SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– On opening day at the Ozark Empire Fair, hungry fairgoers can expect the usual: corndogs, funnel cakes, lemonade, and, of course, deep-fried sweets (we didn’t walk very far onto the grounds before seeing signs for deep-fried cheesecake on a stick).
But fairway foodies can also expect some new faces. Multiple Southwest Missouri restaurant and food truck owners have chosen this to be their first year on the fair-food stretch.
We talked to three of these rookies just a few hours before the crowds rushed in.
1. Fat Tony’s Pizza Kitchen
Operating as a traveling food truck, mostly working in a 50-mile radius around the Springfield-Republic area, Fat Tony’s isn’t new to festivals and big events. It is new to the fair this year.
Fat Tony’s will be serving made-to-order pizza by the slice, which isn’t exactly a typical “fair food” (e.g., your deep-fried Oreo or chocolate-covered bacon), but the owner is positive its pizza’s authenticity will attract fairgoers.
2. Eat and Enjoy
It’s a simply named food truck out of Cabool, specializing in the Russian/Ukranian pastries known as “pirozhkis.”
The stuffed buns, which come filled with chicken, pork, beef, or fruit, will “make everything else seem middle of the road” according to the truck’s cook team.
However, the pirozhkis are accompanied on the food trucks menu by burgers and other more common eats (if your fellow fair-goers aren’t up for trying the more exotic dish).
3. NoBaked Cookie Dough
Dessert is always saved for last, right?
This brick and mortar chain started in Nashville and has been operating in a strip mall on Republic for only three months.
And while business has been steady, the Springfield location’s franchise owner says it’s time to spread out and reach the people on the north side of town. He’s hoping a stand along the fairway’s food stretch will be NoBake’s foot in the door.