Saturday, May 16, 2015

Burger Lists: A Rant.

Arkansas burgers? I've had a few.
From time to time, you'll see me rant on here about the shoddy state of clickbait journalism. There are far too many websites out there just looking for someone to visit, and they use unscrupulous tactics to get you there.  In the past few years, that's included what my friend Michael calls "listicles," which are posts that enumerate points or items.  If you've seen the "Top 25 of This" or "10 Ways to That" sort of pieces out there, you know what I mean.

Sadly, we're seeing a lot of that with "experts" who are claiming the top restaurants for different types of things in Arkansas.  For instance,

One of these sites,, has come up with its supposed list of the 25 best burgers to be had in the state of Arkansas.  For your benefit and so you don't have to click through, the list goes:
25.  Root Cafe, Little Rock
24.  Salem Dairy Bar, Salem (Benton)
23.  Bulldog Restaurant, Bald Knob
22.  Morrilton Drive Inn Restaurant, Morrilton
21.  DJ's Drive In, Bismarck
20.  Thirst 'N' Howl, Little Rock
19.  Chopping Block, Mena
18.  Boss BBQ, Benton
17.  Red Door, Little Rock 
16.  Feltner Brothers, Fayetteville
15.  Dairy Shack, Waldenburg
14.  Johnny B's, El Dorado
13.  Cotham's Mercantile, Scott/Cotham's in the City, Little Rock
12.  Hamburger Barn, Arkadelphia
11.  Viola Stampede, Viola
10.  Boardwalk Cafe, Jasper
9.  Sparky's Roadhouse and Ultralounge, Eureka Springs
8.  Myer's Cruizzers, Mena
7.  The Back Forty, Mountain Home
6.  Hamburger Station, Paragould
5.  Dairyette, Mount Ida
4.  Asher Dairy Bar, Little Rock
3.  Greenhouse Grille, Fayetteville
2.  Benson's Grill, Fort Smith
1.  David's Burgers, Little Rock

One of Grav's friends sent him the link, and he read it off to me as we were on the road, actually heading to the World Championship Steak Cook-Off in Magnolia -- because, of course, we actually GO places and do our research.  And as he read off the list, I noticed something.  Something sounded very, very odd.

They're all places I have reviewed.

Okay, that may seem a bit pompous, but get this -- with the exception of the Morrilton Drive-Inn Restaurant, Asher Dairy Bar and DJ's in Bismarck, they're all in my 50 Best Burgers of 2011 piece on this here blog.  What's more -- they're almost all burgers I wrote about in the Burger Joint of the Week pieces I did on Eat Arkansas between June and November 2011.  And Viola Stampede?  It's been closed for over a year.

If I were writing Eat Arkansas right now, I'd be doubly cheesed.

COME ON.  At least Thrillist did SOME research when it came to its choices of seven (heavily NWA centered) burgers in The Natural State.   And I think Thrillist is one of the worst at this.

I'm guessing it's time I put together a dang listicle of my own that encompasses all of the best burgers.  For now, if you'd like to see some of the awesome burgers I have eaten, head to this Facebook album.  Seriously.

And I'll see what I can come up with for your burger-eating pleasure.


  1. Kat, there is a drive in called the polar freeze in walnut ridge. It's been in business for over 50 years. Best cheeseburger in the state. Bbq is pretty good too.

    1. Jack Allison's an excellent storyteller... and I do indeed need to try the Polar Freeze burger. For those of you who don't know, Jack's 80 now... he makes his barbecue out of pork hams rather than pork butts, and may be the reason folks actually know about The Beatles coming to Walnut Ridge. I need to go do a more comprehensive piece on the Polar Freeze. Thanks for that!

  2. Admittedly, I don't always agree with your reviews. OK, let me rephrase that, I may not have knowledge of a review you do of a particular place or type of food. I eat a lot of burgers and a LOT of BBQ. My only comment to you was about the BBQ list from a while back. Not so much about the ones you picked, but instead about the places not included.

    And I know there will ALWAYS be places that are not I really wasn't even complaining.

    I just want to say that I now FOLLOW you on Facebook. I appreciate and respect your reviews...because you TAKE THE TIME to speak candidly and also include information about the establishment, as well as pictures. Thank you for that ... and keep'em coming.

    1. Thank you, Wally. I think it's important to document our restaurants and do the research... and I'm just about fed up with these clickbait jerks. I'll keep trying to do right by you and everyone else.

  3. If you're talking locally owned places, School House Cafe in Goshen has about 5 different kinds of burgers and they are all divine. I always tell myself I'm going to try something new but I have yet to get something other than a burger. Another great place is Y Drive In in Huntsville. I think they have basic burgers and cheeseburgers, but they taste like home. I also really enjoy the Kosmos Burger at Kosmos Greek Cafe in Fayetteville but I'm not sure if that's a chain.

    1. Your blog makes me happy. It really shows the love & dedication you have for little learners.Thanks.


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