. Think of it as match.com for the carnivore.
But to get a custom-engraved knife, an amazing perk if ever there was one, it does require five visits. But, believe me, that requirement is a piece of Missouri Butter Cake. Once you have your first taste of this locally-sourced, 28-day aged Midwestern corn-fed beef, fired to perfection in a 1600-degree infrared oven, wild horses will not be able to keep you away.
Already, management was forced to discontinue one of the knives, a stainless steel Bowie knife that retails as Bass Pro for several time more than five steaks.
“We’d have gone out of business if we kept that one in the collection,” joked Bill Derbins, general manager of Hilton Branson Convention Center.
Of course, steak isn’t the only thing on the Level 2 menus. There’s fresh seafood flown in daily from Hawaii, locally-raised Heritage Missouri pork and deserts so decadent you’ll definitely want to run the nearby mile and a half footpath along Lake Taneycomo. But don’t be surprised if you’re yelling, “Level 2 Steakhouse is amazingly awesome” as you run with unfettered joy.
My personal desert favorites were the Missouri Butter Cake, a gooey, moist butter cake with bourbon caramel sauce, fresh raspberries, ice cream and, as if that wasn’t enough, whipped cream, and a Seven-Layer-Chocolate Cake that could feed the entire Osmond family.
Level 2 Steakhouse is on the second floor of the sleek, 12-story tower that makes up the Hilton Branson Convention Center. It’s also known as the miracle hotel because just seven months after a Leap Day tornado blew out nearly 3400 panes of glass, the hotel was back open for business with new carpeting and new green upgrades.