The Martinosky family offers a mix of fun and food in Branson, Mo.
BRANSON, MO. – Looking for a fun, friendly, and safe environment to be yourself, meet new people, and enjoy eating some of the best barbecues in Branson? Check out Crazy Craig’s Cheeky Monkey Bar in Branson, Mo.
Owned by “Crazy” Craig Martinosky Sr., and his sons “Cheeky” Craig and “Serious” Jesse Martinosky, this iconic local day and nighttime restaurant and barbecue is one of the many successful businesses of the Martinosky family. With a 4.7-star rating on Google after more than 4,000 reviews.
“We serve every demographic on earth,” Craig Sr, said. “We get families, seniors, locals, tourists, and businesspeople for lunch groups, happy hour, supper, late-night…We serve everybody. The main secret is our service. My son Craig wrote a protocol called 14 Steps of Great Client Service.
“We train our servers and bartenders to do 14 steps, and when they do, everybody feels like locals, they feel like family. They come back. You’ll never see anybody standing around. My people are on the move.”
He added Crazy Craig’s Cheeky Monkey Bar is the only establishment in town that doesn’t need a bouncer on Friday and Saturday nights.
Crazy Craig’s Cheeky Monkey is a name that uniquely describes the creativity of the bar’s owners while also capturing the unique characters who play a part in its opening and operation. Craig Martinosky Sr., grew up a farm boy.
“I’m the generation that left the farm,” he said. “I love the farm, but I didn’t like the unpredictability of it, so that’s why I left and joined the Navy to become a computer operator.”
Since leaving the farm, Craig has experienced a life that continually earns him the title of “Crazy Craig.”
In 1974, Craig turned down a job at the White House while in the Navy. In 1982, he won the North America Putting Championship as a professional Putt-Putt player. Alongside traveling the country and playing tournaments, Craig built 12 businesses, including three painting and roofing companies, an advertising business, a retail wallpaper store, five H&R Block offices, and two bars. In 2009, he was also Andy William’s business manager in Branson.
Despite his many listed, and many more unlisted, personal achievements, Craig earned the name Crazy Craig because he still to this day has never tasted a drop of alcohol, despite owning two resaturates/bars.
Crazy Craig’s son, Craig, is referred to as “Cheeky” Craig. Incorporating his nickname into a new business idea, Cheeky Monkey as a name and theme for the business seemed to be a winner. The Martinosky family decided adding to the name would solidify their creation with its own unique and distinguished personality within the local Branson, and now nationwide, community.
Brothers Cheeky Craig and Serious Jess both developed and still manage the kitchen and staff of the company. Together, they have more than 35 years in restaurant and bar experience. Their kitchen offers a selection of classic barbecue dishes while also providing a unique collection of new and innovative methods of barbecue presentation. Brisket nachos, pulled pork quesadillas and rib tips bring back fans again and again.
“Barbecue is our specialty,” Cheeky Craig explained. “We brine our pork and brisket for at least two days before we smoke it. We smoke ribs, we smoke our kielbasa sausage, all smoked with cherry wood, all smoked with the two smokers out front.”
Between their unique and classic barbecue dishes, the menu also offers classics like burgers, pizzas and chicken sandwiches.
People are also excited to learn more on the Cheeky Monkey name and its history. Built on Crazy Craig’s time in the Navy, this historical-fiction comedic narrative highlights a both positive and entertaining backstory to the bar’s creation. Involving a monkey found on Craig’s naval adventures, readers are taken through a fun and imaginative adventure, appropriate for a business whose atmosphere reflects these same characteristics.
Kids love the story, too. Crazy Craig’s Cheeky Monkey is very kid-friendly. They offer free pool until 6 p.m., daily. They also have dart boards, a non-explicit juke box, Jenga boards and other games for the whole family. However, minors must stay home after 10 p.m.
The Martinoskys also recently opened Crazy Craig’s Treehouse in Branson. The family took over what was the Outback Pub and turned it into their new Treehouse Bar.
“At the Treehouse, we got a chance to do a new menu. People were always asking for French fries, but we don’t have a fryer at Cheeky Monkey, Crazy Craig said. “We had a chance to offer a different selection, such as with our signature cocktails, classic drinks, hummus, naan-chos nan-bread nachos, French fries, and more,” said Cheeky Craig. “We are non-smoking at the Treehouse and have live music upstairs. What’s beautiful about it is the upstairs deck that has a tree growing in the middle of it. The whole building is orange.”
The treehouse has its own story about “Tuffy Toucan” who, Craig Sr. said, is named after [his] grandson who passed away, in homage to Tuffy.
Guests can find Crazy Craig at either of his bars greeting people as they enter the room. On Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, is right by the door of the Cheeky Monkey Bar. Later in the night, he will be over at the Treehouse.
“He’s known for his hugs,” Cheeky Craig said.
“My staff always gives us a hug when they leave work,” Crazy Craig added. “We love people here.”