Best Food Truck

Izumi

When Kurt Bellon thinks back on his many trips to Japan to visit his mother’s family, one of his fondest memories is the experience of walking into a train station, getting a sando and drink from a convenience store, and sitting down on a bench to unwrap its contents as if it were Christmas Day. The present inside the packaging — Japanese sandwiches that are based on traditional English tea fare — is as beautiful as it is delicious. Characterized by fluffy white milk bread and adornments ranging from savory tonkatsu or egg salad to sweet peach and brown sugar or strawberries and whipped cream, the sandos are the subject of his darling pop-up food truck, Izumi (izumistlouis.com), that has been making appearances around town this past year. Bellon’s vehicle is a tiny red Japanese firetruck that can be found at different venues every week (though preorders are highly recommended because he sells out), where he serves a variety of sandos and other dishes like yakatori, as well as other snacks and drinks. But what makes Izumi so special is not simply the excellent food but Bellon’s insistence on highlighting the stories of others as he tells his own. With a special focus on collaborating with immigrant-owned businesses, Izumi is just as committed to elevating others as it elevates the St. Louis food scene. —Cheryl Baehr
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