Must-Try Food Trucks in Southwest Missouri

From British comfort food to flavor-packed tacos, we've got your guide to the food truck dining scene in southwest Missouri.

By Adrienne Donica, Katie Pollock Estes, Evan Greenberg, Claire Porter, additional reporting by Jamie Thomas

Jan 2024

Food Trucks Around Springfield, Missouri We Love

Over the years, southwest Missouri’s food truck scene has slowly and quietly become a powerhouse for creative cuisine—cooked in close quarters and served al fresco. They’re a testament to the idea that good things come in small packages, as these unassuming little trucks, carts and trailers churn out inventive fusion, clever comfort food and delightful sweets. Our food trucks are a casual way to marry community and food, and we rounded up a few of our favorites for you.

Trailer Perk Coffee

2848 W. Chestnut Expy, Springfield
Trailer Perk Coffee brings caffeine-infused innovations to the Midwest. When Amber Ottoson was developing drinks for her coffee trailer business, she asked: “What’s going to set Trailer Perk apart? What is it going to have that no other coffee place in Springfield has?” Her answer: white coffee. The light roasted beans are highly caffeinated without the coffee taste, and they pull a light blonde drink that takes on the color of its add-ins. At Trailer Perk Coffee, those are white chocolate and raspberry, creating a perfectly pink concoction that looks as good in front of the drink’s namesake flamingo as it does on your Instagram feed. Look for Ottoson and her camper-themed menu at the Greater Springfield Farmers Market.—Claire Porter

Get a Drive-Thru Boost

In addition to the mobile coffee truck, Trailer Perk Coffee also has a brick-and-mortar location at 2848 W. Chestnut Expressway that offers drive-through coffee. Perfect for a morning or midday pick-me-up to and from the office.

Read reviews for Trailer Perk Coffee.

London Calling food truck, Springfield, MO
Photo by Brandon AlmsNeil Gomme grew up about 20 minutes from the center of London watching American television. He takes pride in bringing pieces of his old home into his new one. Purchase Photo

London Calling Pasty Co.

2825 Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-705-6000
With London Calling, Neil Gomme and Carrie Mitchell are broadening perception of British food beyond fish and chips, introducing 417-land to hearty pasties, a traditional Cornish dish filled with almost anything you can think of.

Neil Gomme loves America. He grew up watching American television in his native Britain and had long dreamt of living elsewhere. In 2013, he moved his wife and three kids to Springfield to start London Calling, the food truck he co-owns with his sister-in-law Carrie Mitchell. Upon his arrival, he bought a cowboy hat, boots and a John Deere shirt.

“I’ve got them all at home, and no one will let me wear it because they just want me to be the Brit,” Gomme says. Instead, he wears a distinctively European hat. He’s become so tethered to it that others don’t recognize him without it. It’s all part of the atmosphere he and Mitchell have created, serving English pasties (pronounced past-y) to the 417-land masses.

Gomme used to holiday in Cornwall, where the pasty gets its origins; this was his introduction to the dish. Think of the pasty as a sort of half-Frisbee–shaped calzone-esque meat pie with a short crust. There are myriad combinations and fillings to choose from.

“Our biggest goal with this is to create an experience,” Gomme says. “We really want people to feel like they’re coming into the U.K.—stepping out of America and stepping into a little piece of Britain.”—Evan Greenberg

British Cuisine in a Brick-and-Mortar

In recent years, London Calling has moved from its permanent location on Glentstone Avenue to Battlefield Mall, as well as branching out from just serving pasties to also offering another British staple: Fish and chips. Now, after six years at Battlefield Mall, owners Carrie Mitchell and Neil Gomme plan to move to the recently-opened 14 Mill Market in January 2024, as reported by Tessa Cooper in Table Talk. Although the brick-and-mortar might be moving, the mobile trucks will still be making the rounds in Springfield.

Read reviews for London Calling Pasty Co.

Not’Cho Ordinary Taco

14 Mill Market, 203 E. Mt. Vernon St., Nixa
When you see the brightest tie-dye-vibe truck around, you know you’re in for an uncommon taco experience. Flavor combos are always creative and well executed, and the specials will knock your socks off. Not’Cho Ordinary Taco offers a rotating menu special, like the Korean bulgogi tacos with kimchi.—Katie Pollock Estes

You can always find Not’Cho Ordinary Taco posted up at 14 Mill Market from Tuesday–Sunday, but the truck frequently moves around. The best way to keep track of where they'll be (and what they'll be serving up) is on social media.

Read reviews for Not'Cho Ordinary Taco.

Peruvian food truck in Springfield MO
Photo by Leah StiefermannPeruvian chef Nelly Baxter runs the food truck and offers catering services. Purchase Photo

Peruvian and South American Food

I remember the first time I tried a dish from Peruvian and South American Food, the business operated by Peruvian chef Nelly Baxter. She was serving from a stand at Farmers Market of the Ozarks (2144 E. Republic Rd., Springfield, MO, 417-323-2655), and I loved how easy it was to chat with her as she explained the difference between her tamales and the Mexican ones I might be used to. My family took a few dishes home to try, and we loved them. Now, Nelly has expanded into food truck territory, and you can walk up to the truck to try her dishes at the farmers market. There you can find those tamales peruanos I mentioned, plus tons of other great flavors like a Peruvian ceviche and the hearty papa rellena (stuffed mashed potatoes!).—Katie Pollock Estes

Read reviews for Peruvian and South American Food.

Food from 3rabiana in Springfield MO
Photo by Leah Stiefermann3rabiana offers some spicy goodness with flavors from the Middle East. Purchase Photo
Food from Jamaican Patty Co. in Springfield MO
Photo by Leah StiefermannTake a bite out of some flavorful Jamaican cuisine at one of Jamaican Patty Co.'s locations. Purchase Photo

Jamaican Patty Co.

What’s not to like about a handheld lunch? It’s why our go-to is so often sandwiches, but it’s time to change up that routine. Jamaican Patty Co. (3439 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield) serves handheld patties in a variety of savory flavors that combine the countries colonial history. The Jamaican patty most closely resembles the British pasty—a handheld pie stuffed with hot, savory filling. But the Jamaican variant is tinted yellow in color, from turmeric, and the filling more closely resembles Indian, West African and Jamaican flavors. In 2023, Jamaican Patty Co. opened a second brick-and-mortar location in downtown Springfield (301 Park Central W, Springfield). Don't think having two brick-and-mortar locations means the food truck is retired though—follow them on social media for updates, locations and availability. Read our full review here.

Read more reviews for Jamaican Patty Co.

Lae’s Authentic Egg Rolls

If you love east Asian food as much as I do, then your strongest culinary cravings always steer toward soul-warming noodle dishes, rich ramen and spicy curries. But sometimes, especially during the hottest months of the year, your desire to gobble up those hearty dishes is replaced by something oh-so-bright and light: fresh spring rolls. I love the ones served at Lae’s Authentic Egg Rolls, a food truck that you’ve probably seen around town at local events and breweries. Their fresh spring rolls feature a tender rice paper casing that is jam packed with crisp and crunchy veggies (lettuce, carrots, cucumbers), a mountain of fresh herbs, cold vermicelli rice noodles and thinly sliced shrimp. Every bite tastes like summertime, and the peanut dipping sauce is lick-your-fingers delish. My favorite way to make a meal here is to get an order of fresh spring rolls and go with a friend who’ll get an order of Chinese BBQ pork sticks. There are two in each order, so you and your pal can split for the perfect lunchtime portion of food. The piping-hot pork sticks are crispy, slightly sweet and pure umami—the perfect foil to those super-fresh spring rolls.—Katie Pollock Estes

Follow them on Facebook to see where they’ll be parked next.

Read reviews for Lae's Authentic Egg Rolls.

Swirly's Ice Cream cup, Springfield, MO
Photo courtesy Swirly's Ice Cream & Waffles

Swirly's Ice Cream & Waffles

If you’ve ever experienced the disappointment of receiving your ice cream only to realize after a few bites the mix-ins are only on the top, you will be just as excited as we are about Swirly’s Ice Cream & Waffles in July. Owners, Jack and Kenzie Powderly plan to serve Springfieldians a brand-new treat—infused iced cream—from their concession at 3867 S. Campbell Ave. in the Parkcrest Center. Find out more about how Swirly's came to be on our blog.

Read reviews for Swirly's Ice Cream & Waffles.

Food Truck Friday in Carthage, Missouri

714 S. Garrison Ave, Carthage
The food scene in Carthage, as Caleb Stiles will tell you, is not exactly bustling. “Carthage lacks in food, like, a lot,” says Caleb Stiles, owner of The Lunchbox Truck in Carthage. “We’ve got fast food, and we had a few independent [restaurants]—we still have a few independents that do a really good job, but we just needed more variety.” With this in mind, Stiles put together a ragtag event called Food Truck Fridays. The first rendition included two food trucks including Stiles’ and two sno-cone trucks. The event drew 3,000 people.

On a muggy July day at Central Park, we sampled five trucks, serving foods as diverse as pastries, fresh-squeezed lemonade and grilled cheese, among other wilder concoctions. Stiles’ Korean barbecue offerings were especially tasty.

The event was packed, especially for mid-afternoon on what was ostensibly a workday. It was a loud and strong message: This is something that the Carthage community needed, and others have taken note.—Evan Greenberg

WHEN: Visit the Experience Carthage website for the lineup and more information.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was updated December 2023]