Springfield Visitors Bureau introduces cashew chicken trail. How it works

This week in 417 food news: A new trail epitomizes Springfield’s food scene and a longtime Chinese restaurant is closing.

Visitors Bureau introduces cashew chicken trail

The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau already offers tours that take you to the area’s best spots for brews, both caffeinated and alcoholic. So why not buy some food to go with the drinks?

The Cashew Chicken Trail has you covered. Like the Ozarks Coffee Trail or the Ozarks Tap and Pour, the “trail” consists of a list of nearly 30 participating locations that you can visit and check into to earn points. The locations aren’t limited to traditional Chinese restaurants — you can also get points for sampling “The Springfield,” a cashew chicken sandwich at Chicago Cheesesteak Company South, 303 E. Battlefield Road.

Once you’ve collected 30 points, you can collect a pair of custom-made, reusable chopsticks or a T-shirt for 60 points. Registering for the route is free. Participants must complete the course and redeem their prizes by April 17, 2025.

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Local Chinese restaurant closes after 16 years

5 Spice China Grill closed April 13, according to a sign on the door at 2058 S. Glenstone Ave. The sign did not state a reason for closure, but simply thanked customers for 16 years of business.

The restaurant’s website and Facebook page were both removed as of April 18. A call to the company’s phone number gave an automated message that the number is temporarily unavailable.

Ocean Zen owners John and Johnson Tan opened 5 Spice China Grill in 2008, four years after Ocean Zen opened, according to previous News-Leader reporting. The restaurant is located in the original location of Ocean Zen. The Tan brothers grew up in Springfield and chef Johnson Tan trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale, Arizona, before returning to the area to open Ocean Zen, according to previous reporting.

Susan Szuch reports on health and food for the Springfield News-Leader. Follow her on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @szuchsm. Story idea? Email her at [email protected].