Top 10: JC Local Food Spots

CCHS student opinions on the best local spots to eat and suggestions for what to order.


A Jefferson City staple, Central Dairy has been a local favorite for generations.

William Baker, Contributing Author (Capsule Yearbook)

Jefferson City knows good food and there is no shortage of places that are especially local. Here’s a look at the top 10 ranked food spots in JC, as ranked by ten CCHS students!

10. Sweet Smoke BBQ

Rating – 7.5/10 (Sawyer Lillard) 

Best thing to order – Pulled pork nachos and burnt ends

The newest restaurant on this list, Sweet Smoke opened its first location in downtown Jefferson City, and  later opening up a second location just in front of the Capital Mall. Sweet Smoke offers real fresh BBQ options that any barbeque lover would just eat up. Lillard said that he loves the food they offer there, the “homey” atmosphere, and that there are not many places in town that are like it. He said the best thing to order is the delicious pulled pork nachos they offer for only $11.  

9. Sub Shop 

Rating – 10/10 (Olivia Taylor) 

Best thing to order – Meatball sub with extra cheese and jalapenos

Sub shop is a little sub shop located on Missouri Boulevard just across from Jefferson Bank. “I love all of the workers and supporting a local business that caters and does a lot for the city,” said Taylor.

8. Theo’s Midtown 

Rating – 8.5/10 (Will Carver)

Best thing to order – Calzone (pizza crust stuffed with any toppings)

Best appetizer – Mozzarella sticks 

One of the newest local restaurants on this list, having recently opened in downtown Jefferson City is Theo’s, offering authentic Greek food that the whole family will love. Carver said that he loves working at Theo’s because it’s always fast pace and that overall it’s a really cool place.

7. Sawaddee Thai Cuisine

Rating – 9.5/10 (Yumia Robbin) 

Best thing to order – Pad Thai or duck curry 

Best side dish to order – “without a doubt the pot stickers” 

Sawaddee is one of Jefferson City’s hidden gems, located downtown in a small little nook across from High Rise Bakery and Arris’, they have provided the community with authentic Thai food for years. Robben said that she loved the small and intimate feel you get when you walk into Sawaddee, saying “I love how the food is authentic and that the staff and service are always the best and super fast.”

6. Central Dairy

Rating – 7/10 (Nathan Kator) 

Best thing to get – Chocolate mousse sundae

Bets flavors – Chocolate and rocky road

Central Dairy has been around since the 1920’s originally coming from Columbia, but soon finding a home in Jefferson City, providing people with delicious dairy products and the best ice cream around. Kator said that he liked “the big impact that the store has on the community” and then added that he also loves all the different flavors they offer there.

5. Fuji 

Rating – 9/10 (Shayla Stewart)

Best thing to order – Shrimp and steak hibachi with no veggies and double sides of rice

Favorite side – Rice with sexy sauce, shrimp tempura 

Best for price – Shrimp fried rice

Fuji is a Japanese steakhouse and sushi bar which is located just inside of the Capital Mall. Stewart said that she loves getting her food made at the grills there because “it’s so cool watching her food get made in front of her,” and that every time while making her food they are always super nice and really funny. 

4. Love Sushi

Rating – 9/10 (Carson Harper)

Best thing to get – Crazy Roll

Best side/appetizer- Pot stickers 

Favorite sauce – Sexy sauce 

Love Sushi is without a doubt Jefferson City’s most known sushi restaurant, growing to popularity just after opening in 2009. Harper said that he loves the environment and said that is half of the experience of getting to eat there. “With the music they play and the events they do for birthdays,” he said that he would highly recommend going at least once even if you think you do not like sushi. 

3. West Main Pizza

Rating – 9/10 (Olivia Beauchamp)

Best topping – Mac N’ Cheese, onions, and bacon

Best pizza – Mac N’ Cheese

Best appetizer – Garlic breadsticks 

West Main is a pizza restaurant with homemade pizzas located on West Main Street. Beauchamp works at West Main and said that she is just in love with the rustic vibe they have there, with the mason jar cups and the wagon wheels. She also talked about how she loves all the live music almost daily and e of various local bands some even our age. 

2. Arris’ Pizza

Rating – 9/10 (William Baker)

Best topping – Pepperoni and Greek olives 

Best pizza – Original pepperoni 

Best sides – Fried pickles

I personally did this one because of how much I have loved it while living in Jeff most of my life. I go there almost every dance or special event because of the good food, but also the laid back environment. Without a doubt you need to go and order one of their fresh homemade pizzas, and try their fried pickles if you have not already!

1. El Jimador 

Rating – 8.5/10 (Carlos Ayala)

Best thing to order – Any type of quesadilla (you can literally choose anything to be inside)

Best for the price – Fajita, you get a whole thing and sides for around $12 

The Ayala family runs and owns the El Jimadors brand of restaurants known throughout Jefferson City and they are a staple for having tasty and authentic Mexican food. Ayala said that he really enjoys the restaurants and working there because they really do try and “make it a good experience with great food for the whole family.”