True/False: An Eater’s Guide

Updates/Notes: Pizza Tree is selling slices of their excellent Detroit-style pies for $2 to T/F passholders all weekend.

True/False weekend is about movies. Lots and lots of movies. Potentially, in my case, 25.65 hours of movies over the course of the 3+ days. There is also music, of course; before movies, after movies, during movies, at parties, etc. Lots of music. I was told by one T/F board-member that the quality of this year’s music will rival that of the films themselves, so not only will there be lots of music, it will be excellent music.

Food is very nearly an afterthought. You either need it five minutes ago to make it to your next screening or to soak up the overindulgence of the night before. There are no four-course meals at T/F. But that doesn’t mean we need to dine like jackasses all weekend. Good food (and drink) is out there to be had – and quickly. Some suggestions:

Quinton’s – I’ll give top billing to one establishment that consistently goes out of their way to draw in T/F attendees. This weekend they’ll have Schlafly product “True/False Brown Ale” on tap, and all pints are $2.50 Thursday night. Their food won’t electrify anyone but sandwiches are pretty sound and they’ll be putting together some event-specific specials on the menu as well. And they let us in a few minutes before they were opened to get a drink and a bite to eat last year. That’ll do it.

Sycamore Restaurant – Sycamore has hosted the True/False “Filmaker’s Fete” each year they’ve been open and will do so again in 2013. The menu is meant to be savored and sampled more than it is to be grabbed on the go, but they are looking to highlight those dishes the kitchen can crank out the fastest. Regardless, fest-goers would be remiss without grabbing at least a bite or a quick drink at Columbia’s best restaurant – and longtime T/F supporter.

Kaldi’s – Columbia’s best coffee shop is a small chain based out of St. Louis – and I’m okay with that. They obsess over coffee, offering multiple brewing options, warming your mug and generally caring more than the other guys. The wifi is excellent too. Food isn’t their primary interest but what they do they do pretty well. They’ll be running “grab-and-go” specials for the weekend on yogurt parfaits and Mediterranean, quinoa and farmer’s market salads.

Uprise Bakery – Located in True/False’s ground zero, Uprise knows what they’re doing. Sandwiches, soups and pizzas are almost always excellent but they speed things up for T/F weekend with a few quick sandwiches selections. The ham and cheese was a lifesaver last year when I have five minutes to grab something before heading into the “Big Ragtag” theater.

Trey Bistro – Earnest new kid on the block Trey Bistro will be busy this weekend. They’re running their regular menu while also pushing pizza by the slice and salads to festival-goers. If that wasn’t enough, Trey will also be handling concessions at The Blue Note next door, which is again serving as a T/F venue. Look for pizza by the slice, popcorn and mixed nuts.

Bleu Restaurant and Wine Bar – Bleu will be featuring a “sip and nosh” menu aimed at time-starved True/False attendees. They’ll be sending details shortly and I’ll add details as they come in.  Bleu reports an uptick of not only diners looking to eat quickly but also seeking out vegetarian options – their sip and nosh menu reflects this – and looks really tasty to boot.

Also consider: Jimmy John’s, El Rancho and Main Squeeze. I’d mention Booche’s, home of the best burgers in town, but they can be sloooooow. The burgers are worth it, but don’t put in an order if you don’t have 30 mins minimum to spare.

Seasoned True/False veterans know that just stepping a block off the main drag will yield substantially smaller crowds (and potentially, wait times). Billiards on Broadway has some of the best sandwiches in town, easily the best fries and one of the better beer selections – all just a three minute walk down Broadway. As far as I know there is only one thing on the menu at CJ’s, and for True/Falsers the good news is that that one thing is fast: chicken wings. Finally, head north. One block above Broadway is local institution Ernie’s Cafe and Steak House. Personally, I think we love the idea of Ernie’s better than the food itself, but nevermind, the biscuits and gravy and “chopped cow” burgers have been beloved by generations. Yet a couple more blocks north is where the best breakfast in town may be found at Cafe Berlin. The offbeat vibe compliments True/False’s perfectly and while they won’t normally win any sprints, this will be the place filmakers go to nurse hangovers with fresh squeezed mimosas and the best biscuits in town.

I’m sure I missed plenty – let me know about it.


Pizza Tree! Mojo’s will host a two-band concert Friday night, but they’re also home to the very new Pizza Tree. I’ve not been in myself, but discerning friends tell me their pizza is legit – even the best in town. Reports from discerning friends have been proven correct – Pizza Tree makes pizzas with strength. Crunchy-tender crust, perfectly blistered and they use some real-deal olive oil too. The “Chardachoke” was a bit strong on sour elements for both the wife and I – feta, kalamata, sourdough, etc. – but still good. Margherita was legit, and features homemade mozzarella. Also on the pizza front is Shakespeare’s Pizza, a tradition for generations of students. Offbeat, solid pizza and great beer selection. Worth checking out at least for a slice.

Teller’s – It has been brought to my attention that Teller’s should get a plug here too, if not for their longstanding support for the fest, then maybe for the pint specials Friday night, Bloody Mary specials Saturday and mimosas and bellinis on Sunday. I’m told app specials and other quick items are in the works as well.


Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

10 thoughts

  1. Now that’s what I call being prepared. True/False does not start until Feb 28, 2014. Way to be on top of it Scott! ;0)

  2. Hi Scott. This is Phil, the owner of Shotgun Pete’s BBQ Shack now located at 28 N 9th St in the old 9th Street Deli location. We were an invited staff sponsor for the True/False Festival this year (2013) and we had a lot of staff as well as festival attendees stop in and enjoy very fast service. We plan on being a sponsor again for 2014. …still ranked the number 1 BBQ in Mid – Missouri on and recently featured in and on the cover of Inside Columbia magazine we have no plans on slowing down and love to participate in Columbia events where and when possible.

  3. Heya superb website! Does running a blog like this require a massive amount work?
    I’ve absolutely no knowledge of computer programming but I was hoping to start my own blog in the near future.
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