Springfield's Prarie Pie makes a chicken pot pie that made our list of top fall dishes in Springfield. (Photo: submitted)

It’s fall, folks. Last week kicked off the first official day of autumn. It’s time for gold-brushed and amber trees, cooler temperatures, apple cider, fall festivals and all our favorite seasonal foods. From pumpkin dishes to caramel apples and soups, here are seven fall dishes you can’t miss at these Springfield establishments.

Sweet EMOtion SGF 

If it’s one of those fall days that feels more like summer, then head downtown to Sweet EMOtion SGF for a dairy-free ice cream fix.

This vegan ice cream joint has so many amazing flavors and recently released its impressive fall menu. 

A fabulous treat on the new seasonal menu is the Pumpkin Queen. It’s vanilla oat milk ice cream mixed with house-made pumpkin sauce, cheesecake bits, white chocolate chips and pumpkin pie spice. It’s hard to believe by the taste, but the dessert is vegan and gluten-free. If you are lactose intolerant, vegan or don’t eat dairy for another reason, this is your spot.

Another impressive aspect of this unique business is they make their own toppings from cookie pieces, brownie to caramel sauce.

If you’ve never had oat milk ice cream, it’s slightly sweeter than traditional ice cream, and it also melts faster — so plan to dive in as soon as they hand you the spoon. If pumpkin isn’t your thing, don’t worry, the “Death Wish” is amazing and includes oat milk ice cream with house-made maple brown sugar syrup, dark brown sugar and pecans. Great fall flavors all around!

322 South Ave., Springfield (a window at the Outland Ballroom)

Google Maps directions

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Farmers Gastropub

Cream of mushroom and sage soup at Farmers Gastropub. (Photo: submitted)

If you want to support local farmers and indulge in an incredible soup, try the cream of mushroom and sage soup at Farmers Gastropub. The British-American pub sources local, naturally raised and sustainable ingredients and has a variety of hearty fare that is comforting on an autumn day. But a must-try dish is the silky mushroom soup made with a menagerie of mushrooms from Willow Mountain Mushrooms. 

The soup has a deep, earthy flavor that is tamed by cream and accented with sage. It’s garnished with crunchy, buttery croutons. This restaurant buys from more than 20 farmers and artisans, so it’s a wonderful and delicious ways to support the local food movement. And if you enjoy whisky on a cool autumn evening, they stock a great selection.

2620 S. Glenstone Ave., in the Brentwood Center.

Google Maps directions

Farmers Gastropub website

Nicola’s Ristorante

Pumpkin ravioli is a seasonal favorite at Nicola’s Ristorante. (Photo: submitted)

Thirty years ago, Nicola Gilardi was working as a chef in Barbuda when customers from New York asked him to make pumpkin ravioli. He had never heard of it, but whipped up a batch and they declared it “unbelievably delicious,” Gilardi said.

Now that pumpkin ravioli is a seasonal favorite at Nicola’s Ristorante. So much so that customers will give Gilardi their cell number and ask him to text them when it’s available. Throughout the year, he’s asked when the pumpkin ravioli is coming back.

Good news, the pumpkin ravioli will hit the menu the first week of October.

The tender handmade pasta is stuffed with roasted pumpkin and parmesan, seasoned with garlic, onions and basil. It is served with a garlic cream sauce, but some customers request a butter, garlic sage sauce, which is killer, too.

Gilardi said he frequently ran out of the ravioli last year because they were short-staffed and each piece is handmade, but this season, “pumpkin ravioli is a priority. It is really, really popular,” Gilardi said.

Prairie Pie

Prairie Pie’s chicken pot pie. (Photo: submitted)

Nothing says autumn like pot pie. The closest thing to a classic buttery homemade potpie that grandma or your mom would make is the chicken potpie from Prairie Pie. Yes, she makes amazing, sweet pies but her savory options are also delicious.

Owner Eleanor Taylor is known for her flakey all-butter crust, which is the cradle of this comforting dish. Tucked inside is shredded chicken, carrots, onion, celery, peas, garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme bathed in a creamy velouté sauce. A velouté sauce begins as a roux and is mixed with a light stock, a signature sauce in French cooking. The pies are 5-inches, so individual servings. You can buy them hot and ready to eat or pre-order them frozen to take home and bake (frozen saves you about $2).

Chicken is my favorite, but she also sells a beef and mushroom, split pea kielbasa, and a vegetarian curry vegetable.

307 S. Jefferson Ave., Springfield

Google Maps directions

Prairie Pie website

Bon Bon’s Candy House

Caramel apples at Bon Bon’s Candy House. (Photo: submitted)

If a caramel apple is a fall ritual for you, then head to Bon Bon’s Candy House, where they are available now through Oct. 31. What makes this classic dish special? She has a nice variety. Choose from:

  • Apple Pie Caramel Apple, which is a caramel apple dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Owner Bonnie Nolen says this is her personal fave.
  • Plain Caramel Apple, just a classic Granny Smith apple covered in caramel. This remains the best seller.
  • Deluxe Pecan Caramel: There’s a lot going on here. It’s a traditional caramel apple, rolled in roasted pecans and drizzled with milk, dark and white chocolate. Consider this the diva of caramel apples.
  • Pecan Caramel Apple: A traditional caramel apple dipped in roasted pecans which add a nice contrast to the sweet caramel.
  • Sea Salt Caramel Apple: apple, caramel, milk chocolate and sea salt. Another local favorite, she said.

Bon Bon’s Candy House has been in Springfield since 2002.

2720 S. Glenstone Ave., in the Brentwood Center

Google Maps directions

Bon Bon’s Candy House website

Neighbor’s Mill

Potato bacon soup at Neighbor’s Mill. (Photo: submitted)

Potato soup is so comforting and the potato bacon soup from Neighbor’s Mill is a standout.

The thick and creamy soup has large chunks of potato, carrots, celery and bacon — lots of bacon. The smoky bacon flavor is infused into the base and potatoes need that extra flavor. It’s garnished with cheese and is the perfect bowl for a cold day. It’s served with slices of spongy focaccia bread topped with rosemary and herbs. The bread, which is made from scratch daily, is a highlight, too. This restaurant has other incredible fall foods, such as its moist pumpkin muffins, pumpkin swirl bread and more. You’re sure to find a fall flavor fix here.

1435 E. Independence, Suite 110, Springfield

Google Maps directions

Neighbor’s Mill website

Beth’s Bake Shoppe & Tea Room  

Maple pear salad from Beth’s Bake Shoppe & Tea Room. (Photo: submitted)

You don’t necessarily think of salad when you think of fall foods, but maple screams fall. And again, the temperatures this time of year can waddle between summer and autumn, so some days you may crave something lighter.

That is where the maple pear salad from Beth’s Bake Shoppe & Tea Room steps in. This salad is a lovely mix of sweet and savory ingredients. It starts with a bed of fresh spinach and romaine lettuce, topped with chunks of sweet pear, house-candied pecans, dried cranberries, red onion and salty Feta cheese. It is served with house-made maple dressing, which is so unique and delicious that you’ll find yourself craving it. You can also opt for the Pick 2 option, which allows you to order half a salad and pair it with either half a slice of quiche, cup of soup, half a sandwich or a scoop of chicken salad or grilled chicken. It’s a good lunch option.

Juliana Goodwin

Juliana Goodwin is a freelance journalist with experience covering business, travel and tourism, health, food and history. She is a former Food and Travel Columnist for the Springfield News-Leader, a former business reporter for The Joplin Globe, and has written for USA Today and Arkansas Living Magazine, among others. More by Juliana Goodwin