Table Talk

Table Talk: June 27–July 3

Foodie treats for the Fourth of July, Ariake Sushi & Robata opens, a new bubble tea spot in Springfield and more in Table Talk.

by Tessa Cooper

Jun 27 2023 at 8 a.m.

Ariake sushi Springfield MO photo by Tessa Cooper
Photo by Tessa CooperGrab a bite at the newly opened Ariake Sushi & Robata.

Get On Over to Ariake

Ariake Sushi & Robata (1110 E. Battlefield Rd.) started accepting reservations last week on OpenTable, and you better bet we’ve already made our way there for a menu sampling (and that we’re already planning our next visit). Come a little thirsty because the drink menu includes everything from wine to sake to light and refreshing beers like Yuengling. Fair warning: If you’re a seafood fan, you’re going to have a hard time deciding what to order. We highly suggest starting your meal with some East Coast oysters, which make a refreshing summer appetizer thanks to the mint garnish. One thing you can’t forgo is the tuna cigars topped with caviar. They come to your table in a cigar box, and get your camera ready because a cloud of smoke releases when your server opens the lid. A variety of nigiri should also be on your lineup, and of course, you might as well order a sushi roll while you’re at it. If seafood isn’t your thing, you’ll definitely not be left out. The Korean fried chicken doesn’t disappoint, and we are currently craving another round of the bacon-wrapped tomato skewers ourselves. The tomatoes taste especially sweet this time of year, and the bacon fat softens them to perfection. Hungry yet?  🍱🍣

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Tea Time

A new bubble tea place just sprouted up on the southside! Teaology Boba Cafe is now open at 1111 E. Republic Rd. Ste. 120. They offer some unique flavors that we haven’t seen around town yet, like ube, which gets its vibrant purple color from the addition of yam and matcha fusions with fruit like mango. Sparkling juices and Vietnamese coffees are also on the menu. And now for perhaps the most exciting part, beverages aside: They will soon serve half a dozen different kinds of banh mi sandwiches! They told us it will be about a month and a half before they start to serve them, and we can’t wait. Banh mi sandwiches are true flavor bombs, served on bread that is at once crispy and airy with toppings like char siu barbecue pork, tons of fresh herbs, and even some more unexpected options like bulgogi and teriyaki chicken. Since they weren’t serving banh mi yet when we visited on Friday, we tried the popcorn chicken with spicy-sweet dipping sauce (and it was excellent… so crispy and well seasoned) and the gyoza dumplings. As for drinks, we tried the strawberry-banana smoothie (made with real fruit, not just a boba tea powder!) with black boba, the taro smoothie with lychee jellies, and the passionfruit sparkling juice with crystal boba—and we loved them all. 🧋

There in Spirit

Copper Run Distillery (14720 Business 13, Branson West) has been closed for the past few weeks in order to make equipment upgrades and improvements to their rickhouse. But good news! They plan on re-opening this Saturday, July 1. Stop by for a tasting and a tour of the upgrades. Also, what’s more American than moonshine made in the Ozark Mountains? You can pick up a bottle for your Fourth of July celebration while you’re there. If you don’t have time to make it to Branson beforehand, you can also snag some at one of their retailers. 🥃

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Brent’s Burgers is Back, Baby

Team Taco (1454 E Cherry St.) is once again hosting one of our favorite summer traditions: Brent’s Burgers, where for one day only, the taco joint becomes a burger joint. On Sunday, July 2 from 11 a.m.—2:30 p.m., they’ll be serving their infamous smash burgers. They haven’t released the exact menu yet, but last year the burgers featured creative toppings like Dr. Pepper-soaked shallots, and they also dished out vegan patties from Jake’s Burgers and Nathan’s all-beef hotdogs. 🍔

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Bigg News for Downtown

Ernie Biggs’ Dueling Piano Bar (312 South Ave.) and The Big Slice (multiple locations) have teamed up to bring us a new arcade to downtown Springfield in the former Vintage Dance Lounge at (301 Park Central East). Named Bigg Time Arcade, it's set to open later this summer. They plan on having daytime hours that cater to families as well as later hours for the nightlife crowd. We’ll definitely come for the vintage pinball machines but stay for the pizza and drinks. 🍕🍺