Off the beaten path: Dinner with an unexpected guest

Moreland's is said to be home to a guest that you won't find anywhere else.

Mid-Missouri is home to many great choices when it comes to enjoying a meal out, and many of those restaurants aren't on major highways or in big cities.

One restaurant near Vienna is "Off the beaten path", and it's also home to a guest that you won't find anywhere else.

The locals all know it, and the out-of-towners quickly find out why Moreland's in Vienna serves up catfish like none other.

Becki Duncan is the general manager at Moreland's and she says customers come from all over the country to experience the unique atmosphere and great food, "Just last week we had people here from New York. We recently had a big family from Rhode Island. Pretty much all over"

Everyone seems to agree the catfish can't be beat, but how do they do it?


There's a secret and I won't tell you! Everyone has tried. We have a couple of secret ingredients and they will remain a secret," Duncan said of Moreland's catfish.

Many customers come back again and again for the great food, but some say there's one guest that never leaves.

In 1945 there was a car wreck just below the hill of Moreland's. A young woman named Cynthia was driving her 1939 Plymouth when the car hit black ice on the Hwy 63 bridge. Cynthia was killed in the accident, and the car is still visible today in the woods.

Employees and customers say Cynthia's spirit remains at Moreland's. Many say they've seen her on different occasions.

"She likes to be known, and she wants people to acknowledge her. But she doesn't cause any harm so we let her stay," Duncan explained.

Even though she hasn't had any contact with her, employee and customer Kelcie Brunnert is aware that Cynthia is around, "People here have heard doors slamming and have seen her over their shoulder, but I haven't, and I hope not to either!"

And as long as Moreland's keeps their secret catfish recipe on the menu, there's one thing that's for sure: Customers won't be scared off by Cynthia.