Feeding Your Wild Side at Tonanzio's

1 decade 2 years 5 months ago Tuesday, June 20 2006 Jun 20, 2006 Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:51:00 AM CDT June 20, 2006 in News

"Not too many places can you go and the person waiting on you has killed the alligator, harvested the alligator, cooked the alligator, and served the alligator to you, so that's a unique situation in itelf," said Adrienne Branson, daughter of Tom Dawson, Tonanzio's owner. "Well, my brother said it tastes just like iguana, but how many people have had iguana?"

Adrienne's brother, Drake Dawson, added, "Everybody that has it, likes it. I don't have anybody that doesn't like it."

The family travels around the world to bring back those dishes.

"Charged by an elephant, charged by a leopard, charged by a Cape buffalo, black rhinos, face to face with not-fun snakes like Cape cobras, black mambas and all that kind of thing," Drake recalled. "It's exciting, fun, dangerous, all those wrapped up into one."

Most customers come for an out-this-world experience.

"People come here and they've never seen some of these animals before and some people will never have the opportunity to see these animals," explained Branson. "So this gives them a neat way to really respect the animals and learn about the animals by seeing them here, displayed."

And none of them are endangered species.

"It's just like any other conservation or recycling," Branson added. "You have to plan and you have to control the population, just like we have our Missouri deer population. You don't control it, it's going to get out of hand. Nothing is endangered in here, contrary to what people believe."

From catching a blue marlin off the South African coast to Louisiana 'gators, Tonanzio's takes you on a safari adventure. Tonanzio's also has a summer camp where kids learn how to cook those dishes.

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