Ann’s Country Café doesn’t say any of that. It doesn’t have to.
Not that there are high dollar amenities. When you hear “country café” you might think of calico and gingham and curtains in the window. Here, it’s country -- as in crossing the country. The décor is classic highway -- gas station signs, cola signs, and more. And it works here.
My traveling companion and I stopped in one afternoon in October for dinner on the road. He was looking for something light -- I wanted comfort food. We both got what we wanted. Right off the bat, we had ourselves a couple of thirstquenching drinks -- hefty servings of cola and iced tea in big tumblers. Our waitress and hostess sat down club crackers and butter while we waited for our food. I noticed one of the older men at another table dutifully buttering his crackers as he waited -- maybe it’s a local thing.
I didn’t realize the size of the endeavor I was undertaking at first. But after a while, I realized that my chicken fried steak took up far more room on the plate than anything else. Part of it was artfully concealed under the mashed potatoes. We’re taking about a slab of steak larger than my hand. Good eatin’. And it was tasty, too. The macaroni and cheese was tender, the corn buttery, and the potatoes seasoned (it bothers me when there’s absolutely no salt in potatoes, the way it bothers me to see a dog without a collar roamin' about in the city).
My traveling companion’s light salad choice from the Dieter’s Menu was also a surprise. For a dieter -- there’s a big old hunk of chicken salad, tangy and slightly smoky -- a welcome surprise. It was served on a bed of lettuce and tomato with hard boiled eggs.
I must say -- while he was able to consume all of his meal, I left far more of my dinner than I would have liked. This was a meal for a big man, and it got me good.
and was surprised to find we’d come down from Little Rock for this treat.
If you get a chance to go, block out some time. You’re going to want to check out all the neat memorabilia on the walls. And if you have a group -- there’s a private sitting area there for you too.
On a separate visit, I did try the Reuben -- a pretty decent Reuben for a good price. It comes with big thick fries meant for dipping.
And don’t worry about saving up too much. With my rather large repast, the salad plate and drinks, our meal came to less than $14.
You’ll find Ann’s Country Café at 3714 Camden Road, just off I-530 on Highway 79, west of the interstate and east of the high school -- right over from the Holiday Inn Express. Open 6am to 8pm Monday through Friday and 6am to 2pm Saturday and Sunday. The number is (501) 879-0057.
Stopped in a few weeks ago on my way to New Orleans. We needed fuel for the road, and there it was, right off Exit 39 in Pine Bluff. You take a right off I-530 onto Highway 79 and turn right again a block later into the parking lot of the green and white building. Convenient.
Mind you, breakfast is not spiffy or fancy. It’s decent and filling and cheap, which is all it has to be. Plus, you get to eat that breakfast in the restaurant that, I believe, has more working thermometers in it than any other dining establishment in the state.
The décor at Anne’s is nostalgia eclectic. Old pop signs, gas signs, tin signs of really any sort and all those different thermometers — even in the brand new bathrooms (they recently remodeled the place). It’s kinda cool.
Breakfast items range from pancakes and waffles and French toast to omelets and breakfast plates. I’ve enjoyed the New York omelet before — a cheeseburger omelet with a broken up hamburger patty and American cheese in it.
My companion actually chose the BD Breakfast Sandwich ($5.25), a bacon egg and cheese combination on a bun. And at first, it looked very disappointing. I mean, it looked pretty flat — that is, until the bun was lifted and the veritable nest of bacon was discovered. We’re talking four strips of bacon perched on top of two over-hard eggs. Beware — it comes bedecked with mayo.
You’ll find Anne’s Country Café at 3714 Camden Road. There’s no website, but the phone number is (870) 879-0057. It’s open Monday-Friday 6 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 6 a.m .-2 p.m.
There's an Anne's Country Cafe Facebook page now.