O'Henry's a while back. My travels haven't had me out on Arkansas Highway 365 in a while, so when I was passing through the area recently and had a hunger in my belly, seeing a new shingle hung on the old restaurant was enough to get me to pull off the road.
I will mention that I had come in just after 2 p.m., so whatever lunch rush might have taken place was long over. Everything was neat as a pin.
The menu at Taylor's Made Cafe is far more downhome than its predecessor, with a smattering of salads and burgers and sandwiches and a selection of complete dinners. The vegetable side offerings are extensive and include everything from coleslaw to pinto beans, corn, onion rings, mashed potatoes, Great Northern beans, green beans, French fries, tater tots, blackeyed peas, fried okra, fried squash, baked potato and rice pilaf. I dithered over the idea of a vegetable plate based on those offerings alone. I also dallied over the idea of a hot roast beef sandwich over Texas toast, but the temperature was hovering close to the three digit mark.
And then I spotted the chicken fried steak and it was all over. You can tell a lot about a restaurant from a chicken fried steak.
There was a scramble in the kitchen, and a lot of clattering. I heard the hiss of frying, but not the bubbling notes of a deep fryer. No, I believe I heard the sizzle of a skillet, and there was much banging around here and there. The menu said deep fried, but I do wonder if maybe, being the only customer in the dining room at the time, if perhaps... oh, who knows?
Now, I've had many a fine chicken fried steak. What
What really impressed me, though, were the slices of yellow squash that had just been lightly seasoned and dropped in the flour. No heavy breading here... this was good, old fashioned south Arkansas style fried squash, and you could taste the squash itself. Sometimes I get rather bored with fried squash at restaurants, especially when it's obvious it's been machine-processed, but this was the work of someone who knew how to cook and wasn't afraid to let the flavor of the vegetable shine through.
I'll have to drop in at Taylors' Made Cafe sometime soon with friends. There is construction in the area where the new exit off I-40 is coming in, but inside it's pretty and it's quiet, and there's a bar in the back room. I understand there's often live music in the evening, and the place is open quite late, until 10 p.m. most days and to midnight on Friday and Saturday. Drop in and let me know what you think.
Taylors' Made Cafe
283 Hwy 365
Conway, Arkansas 72032