Restaurant Review: Guerrilla Street Food, St. Louis, Missouri
Guerrilla Street Food in Tower Grove Park
The Best Filipino Food in St. Louis (and probably the state of Missouri, or possibly the entire Midwest)
"Restaurant" is a term best used loosely when describing the gastronomical wonder that is Guerrilla Street Food. It means "they make the food and you buy it and eat it," and this can happen in the park during a food truck festival, or at their brick-and-mortar location. Guerrilla Street Food is more of an experience than a set of latitude and longitude coordinates. If you're up for a culinary adventure, you'll want to track them down.
The Food Truck
If you're not familiar with food trucks in general, this is one bandwagon you'll definitely want to hop on. Food trucks bring small business food to you. Think "little eatery on wheels."
Guerrilla Street Food started as a food truck in 2011, and has been growing in popularity and reach ever since. Tower Grove Park in St. Louis hosts an event affectionately known as Food Truck Friday during the summer months, and Guerrilla Street Food often boasts one of the longest lines of all the food trucks in attendance. Other events in St. Louis also feature caravans of food trucks, and Guerrilla Street Food is always a favorite.
I've only ever had awesome food from Guerrilla Street Food's truck, which was the only place you could get it until 2015, when their permanent location opened. I've also been far enough back in the line that they started crossing things off the menu as they sold out for the day, which is a mistake you can avoid by getting in line early. The nature of food trucks and fresh food is that their most popular items will sell out. You don't have to take my word for it though, as Guerrilla Street Food was awarded Best Food Truck in St. Louis in 2012 by the Riverfront Times, a St. Louis newsweekly-- quite the accomplishment for a year-old food truck.
The best way to find Guerrilla Street Food on the street is by following them on Twitter, @guerrillastreet.
Fast-casual dining in St. Louis is often amicable and welcoming, and Guerrilla Street Food's restaurant fulfills that expectation well. The person behind the counter taking your order, even if she or he didn't have a hand in making the food, knows enough to volunteer information about ingredients and answer questions. The space is small enough to feel cozy without feeling claustrophobic, and the decor is true to the restaurant's heritage. Outdoor seating is available in the warmer months. Carry-out and delivery are also options.
Guerrilla Street Food was a staff pick for Best Fast Casual in St. Louis in 2015, again according to the Riverfront Times--after being open for less than a year.
Menu (because you're really interested in the food, right?)
Guerrilla Street Food rotates their menu, meaning they make some different things on different days and they post what's available. Some menu offerings are traditional Filipino staples ("Old School"), while others are Filipino-inspired original recipes ("New School"). You're probably going to want to try something you haven't had before, and the menu postings make it easy by listing main ingredients for each dish.
The food truck brings with it a few different regular options, such as the Flying Pig, which is "slow roasted pork, calamansi, hoisin, sriracha, fried garlic, toasted black sesame seeds, scallions and a one hour egg, over steamed jasmine rice" (from https://www.facebook.com/guerrillastreetfood/menu). The food truck also sometimes features perhaps one or two specials at a time, such as the delicious blue crab ceviche I got one time.
The physical location allows for a greater variety of menu options at any one time. Somehow I've found the same awesome quality and incredible flavors in food from both the truck and the restaurant, and I can't say that I like either better, except if you're going for the experience of sitting at a table or in a park.
Guerrilla Street Food's fixed location is at 3559 Arsenal St., a few steps away from where the street intersects with South Grand Blvd. in St. Louis.
Real people making real food earns Guerrilla Street Food a 5/5 from me. I'm always impressed with the combinations of flavors and spices they use, and their innovations bring something unique to the South Grand food scene. I'm constantly going back for more!
Still not convinced? Watch Guerrilla Street Food featured on the Food Network, with Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives!