The map, and this project, spring from the simple question of "what is Arkansas food?" - which I've been working to define since 2007.
|Arkansas Food Map T-shirts from Rock City Outfitters.|
|Click to enlarge.|
These foodstuffs, dishes, produce and products have been selected for this list because they're grown here, raised here or consumed greatly here. Many of the items listed, such as fried pickles and cheese dip, are documented as actually having been created in Arkansas.
Have an addition? Drop a mention in the comments or send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Apple stands, such as House of Banta near Green Forest, used|
to dot Arkansas highways.
|Peppered bacon from Petit Jean Meats.|
|Arkansas-style bacon on the Dead Rooster blog.|
|Chicken Enchiladas for lunch at The Oasis in Eureka Springs.|
|Armadillo eggs from Main Street Pizza in El Dorado.|
Armadillo eggs. These sausage-wrapped cheese-filled jalapeno peppers are a specialty on the menu at Main Street Pizza in El Dorado. Make your own with this recipe from Arkansas Redneck.
|Bacon from Hillcrest Artisan Meats in Little Rock.|
|Smoked Petit Jean bacon at Coursey's Smoked Meats in St. Joe.|
|Barbecue sandwich at Smokehouse BBQ in Newport.|
|Half a smoked chicken at Rivertowne BBQ in Ozark.|
|Barbecue-stuffed baked potato at Ralph's Pink Flamingo|
BBQ in Fort Smith.
|Pork plate at Hoot's BBQ in McGehee,|
|Mr. Harold Jones assembles the famed pork barbecue|
sandwiches at Jones Barbecue Diner in Marianna.
Bean Dip. Primarily a side component at The Cow Pen in Lake Village, bean dip or refried beans are also featured across the state at various Ark-Mex, Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants.
|Cattle at Greenlawn Farm near Gravette.|
|A beer flight at Old Chicago in Conway.|
|The 33 ounce Porterhouse for Two at Taylor's Steakhouse.|
|Prime Rib of Beef at Colonial Steakhouse in Pine Bluff.|
|A sirloin steak at The Tamale Factory in Gregory.|
|Biscuit at Couch's Barbecue in Paragould.|
Biscuit Pudding. A recipe reportedly handed down from Liberty Bell, the proprietor of a classic restaurant bearing her name in Forrest City and now the specialty at an eatery run by her descendants, the Ole Sawmill Cafe. The recipe appears in Classic Eateries of the Arkansas Delta.
|Picking wild blackberries by hand in Faulkner County.|
|Blueberries for sale at the Little Rock Farmers Market.|
Blueberries. Native to North America, blueberries cultivate very well here in Arkansas, and several you-pick-em farms offer a chance to take home your own during the late spring. The Good Earth people can tell you how to grow them yourself.
|Buffalo grazing at Ratchford Farms near Marshall.|
|Bradley County pink tomatoes.|
|Bright red weiners undergoing the cure at|
Petit Jean Meats in Morrilton.
Brown N' Serve Rolls. Created by Charles T. Meyer, Jr. of Meyer's Bakery on West Seventh Street in Little Rock in the 1930s, these rolls became the go-to dinnertime bread for generations of people all across the United States. The partially cooked rolls would be packaged in plastic and were shipped to grocery stores, where home cooks could take them home and refrigerate them until they were needed.
|Hickory burger at Big Orange Midtown in Little Rock.|
|Lima beans or butter beans at Mama Max's in Prescott.|
|Butter cake at the now defunct Bonnie's in Watson.|
|Butter roll from closed Madea's Kitchen in West Memphis,|
Butter roll. A popular dish in the Arkansas Delta, this is a marriage of the idea of cinnamon rolls in a pan and good, fresh, hot dinner rolls. A recipe from the Helena Daily World, here.
|A catfish strip on fries at 4th and Fish in Stuttgart.|
|A display of Cavender's historic products.|
Cheese. A new addition to the Arkansas foods
|A fine cheese from Kent Walker's Artisan Cheese in|
Kent Walker and the others that are bound to appear. Walker's parents winemaking experience prepared him for this big step, and he's worked his way up from a kitchen incubator in a church to the former Diamond Bear Brewery location in Little Rock. Try the Ophelia... and take a tour of his new place.
|Cheese dip at Chip's Barbecue in Little Rock.|
|The descendant of the cheese-filled hot dog: Petit Jean Meat's|
cheese and jalapeno filled sausage.
|Chess pie from South on Main in Little Rock.|
Chess pie. The name of this dessert is a bastardization of its real name, "just pie." When you're broke and have nothing more for filling... or if you're aching for the simplicity of earlier times, chess pie is for you. There's a recipe in Arkansas Pie: A Delicious Slice of the Natural State.
|Dark meat chicken at Dew-Baby's in Stuttgart.|
|Fried chicken gizzards at Walker's Drive In in Marked Tree.|
|Assorted chocolates at Martin Greer's Candies in Gateway.|
|Chocolate gravy on biscuits at Gadwall's Grill in|
North Little Rock.
|Chocolate roll from Misty's|
Shell in Leslie.
Chocolate rolls. Searcy County, Arkansas is the World Chocolate Roll Capital -- which is undoubtedly true, since it's the ONLY place in the world you can find them. A recipe and a story, here.
Coon. No, we don't really eat coon all the time. But if you're planning on running for political office in Arkansas, you have to attend the trial-by-fire known as the Gillett Coon Supper. It's just part of the prerequisites.
|Cornbread at Cock of the Walk in|
North Little Rock.
Corned beef sandwiches. Introduced to Arkansas in 1904 at the opening of Oaklawn Racetrack in Hot Springs, it quickly spread and developed into the Arkansas Reuben (see below). Learn more about how the dish is celebrated each year at Oaklawn, here.
|Cotton Blossoms at Colonial Steakhouse in Pine Bluff.|
Crappie. Pronounced CROP-ee, one of the best-tasting gamefish you'll find anywhere. Crappie aren't sold in restaurants -- it's against the law. But you can catch your fill at any of a number of Arkansas lakes and rivers. Find out how to properly fish for crappie at the Arkansas Game and Fish website.
|Crawfish on the buffet at Dondie's White River Princess|
in Des Arc.
|Cream gravy and biscuits at Cozy Kitchen in Mountain Home.|
|Cushaw pie at Williams Tavern Restaurant, Historic|
Washington State Park near Hope.
|Dang Good Pie from the former 302 on the Square, Berryville.|
Dang good pie. A delicious pineapple and coconut pie served at the now closed 302 on the Square in Berryville, with a recipe that had been handed down since the Civil War. An approximation can be found here.
|The counter at Benson's Grill in Fort Smith.|
|Lemon filled doughnut at Irish Maid Donuts in Fort Smith.|
Doughnuts. Though the purveyor of Arkansas's largest doughnuts, Craig's Family Bakery in Van Buren, has gone under, the golden rounds are still popular. Numerous great doughnut places are found across the state... here's a list.
|A smoked Arkansas Delta duck breast.|
Edamame. The immature
|Edamame lavash with hummus at One Eleven|
at the Capital in Little Rock,
Eggplant. Though some have suggested the purple vegetable only caught on in Arkansas in the 20th century, recipes from the Arkansas Gazette indicate its presence here a century earlier. Check out the 1831 reference to fried eggplant in Matters and Things in General, a book published by the Arkansas Territorial Restoration Foundation (now the Historic Arkansas Museum) in 1974.
|Egg appetizers created by Chef Billy Ginocchio of the|
Arkansas Culinary School at Pulaski Technical College.
|The Excaliburger at the|
Ozark Cafe in Jasper.
Excaliburger. The Ozark Cafe in Jasper is the birthplace for this over-the-top burger creation, which sandwiches a half pound burger patty between two grilled cheese sandwiches. The Ozark Cafe is also home to the Deep Fried Burger and the Cheese Volcano.
French dip. Though the French dip wasn't created in Arkansas, an incarnation of the sandwich with jus lives on at Ed Walker's Drive In, which has been serving up the sandwich to customers since the 1940s on Fort Smith's Towson Avenue.
|Barbecue bologna sandwich at Sim's Barbecue in Little Rock.|
|Fried cabbage from the defunct Stout's Diner in Jacksonville.|
|Fried chicken and spaghetti at Venesian Inn in Tontitown.|
Fried chicken and spaghetti. The combination came to be thanks to Italian-American settlers who first immigrated from Italy to the Sunnyside Plantation (near current day Lake Village), then moved again to what's now Tontitown (more on the history, here). Best experienced at Tontitown's famed Venesian Inn.
|Fried pickles (and club sandwich) at Southern Grill in Ozark.|
|Apple fried pies from Front Porch Bakery in Caddo Valley.|
Fried pies. Found throughout the state, extremely popular in the Arkansas Delta. Someone should write a book about that. Hey...
Frito chili pie, It's up for debate, but Claude Spradlin Jr. makes a good case that the Frito chili pie may have first been created at Spradlin's Drive In in England, Arkansas.
|Fudge from PattiCakes Bakery in Conway.|
Garden greens. A number of operations across the state, including North Pulaski Farms, have turned to growing various lettuce varieties, spinach and other salad greens that are now sold across the state. Check out the Arkansas Grown website for green growers near you.
|The Giant Cheeseburger at Ed Walker's Drive In in Fort Smith. Regular cheeseburger sits|
atop to provide scale.
|Cynthiana grapes on the vine at Dahlem Vineyard in|
Grapette. One of the original Fook's Flavors,
|A tumbler of Grapette at Wood's Place in Camden.|
|Green tomato relish at Catfish Hole in Alma.|
|Ham and eggs at The Pancake Shop in Hot Springs.|
|Honey on buttered rolls at Doc's Grill in Searcy.|
Honey. Yes, honey is available anywhere. We love it here. We love it so much, we'll buy it honestly on the honor system. Really.
|Hubcap burger at Cotham's Mercantile in Scott.|
|Hunter with a cinnamon roll at Burl's|
Country Smokehouse in Royal.
Hush puppies. The default side for catfish, often created from leftover catfish batter and egg, hush puppies received their name from cooks who would throw those bits of fried batter to the dogs to keep them quiet while everyone else enjoyed their catfish. The best I've found have been at Catfish Hole in Alma, though the ones served at the annual Grady Fish Fry are also very good.
|Governor Mike Beebe tries some of the first flavor batches of|
the recently reintroduced Yarnell's Ice Cream.
|A handcrafted sorbet from Loblolly Creamery.|
|Italian Roast from The Meat Shoppe in Gravel Ridge.|
Italian roast. The creation of Kent Berry, this pork roast found at The Meat Shoppe in Gravel Ridge contains not only Italian seasonings but pepperoni, salami, provolone and mozzarella as well. Call first for availability.
|Homemade jellies for sale at the Johnson County Peach|
Festival in Clarksville.
Jerky. The next step past smoked meats is jerky. You can find buffalo, elk and beef jerky from Ratchford Farms all over the state, and there's a special house jerky that's famed from Burl's Country Smokehouse.
Little Rock roll. The Japanese joints around Little Rock like to create their own version. Sakura's includes fried shrimp, crab, lettuce, avocado, cucumber, tobiko and eel sauce; Mount Fuji's consists of boiled shrimp, avocado and cucumber, while Hanaroo's is cream cheese, crab stick, avocado, asparagus and potato salad fried and topped with chili sauce. Still, it's popular both inside and outside the city.
|Mayhaws at Paul's Mayhaws near El Dorado.|
|A milk pail at Anglin Dairy near|
Milk. The state beverage of Arkansas, you'll find plenty of dairy farms in northwestern Arkansas. See what life's like on a dairy farm at the Anglin Dairy blog,
|Golden muscadines at Post Familie Vineyard in Altus.|
Muscadines. Indigenous to Arkansas, these wild grapes have a thick skin most people spit out. They make an excellent juice and Arkansas-centric wine popular with many locals. Both Post Familie and Wiederkehr Wine
|Black walnut pie at Boardwalk Cafe in Jasper.|
Nuts. Pecans, hickory nuts and black walnuts are all indigenous to Arkansas and can be found in our woods. While pecan groves are common and popular, you'll be hard pressed to find hickory nuts at your local grocery store. A
|Sliced okra for a presentation by Chef Matt McClure of|
The Hive at 21c Museum Hotel, Bentonville.
Okra. You may think it's slimy, but okra is definitely an Arkansas flavor. Most restaurants that serve the dish fry it, but it can also be found pickled (Elizabeth's in Batesville) or even in a great melange such as Chef Matt McClure's Okratoille.
|Old fashioned chocolate fried pie at Batten's Bakery|
|The annual Italian Spaghetti Supper at the Tontitown Grape|
Festival in Tontitown.
|Peaches from Peach Pickin' Paradise near Clarksville.|
Pecans. Indigenous to Arkansas, pecans make a welcome late-fall protein addition that appears in everything from pie to casseroles. They're also great for snacking. Read all about Arkansas pecans, here.
|Liz and Linda's Red Pepper Jelly at The Savory Pantry.|
|Pho from Pho Thanh My in Little Rock.|
|Pigmeat sandwich from Penn Barbecue in Blytheville.|
Pimento cheese. Arkansas gold is a
|Pimento cheese snack from Julie's Bake Shoppe in Conway.|
Pizza burger. A disappearing part of Arkansas's dairy diner menus, this is a patty of ground beef infused with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese encased in breading, served like a regular
|Pizza burger at Walker's Dairy Bar in Marked Tree.|
Play-De-Do. The official drink of the city served at Cajun's Wharf, a 40 year old institution that brings the flavors of Louisiana right to the banks of the Arkansas River. Those who drink
|Cajun's Wharf's Play-De-Do.|
Poke Salat. Indigenous to Arkansas, the large-leaved poke weed is actually considered poisonous, but cooked right (washed, boiled, washed, boiled, etc.) it becomes a beautiful and essential part of the rural experience. Seldom cultivated, poke salat was actually canned by the Allen Canning Company (of first Alma and then Siloam Springs) up until 2000, when it reportedly could not find people interested in picking it wild any longer. It's still found anywhere from the side of the road to forest glens to old homesteads, for those wishing to undertake the making of a mess. Learn more in this excellent essay.
|Pork chops and eggs at Skyline Cafe in Mena.|
|The four layer pie at Cafe Bossa Nova, a type of possum pie.|
Motley's in Little Rock and Peebles in Augusta. Little Rock Family has put together a list.
|PurpleHull peas both in the pod and in a simmer.|
|Fried Quail at Murry's Restaurant near Hazen.|
|A rabbit lunch special at South on Main in Little Rock.|
|The Raccoon BearClaw WaWa.|
Red gravy. Not to be confused with the coffee-infused redeye gravy, this tomato-based roux is an old Arkansas Delta and Timberland concoction served over biscuits or cabbage. You'll find it on the menu to put on your potatoes at The Faded Rose.
|The Reuben at Presley's Drive In in Jonesboro.|
|Ribs in the smoke at White Pig Inn in North Little Rock.|
|Rice in hulls.|
|Rice with brown gravy.|
Rice with brown gravy. A popular side dish or poor man's dish, this is a bowl of rice served either under or mixed in with a cream gravy deepened to a dark roux. It'll stick to your bones.
Smoked sirloin. A famed dish at Fred's Hickory Inn in Bentonville (Sam Walton's favorite restaurant, still struggling to reopen after a fire). The smoking imparts a different, woody, tangy flavor to the meat.
|Burge's smoked turkey.|
|Chicken and rice from the closed 302 on the Square|
Smothered chicken. Similar to rice with brown gravy, this is a concoction of long-stewed chicken in its own gravy, served over rice. Alternately, a boneless fried chicken section covered in chicken gravy. A recipe from Arkansas Foodies.
|Catfish with Soybeans, Corn Mash, Crispy Potato|
and Hollandaise at the Arkansas Soy Supper at South on Main.
|The Popeye statue in Alma.|
Spinach. Alma, Arkansas has long fought for its place as Spinach Capital of the World. The original location for the Allen Canning Company, Alma actually has a park dedicated to Popeye the Sailor Man, aficionado of fine spinach.
Spudnuts. Two outlets of the former potato-flour donut chain remain in Arkansas, and have developed a strong following.
Discover the history of the Spudnut, here.
Strawberry cobbler. A delicious dessert that's been on the menu at the Rock Cafe in Waldron for generations and which is slowly spreading through western Arkansas. Seasonal to late spring and early summer.
|Strawberry shortcake at the Bulldog Drive In in Bald Knob.|
Strawberries. From late April through mid-June, the food focus is on the sweet-tart ripe
|Strawberries from Holland Bottom Farms in Cabot.|
Sugared rice. In many rural areas of Arkansas, this breakfast staple is offered instead of oatmeal. Christy Jordan's Southern Plate shares a sugared rice memory.
|Corn at the Little Rock Farmers Market.|
|Sweet potatoes can be harvested throughout the year.|
Sweet Potatoes. Indigenous to Arkansas, these tubers are mild to deep orange in color and are used in casseroles, pies and as a side dish, often
|Sweet Potato Pie at Wilson Cafe in Wilson.|
Sweet Potato Pie. Little Rock's Sweet Potato Pie King, Robert "Say" MacIntosh, popularized the longstanding dessert for decades through his own efforts and through restaurants he ran. Today, his pies are celebrated with the annual "Say It Ain't Say's" sweet potato pie contest each December at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock.
|A tamale from Rhoda's Famous Hot Tamales and Pies|
in Lake Village.
The Stoby. A sandwich featuring your choice of bread, three meats and two cheeses with special sauce, popularized at Stoby's in Conway and Russellville. The meats include ham, smoked turkey, Petit Jean summer sausage, Petit Jean salami or Petit Jean bologna; cheeses to select from are American, Swiss, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Provolone or Pepper Jack; and you can have the combination on a pita, a wheat pita, a bun, whole wheat bread, sourdough or marble rye. The Stoby is really anything you make it.
|Tomatoes from Friends Orchard in Harrison.|
|Trace Creek Potatoes at Brown's Country Store and|
Restaurant in Benton.
Trace Creek Potatoes. A potato dish created at and offered by Brown's Country Store and Restaurant in Benton.
|White River trout.|
Trout. Introduced to Arkansas and popular in its rivers, especially the White River and Red River in northern and eastern Arkansas. Find out where to fish for trout and the regulations of doing so at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission website. Great trout recipes available at the Gaston's White River Resort website.
|DeVito's Trout Pate.|
Turkey. Bred and raised all over Arkansas, and also a popular wild fowl hunted each fall and spring. Wild turkey can be taken during a couple week period each year in April. An amusing story about the former annual Turkey Drop at the Turkey Trot Festival in Yellville.
Turkey Fries. A dish of dubious contents served alongside calf fries (beef testicles) and dragonfries (stuffed jalapenos) at Cattleman's Steak House in Texarkana.
|Turnips at the Eureka Springs Farmers Market.|
Uncle Roman. A specialty double-crust pizza offered at Steffey's Pizza in Lavaca. The recipe is in Classic Eateries of the Ozarks and Arkansas River Valley.
|Deer spotted near Devil's Den State Park.|
hunting deer in Arkansas here, and savor some great venison recipes with Phyllis and John of AETN's Cooking on the Wild Side here.
Water. With a distinctive green bottle with the red or blue label (red for the spring water, blue for the sparkling), Mountain Valley Water has replaced Perrier as the house water of choice at some of the finest dining establishments in the world.
|Hunter at the Cave City Watermelon Festival.|
Post Familie Vineyards, Mount Bethel Winery and Chateaux Aux Arc Winery. Cowie Wine Cellar is a short distance away on the other side of the Arkansas River. New wineries have recently popped up in Eureka Springs, Tontitown and Morrilton.
|Yellow squash at the Little Rock Farmers Market.|
|Zucchini from the Bentonville Farmers Market.|
Have an addition to this list? Wanna fight about it? Leave your suggestion in the comments.