Thursday, May 24, 2012
Burger Joint of the Week: Ed Walker's Drive-In.
Ed Walker’s is known for a lot of reasons. It’s the only place in Arkansas where you can drive up and have an ice cold beer delivered to your car, for one -- thanks to the double threat of being grandfathered in for an old rule and being in a border city. For service, you just pull up and flash your lights when you’re ready to order. The restaurant is also home of the Ed Walker’s French Dip Sandwich -- a nice, tender mess of fall-apart good roast beef on a tight French roll that’s served with a savory jus for dipping.
The restaurant started out in 1943 as a little place to catch one of those great French dips. There are some who claim moonshine also came out of this location, but lips are sealed with a wink on that account. In the 50s the restaurant was expanded, and Ed Walker himself had a bedroom on the back side of the place... right where the center dining room is today.
At 69 years old, Ed Walker’s is one of Arkansas’s oldest restaurants; it’s one of the few that still sits in its original location. The restaurant has been expanded several times and now even has a small in-house bakery in the back that supplies bread and buns to the restaurant and to the recently purchased sister restaurant down the street, Miss Anna’s on Towson. In fact, the famed pies from Miss Anna’s (formerly Goodson’s on Towson) are now sold at Ed Walker’s.
I’ve enjoyed the French dip sandwich before. I’ve also tried this massive burger on numerous occasions, starting with my first encounter in December 2007. It’s not a small burger by any means, and in my personal opinion it’s meant for sharing.
Did we finish the burger? No. The four people who dined on that burger that day didn’t get through but about half of it, and there were leftovers shared around. Now, you can, if you’re crazy enough, get that burger for free if you eat it with all the fixings, with an order of fries or onion rings and with a beverage in 45 minutes or less. I hear it’s been done, but I don’t see how.
If you’re in Fort Smith and want to experience this big burger, bring a crowd and head to Towson Avenue for a bite. Ed Walker’s is open every day from 10 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. For more information, call (479) 783-3352.