Sunday, September 23, 2012

A brief list of Arkansas food manufacturers.

Please send suggestions for updates to this list to

Bear Kingdom Vineyards (Little Rock)
Jellies and jams, including jellies made from Post Familie Vineyard grapes and several pepper jellies

Burge's (Little Rock/Lewisville)
Smoked turkeys, ham, ribs, bacon, duck & chicken

Cavender’s Greek Seasoning (Harrison)
Seasoning spice, with and without salt

Chateau aux Arc (Altus)
Arkansas winery

Cowie Wine Cellars and Vineyards (Paris)
Arkansas winery

De Wafelbakkers (North Little Rock)
Frozen waffles and pancakes

Diamond Bear Brewery (Little Rock)
Arkansas-brewed beer in seven varieties, plus Diamond Rock Root Beer

Flossie’s Funnel Cake Mix  (Hot Springs)
Funnel cake mixes, equipment, cotton candy

House of Webster (Rogers)
Jams, jellies and pickles

J&M Foods (Little Rock)     
Cheese straws in a variety of flavors plus several varieties of tea cookies and chocolate chip cookies

Juanita’s Candy Kitchen (Arkadelphia)
Pecan, peanut and cashew brittle

Keel’s Creek Winery (Eureka Springs)
Arkansas winery

Kopper Kettle Candies (Van Buren)            
Full service candy store featuring Ozarkies, chocolates, truffles and nostalgic candies

Lambrecht Gourmet (Heber Springs) 
Gourmet toffees and chocolate covered toffees in several varieties

Liz & Linda’s Pepper Jelly (Harrison)
Three varieties of pepper jelly, including mild, hot and Golden Pecan

Martin Greer’s Candies (Gateway)      
Candymaker and chocolatier utilizing pre-20th Century recipes and methods

MaryClare Macarons (Hot Springs)             
Handcrafted gourmet macarons in several flavors; custom flavors available

McClard’s Barbecue (Hot Springs)
The restaurant’s barbecue sauce, pepper sauce, seasoning and salsa available for purchase online

Mount Bethel (Altus)
Arkansas winery

Mountain Valley Water  (Hot Springs)
Natural spring water and sparkling water from Hot Springs

Neumeier Winery
Arkansas winery

Oh Baby Foods (Fayetteville)
Organic locally made small batch baby foods

Old South/Bryant Preserving Co. (Alma)
A wide variety of pickles and condiments

Ozark Candy and Nuts (NLR)
Roasted pecans, peanuts, cashews

Fudge, pastries and cakes

Pel-Freez (rabbits) (Rogers) 
Fresh and frozen rabbits

Pepper Source (hot sauce) (Van Buren)
Pepper sauces with customizable labels; custom saucemaking available

Petit Jean Meats (Morrilton)
Ham, sausage, bacon, hot dogs, roast beef, pastrami and other meat products

Post Familie Vineyards (Altus)           
Arkansas winery

Raimondo Winery (Gamaliel)
Arkansas wines, oils and vinegars             

Ratchford Farms (Marshall)
Beef, elk and buffalo meat and assorted products

Refined Ale Brewery (Little Rock)
501) 280-0556
Beer, ale and malt liquor

Riceland Foods (Stuttgart)
Rice and soybean products

Rock Town Distillery (Little Rock)
Vodka, gin, whiskey and other spirits

Sweet Temptations (Greenbrier)
Fudge and candy

Stonebrook Fudge Factory (Mtn.Home)
Fudge and fried pies

Skippy Peanut Butter (Little Rock)
(501) 490-1441
Peanut butter

Tontitown Winery (Tontitown)
Arkansas winery

Two Dumb Dames Fudge (Eureka Springs)
Fudge, chocolate and nostalgic candies

War Eagle Mill (Rogers)
Organically grown and ground flours, cornmeals, beans and other products

WestRock CoffeeRoasters (NLR)
Free trade Arkansas roasted coffees

Wiederkehr Wine Cellars (Altus)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Seven Places You Must Try Fried Chicken in Arkansas.

Arkansas has its own flavor... and much of it is rooted in Southern culture.  And there’s nothing more Southern than fried chicken.

I could sit down in any of a hundred kitchens around my home state and have pan fried chicken so good you’d lick the plate.  But truly great fried chicken is a hard thing to find in an Arkansas restaurant.  Sure, a lot of restaurants try, but just a handful do the dish justice.

Here, in my honest opinion, are the seven best places to have fried chicken in Arkansas.  They’re not numbered because, frankly, they’re all dang good.

Dew-Baby’s. Oh, what a flavor. The little Stuttgart restaurant may not look like much, but it's eight sisters' tribute to a mom who shared it all. The fried chicken there has the tenderness and flavor of being buttermilk-soaked, a very light bit of spicing  with a hint of lemon pepper.  Juicy, flavorful, tender and golden.

AQ Chicken House. Chicken is prepared multiple ways at this 75 year old Springdale establishment, but you'll find the best version is the original: pan-fried, tender, simply seasoned and golden crusted. If you really must have other chicken there, try the Chicken Over The Coals -- strongly seasoned, lemon pepper tinted, slightly blackened and completely decadent.
Monte Ne Inn Chicken Restaurant.The crust of the chicken at this family-style sit-down pass-the-plate restaurant is deep brown, almost russet red. Batter-tight skin like a good pan-fried-and-baked chicken is flavored with paprika, black pepper and special seasoning. There's a flavor that permeates the chicken, even the breast, that gives it a supple flavor equaled only by the tenderness of the meat itself.

Myrtie Mae’s. Mouth-dabbingly moist, lightly golden fried and buttermilk battered, this Eureka Springs restaurant is serving up the same recipe that Myrtie herself started to use on travelers who showed up at her dinner table in the early days of travel for fun in the Ozarks.

David Family Kitchen. I don't know where they get their pieces, but somehow the folks at this soul food cafe in downtown Little Rock manage to pick the fattest chicken legs and thighs for their salt-and-pepper batter. It's juicy enough to worry about having wet elbows when you are done.

Holly’s Country Cooking. Crispy, thickly battered fried chicken that manages to still be light enough to keep you moving back out the door of this Conway mainstay. Available only at lunch, the slightly sweet and salty batter on this chicken will win you over.

The Skillet Restaurant. The latest addition to my chicken list, this is good Ozark style fried chicken -- a little paprika, a little salt, a little black pepper and a lot of buttermilk. I'm told they have to watch out and make sure to have extra wings out on the buffet each Sunday, because those wings are the first to go. You can find it at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View.