Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Bulldog, Bald Knob's Classic Drive In.

Want a classic burger? Ice cream? An epic strawberry shortcake considered one of the best in the world?  You need to head to Bald Knob and try the fare at the Bulldog Restaurant.

The Bulldog Drive In was opened in 1978 by Bob Miller, who raised the money for his fledgling enterprise by working summers during high school and college on a pipeline. He spent his first two years after college working on the Transatlantic Alaskan Pipeline. Other restaurants had operated in the building where he constructed his dream; they’d all failed, but Miller was determined to succeed. He even took on the name of the last restaurant that tried to make it there. The Bulldog, after all, refers to the Bald Knob high school mascot. Miller’s wife, Lece, worked there when she was in high school.

It wasn’t easy in the beginning, but the restaurant did eventually develop a following of local folks who were thrilled with a reasonably priced drive-in that offered pit barbecue, burgers and cheap plate-lunch specials.

However, out-of-towners make the special stop in through the late spring and summer months because of a very special item—the restaurant’s famed strawberry shortcake. This isn’t a fluffy pound cake version, and it’s not served on biscuits like many Arkansas home cooks do it. Miller’s grandmother’s recipe is still used to make the shortcake, which is rolled out and baked. It’s thin, and it’s served covered in fresh strawberries and their juices. You can have it with whipped cream, nuts and even ice cream. But you can’t have it in the fall and winter. Miller uses mostly local berries but stretches the season a little if he can get fresh berries from within the United States. Typically that means you can get the delightful dessert between April Fool’s Day and Labor Day.

So what's it like? Well, there’s always someone in line when you get there. Always. Even without extra traffic, the place stays busy from when the doors open until they close. The tables are often packed. You order at the front counter and take your cups to get your drink. The wait's usually around ten minutes, depending on what you order. They'll bring it to you, don't worry about that.

And so are the burgers. A regular quarter pound burger is pretty decent by itself... but double it and you have a half pound of square patty, cheese melted goodness. The meat is nicely spiced and has tiny bits of onion in it. Burgers come with lettuce, tomato, pickle,
onion, ketchup, mayo and mustard.

They're so good, we almost always get one.

The fries are crispy.

There are other things on
the menu, too. There's a pizza burger, chicken strips, barbecue sandwiches and taco salads. There's a shrimp plate that's pretty big, a large serving of fried shrimp with a piece of Texas Toast.

And then there are the dessert. As I mentioned, the strawberry shortcake is of legend... but there are other options.

There are always pies -- such as the coconut meringue with its lofty top

There's often chocolate meringue, too.

Spice cake a la mode? Why not?

Sundaes?  Banana splits? You betcha.

The Bulldog is a classic, and you do yourself a good favor to check it out if you haven't gone. Just don't wait too long... strawberry shortcake season only lasts a short time.

You’ll find The Bulldog Restaurant east off Exit 55 at Bald Knob. It’s up on the hill on the left once you leave the highway. It’s open at 8:30 a.m. each day and stays open until 10 p.m. (11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday).

Bulldog Drive In
3614 Highway 367
Bald Knob, AR 72010


  1. A friend of mine who frequents the Bulldog says that after he finishes his strawberry shortcake, he'll get a piece of chocolate pie for dessert. That sounds like a well-balanced meal.

  2. I'll testify to the barbecued chicken sandwich, too.

  3. The bbq pork sandwich is delish, the best around this area; after strawberry season is over, stop in for FRESH peach shakes and shortcakes! The fresh peach and fresh strawberry shakes are my fave!


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