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Food truck The Traveling Taco in Springfield gets national attention

It's in the running for Food Network's 'The Great Food Truck Race'

August 19, 2011|by Lisa Rose and Cliff Erwin, KY3 News | cerwin@ky3.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- There are so many great places to eat in the Ozarks -- everything from sit-down restaurants to drive-ins and carryouts.  Recently, a popular trend on the coasts has been showing up in Springfield: the food truck.  It's been so popular that one local eatery could be on national television with your help.

"Ready for some tacos?" Rick Turnbull, co-owner of The Traveling Taco, asked a customer.  "It's pretty good."

You might have seen it driving through the intersection of Sunshine Street at Fremont Avenue.

"It's catching on out here," Turnbull said.

"It's just kind of a fun place to stop for something quick and easy," said Lisa Nemmers, a patron of the food truck.

Just about a year ago, Rick and Charlotte Turnbull opened The Traveling Taco for business, combining their love of food and self employment to create this restaurant on wheels.

"You can make a great living and it's a lot of fun," said Charlotte.

It's a food truck that makes its home in Springfield but also travels all over the Ozarks, supplying a West Coast tradition: fried tacos.

"Nobody else has it, nobody, not the way we do it," said Rick.

"We switch up our menu every week; we try new things," Charlotte said.

It has really caught the attention of passersby.

"I was at the Show-Me Music Fest and they had a truck there, and I tried it for the first time.  It was so good," said Nemmers. "This summer, we've probably been here once or twice a month."

Now, because of an anonymous patron, The Traveling Taco is in the running for a spot on the next season of Food Network's "The Great Food Truck Race."

"It's fantastic that one of my customers would think to nominate us for this; must be the food," said Rick, laughing.

"I'd love to see them on the show," Nemmers said. "We liked it so well.  I told them the whole family would vote and, after watching the show last night, I thought it'd be fun to have a Springfield place be on the TV show."

Until the Turnbulls find out in September whether they've made it, they will continue to serve up what they consider the best food in town.

"God blessed us with good food and great customers.  They come by and eat all the time with us.  It's been real good," Rick said.

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The Traveling Taco is one of three food trucks out of Missouri in the Food Network's competition.  The other two are in St. Louis.

They are fighting for a chance to win $10,000 and be in the third season of "The Great Food Truck Race."

As of late Thursday night, The Traveling Taco was ranked 59th out of 225 entries.  You have until Sept. 12 to help get it into the top 10.

To cast a vote or to check out more on the show, visit The Great Food Truck Race website or text FT188 to 66789.
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