As I have chronicled before – and would be obvious to anyone who’s attended before – True/False is not on our calendars for the food we’ll eat. It’s all about the movies (and usually, walking in the bitter cold between movies). People are in a hurry and restaurants don’t much go out of the way to run special to-go menus and whatnot. I guess the upside’s just not there. That said, there are still good options and here a few tips I’ve developed over the years:
- Plan ahead. Know where you’ll be walking at lunch and dinner times and plot out your plan of attack. You may not have enough time to wing it.
- Take a few steps off the beaten path. Just walking a block out of the main downtown core of True/False will reduce the crowds – and restaurant wait times – considerably. Think Chim’s Thai Kitchen, Coffee Zone, Casablanca, Billiards on Broadway, etc.
- Multi-task. If you’re planning on getting in 16-plus movies in three days, you’re going to be doing some walking, fast. Why not eat on the go? Cafe Poland has great borscht they serve in to-go cups and Kaldi’s and Uprise do a good job with to-go sandwiches.
- Caffeinate. This is a long slog of a weekend, equal parts pleasure and pain (great overall vibe matched with domestic violence movies, orca-torture movies, atrocities in Indonesia/Rwanda/Afghanistan movies). Sometimes you need a pick-me-up, and while Columbia’s always loved its coffee, the last few years have reached a new level. Shortwave Coffee opened this week next to Kampai Sushi (another good, hidden gem for this weekend). Also see Fretboard Coffee and Kaldi’s.
- Coffee can take care of your mornings, but something stronger may be necessary by the evening hours. Top Ten Wines serves great wines by the glass, International Tap House is a playground for beer-lovers and 9th Street Public House is now open.
Some other recommendations:
Uprise Bakery – One of the few places that run T/F-specific items, Uprise feels like the film fest’s beating heart. Pre-made baguette sandwiches you can take into the theater, a chance to run elbows with a director at the bar. Every True/Falser should make at least one stop at Uprise. And this weekend, their excellent soups will come in handy.
Sunflower Waffle Company will be selling chicken and waffles from the parking lot across from Uprise/Ragtag. Perfect late-night snacking.
Ozark Mountain Biscuit Company – My current favorite local food truck – since Pepe’s closed for the winter – will be shuttling between The Root Cellar, The Bridge and Cafe Berlin all weekend.
I have several movies at Jesse Hall this year, so South 9th Street will be important. I foresee slices from Shakespeare’s, healthy smoothies from Blenders, beers at International Tap House and sandwiches from Quinton’s and Heidelberg.
Addison’s is a long-time festival supporter and promises to be able to crank out sandwiches and other festival-friendly dishes within 10-15 minutes, even at busy times. If you have a few minutes to spare, the two downtown breweries – Broadway Brewery and Flatbranch Pub and Brewing – are well-worth a visit. Sycamore Restaurant remains my personal favorite place to grab a drink and have some apps. Restaurateurs generally report an uptick in vegetarian requests this weekend, which is why Main Squeeze will be hopping. A Buddha Bowl and a smoothie will gladden the heart of many a doc-weary festival-goer. Next door is International Cafe, great for hummus, falafel and other Middle Eastern foods (soups are great, too).