The Arkansas State Fair continues through October 18th in Little Rock. Here's your guide to all the food at the Arkansas State Fair - what's new, what's back and what's available all over the fairgrounds. Everything's in alphabetical order, so you can figure out if your choice is out there this year.
Some vendors are taking plastic this year, including McKinney Food Services, Mad Marty's Cheesesteak Factory and a few others. Otherwise, fair food is a cash operation. Hey, it beats having to buy tickets, which happens at so many other state fairs across the country.
If you have kids, take some quart or gallon sized zip-top bags in your satchel for when said children decide they don't want to spend the time to consume sticky sweet desserts before getting on more rides. Wet towelettes are also a marvelous idea.
. Similar to the Tasty Tom winners of 2013, the fried apple rings, these are strips of apple that have been flour-battered with cinnamon and sugar, fried and served with sauce. $6 at Fried What? near the Main Stage.
Arkansas-shaped peanut patties
. Elve's Candy Company
was started by Elve Otwell in Texarkana back in 1956. The legendary red peanut patties have become a southwest Arkansas staple. This year, Elve's makes its first Arkansas state fair appearance with several differently shaped patties, including this Natural State version. The Arkansas patty is $12, party patties are $14. Small patties are $3.50, as are bags of peanut crumbles. Find them near the Hall of Industry.
Arkansas's largest deep fried pickle
. Probably not what Bernell Austin had in mind when he created the fried pickle. This is a large whole dill, battered and deep fried like a corn dog, served on a stick. Get the ranch dressing. $4 at Pat's Kitchen.
. Unlike the sausage version offered at Main Street Pizza in El Dorado, this is the Texas version, which are bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken breasts.
. The popular combination of iced tea and lemonade is available at several stands around the fairgrounds this year. Simple, refreshing, and you won't be scratching your head over the ingredients.
. This crazy concoction from Fried What? consisting of a Hershey's kiss in a brownie ball, covered with chocolate chip cookie dough and peanut butter, rolled in bacon crumbs, deep fried and served with ice cream.
Bacon-wrapped Jo Jo potatoes
. The bacon-cheese-fry without the cheese, each of these thick potato wedges are wrapped in a single strip of bacon before being fried. Yes, you can get it with cheese sauce. $5 at Pat's Kitchen.
. Yep, Oreo cookies wrapped in bacon. You have now seen it all. They're one for $4 or two for $7 at Fried What?
Bacon-wrapped sausage filled jalapenos
. Up the pork in your life with this deep-fried gambit. It might actually be too much meat, but the jalapeno makes it very spicy. Share with friends.
. While pulled pork sandwiches with or without barbecue sauce are offered elsewhere on the fairgrounds, Mickey's Grill in the Food Court offers beef barbecue sandwiches for $7 -$10 if you want to add a drink and a bag of chips.
. My friend Leif calls it guilding the lily - dipping bacon in batter and deep frying it. You decide if he's right or not. $6 at the Cheeseburger on a Stick stand.
. The ultimate gotta-share-with-friends dish of the Arkansas State Fair, this two foot long, two and a half pound hot dog comes naked or dressed with everything you want, including chili, cheese, slaw, onions, cheese sauce, jalapenos, maybe even bacon. It's $15 plain, $18 with chili and cheese and $20 with the works. Also, if you want it with four drinks, it's $30. Find it at the Blue Moon Pavilion.
. A deep fried chicken breast treated like a hot dog, with your choice of toppings (bacon, cheese sauce, jalapeno peppers, etc.). Introduced at the 2014 Arkansas State Fair. You'll find it at McKinney Food Services near the south end of the Midway for $8.
. A whole onion, specially sliced, battered, deep fried and served with dipping sauce. The shape is the novelty (though Outback Steakhouse has been doing these for years). $10 at the Ribbon Fries stand near the heart of the Midway or $8 at the Grater Tater stand in the Food Court.
. Want some Louisiana-style sausage? The popular white sausage made from pork is available at Larry's Cajun Shak for $6.
. Yes, you can get breakfast at the Arkansas State Fair. Sure, the Midway doesn't open at the crack of dawn, but there are plenty of people out and about with livestock, events that are being judges and people looking at arts and crafts. At the Petit Jean Meats Smokehouse, you can get a breakfast with smoked ham, sausage biscuits and gravy, eggs, fried bologna, bacon and more.
. Pancake batter around sausage links, you'll find them at Chris' Jumbo Corndog in the Food Court, three for $5.
Buffalo Ranch spiced nuts
. Ozark Candies and Nuts
introduces this new flavor, which pairs Buffalo seasoning with ranch dressing to create a savory snack. Find it in the Hall of Industry.
. Oversized burritos are available at the Big Show Diner. You can get bean ($3.50), beef ($4.50), supreme (S5.50) or chicken ($6.50).
Calzones and stromboli
. Both are available for $8 at the Fresh Oven Baked Pizza stand in the north section of the Midway. They're easier to eat than pizza, and a bit larger than your average slice. Yay carbs.
. Available at Candy Tower near the Big Show Diner for $3 or 2 for $5, also available in the Hall of Industry.
. The old fashioned classic is back and available in bright colors at Candy Tower, at the intersection in front of the Big Show Diner for $5 a bag.
. You'll find these fair favorites in the Hall of Industry and at several other vendors around the fairgrounds. Nothing like a classic! $4 at the stand at the end of the midway or at Candy Tower (which also offers a nutty version for $4).
. The old fashioned fair staple is still offered at the Cotton Candy Apple stand in the Family Zone at the northwest corner of the state fairgrounds. It's $4 a bag.
. Of course Arkansas's own creation, originally delivered by Blackie Donnelly, makes its appearance at the state's largest fair. You'll find cheese dip and tortilla chips for $5 at the Burger Wagon. There's also the original Arkansas State Fair original recipe blend at the Big Show Diner, which runs $3.50 for small and $7 for large, with chips.
. I kid you not, this is a thing (we usually call it Sonic ice). Get a cup at the Cheesesteak Factory (green trailer near south end of the Midway) and fill it with said ice and your choice of soft drink. $6 for a big cup, $3 refills.
Chicken on a stick
. Nothing unusual or crazy about this, but a deep fried chicken breast strip on a stick does make for easier transport and dipping. $7 at McKinney Food Services near the south end of the Midway, the Ribbon Fries stand near the center of the Midway, and at Pat's Kitchen in the Food Court.
. Offered several places, including at Memaw's Homemade Concessions in the Food Court, where the chili is house made. $3 without the chili, $4 with the chili.
. Once considered a delicacy at the Arkansas State Fair, the Chinese American Restaurant booth continues a grand tradition of serving up fried rice and egg rolls to fairgoers. The prices are very, very reasonable, with a big plate of fried rice starting at $6 and Sweet and Sour Chicken with fried rice at $8.75. You can spend $10 and get teriyaki beef meatballs with egg roll and fried rice, which is decent enough to share.
Chipotle glazed nuts
. Ozark Candies and Nuts has combined roasted chipotle peppers with sugar and butter to create a perfect coating for cashews and other nuts. Warm but not too spicy.
Chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick
. Exactly what it says in the title, this is a slice of cheesecake that's been dipped in chocolate. Eat it quick -- once it warms up, it will fall apart. It's $7 at the Fried Twinkie stand next to the Hall of Industry.
. Hands down, the most reasonably priced item you'll find at the Arkansas State Fair. Hiland Dairy offers cold sweet creamy treats of all sorts between the pig races and gator wrasslin' just off the midway. A cup-sized carton of white, skim or chocolate milk, it's just 50 cents.
The second cheapest beverage at the Arkansas State Fair is coffee... available at the Big Show Diner for a dollar.
. There are corn dogs all over the fair -- some pre-made, some hand-dipped, none finer than those brought by Randy's Superdog, which has been coming to the Arkansas State Fair for 37 years now. Long, longer and longest, they're good meat dogs dipped fresh and deep fried. Listen for the clanging bell -- that's when they're being pulled from the grease and are ready to go.
Corn in a cup
. Apparently this is a thing. You can get a cup of corn for $6 at Larry's Cajun Shak in the Food Court.
. Offered at Michael's Family Kitchen for $5, these are deep fried corn morsels.
. There's few places you can go on the fairgrounds where you won't find cotton candy. We're still waiting for the cotton candy apples to come out. $5 regular, $7 large at the south end of the Midway. Candy Tower in front of the Big Show Diner offers a small bag for $4 and a Monster bag for $7.
Deep fried bacon-wrapped Oreo cookies
. Fried What? always has some crazy item to roll out, and this year's no different. Almost as over-the-top as the Bacon Bomb, this is... exactly what it says it is, mixing salty, savory and sweet all in one dish.
. The ice cream of the future is at an Arkansas State Fair stand near you -- or at least near the Food Court. Enjoy these pellets of ice cream in several flavors, including Cookies n' Cream, Strawberry Cheesecake and Cotton Candy.
. A cookie dough-wrapped deep fried Oreo covered in powdered sugar, available at Fried What? three for $5.50.
Floats and Flurries
. The Ice Cream vendor near the old Main Gate of the Arkansas State Fair offers root beer and Coke floats for $5 and flurries with M&Ms, Reeces cups or Oreos for $6.
. Either in slices or in halves with meatball centers, avocados are found deep fried at the Arkansas State Fair. Get your trayful at Cheeseburger on a Stick in the Food Court for $6.
Fried bologna sandwiches
. Petit Jean Meats Smokehouse is offering this old-school Arkansas favorite, a thick slice of Petit Jean Meats bologna on white bread. Your choice of mayo or mustard or none at all.
. A southern favorite, you'll be able to order your plateful at the Big Show Diner throughout the fair. $9.50 with fries on the side.
Fried cheese on a stick
. Grater Tater offers these for $5.
Fried cheeseburger on a stick
. Ground beef and cheese are packed together on a stick, dipped in corn dog batter and deep fried. Surprisingly good, especially with ketchup or mustard. They're $7 at the Cheeseburger on a Stick stand.
Fried cheesecake on a stick
. Exactly what it says it is, a sweetly battered and deep fried slice of cheesecake on a stick. Holds together better than the regular chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick. South end of the Midway for $7 or at the gray building by the Hall of Industry.
. Boneless fried chicken is available several places, including as a dinner at the Big Show Diner.
. That's the $6 specialty at Fried Dough in the Family Zone section of the Midway.
Fried gator on a stick
. Available at the Arkansas State Fair for several years now, this one's still popular. Chunks of alligator meat, white onions, zucchini and potato on a stick, dipped in a lightly peppered tempura batter and deep fried. $8 at the Cheeseburger on a Stick stand.
Fried Milky Way
. Another twist on deep fried candy bars -- this one's $5 at the Fried Twinkie stand by the Hall of Industry.
Yes, in addition to the bacon-wrapped fried Oreos, red velvet fried Oreos and who knows what else, you can get regular, "old fashioned" fried Oreos for $5 at the Fried Dough stand in the Family Zone on the Midway or at the Fried Twinkie stand next to the Hall of Industry.
Fried pickles in tempura batter
. Much closer to the original Bernell Austin version, these are tempura battered pickle spear chunks fried and served with ranch dressing. My favorite choice for fried pickles at the fair. Find them for $5 at Grater Taters.
. Apple and cherry, both are available at the Big Show Diner for $2. A bargain!
Fried Snickers bar
. Yes, they're still around. Get one at the south end of the Midway for $4 or at the Fried Twinkie stand by the Hall of Industry or the Grater Tater stand for $5.
. Since someone figured out you can deep-freeze a Twinkie, batter and deep fry it for something truly devilish and light, these have become a fair staple. They're $4 at the end of the Midway or $5 at the gray stand by the Hall of Industry. You can also get a FOOT LONG fried Twinkie at the latter for $8.
. Maybe it's cheating, but this really was one of the first fried foods at the state fair. These are served up at the Chinese American booth along the north end of the Midway -- look between the barkers.
. Like French fries? You can get a bucketful for $8 from Fry City Fries. Definitely something to share with a crowd. Top it with nacho cheese sauce for a dollar. You can also add seasonings -- they're provided. Choose from Old Bay, seasoning salt, black pepper, vinegar, and several other choices.
Frito chili pie
. Similar to nachos, these tortilla strips bear chili and cheese, and you can get a jumbo version at the Burger Wagon for $8.
. Found everywhere at the Arkansas State Fair; the challenge is finding the strangest, tastiest and cheapest. Plain ones are $7 and red velvet and pumpkin are $8 at the stand nearest the South Lawn Stage. Plain and red velvet versions are available at the Fried Dough stands for $6.
. Want pizza flavor without the pizza? How about a tray of garlic knots, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and served with marinara on the side? There you go. $5 at the Fresh Oven Baked Pizza stand in the north Midway.
Giant chicken fried steak
. Come on. This thing's the size of a plate. This will be the thing to warm you up when it gets chilly on fair evenings. Get a plateful with fries at the Big Show Diner for $9.50.
Giant pulled pork sandwich
. This oversized sandwich contains more than half a pound of pulled pork. You choose whether to add the barbecue sauce. You can get one at Boss Hog's stand near the end of the Midway, or at the Big Show Diner for $8.50.
. Salty, chewy dough? Here's your fix. Find them for $4 at the Fresh Oven Baked Pizza stand in the north end of the Midway. Get fat soft ones at Pat's Kitchen for $5.
Glazed meatballs and potatoes on a stick
. Step way from the deep fryer. These roasted meatballs and whole young potatoes have a sweet, peppery glaze. Something not fried to enjoy at the fair.
. Paizis' has them for $13 -- your choice of beef, chicken, seafood or gyro meat on a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, black olives and Feta cheese. Healthy and huge! You'll find them at the Paizis' stand in the Food Court.
. Larry's Cajun Shak (yes, that's how it's spelled) serves up a serving for $7.
. Paizis' is back with their traditional yet wonderful Greek fare. Choose from lamb, cajun chicken or rosemary chicken ($9), grilled shrimp or Black Angus beef ($10) or a hot vegetable version ($8), all wrapped in a pita. Michael's Family Diner on the Midway is also offering gyros for $10.
. Get a big ham sandwich at the Big Show Diner, a big Petit Jean Meats ham sandwich at that, for $9.50. It comes with fries.
. Cheesesteak Factory offers Nathan's all-beef dogs for $4. You can get the famous red Petit Jean Meats version at the Petit Jean Meat Smokehouse. Michael's Family Kitchen along the Midway also has hot dogs, but I don't know what's in them yet. Those are also $4.
. Get your full pound of burger at the Burger Wagon in the Food Court for $10. Add cheese or chili for 50 cents or bacon for a dollar. There's also a chicken version.
. The Ice Cream Parlor in its fuschia and purple wagon along the Midway serves lots of ice cream confections. Toppings include nuts, marshmallow fluff, butterscotch, hot fudge, chocolate syrup and caramel. They offer banana splits ($8), ice cream in waffle cones ($5), milkshakes, slushies, frozen bananas ($4), arctic swirls and gelati.
Drink healthy at the fair is to consume refreshing, unsweetened iced tea. Available at the Lipton Tea Boxes, located in the food court and at the end of the midway, $3 for regular and $5 for a refillable large (refills are $3). Oh, there's sweet tea there, too. And fruit punch.
Indian fry bread
. The puffy rounds can be topped with cinnamon and sugar for $6 or strawberries and cream for $8. Find yours at Pat's Kitchen.
. The third year for these plate-sized treats, a fully assembled taco with all the fixings, except the shell's been replaced by a puffy fry bread. Ask for sour cream and salsa. $10 at Pat's Kitchen.
. You'll see these in big coils in the window at a number of places, sizzling away all day on a grill with peppers and onions. $8 at the Cheesesteak Factory.
Jalapeno and cheese filled sausages
. These are an actual Petit Jean Meats product you can pick up in the store or order online -- but here, they're already cooked up for you. Show them off to out-of-towners. A great call-back to Little Rock-created cheese-filled hot dogs.
. Mitches Southern Grill up by the Ag in Action barn probably does the best burgers you can get at the fair. They're grilled over flames in a permanent screened-in structure, which means don't walk by Mitches while hungry unless you're going to get a burger. Burgers are $7, a dollar more for cheese and/or bacon.
Jumbo hot chocolate
. Mitches offers regular hot chocolate in really big cups, which is great if it gets cool in the evening at the fair. Also, machined cappuccino (think International Coffees). $3 a cup.
. They're big, they're salty and sour and they're $3 at Mickey's Grill in the Food Court.
. Beef, chicken or pork, you'll find meat on a stick at Mickey's Grill, where there's always something sizzling on the blackened grill. One kebab is $9, two are $16.
. Sweet and salty, ready to eat hot or take home, you can get yours for $5 a regular bag or $9 for a large bag at the pork rind stand outside the Hall of Industry.
. An old fashioned favorite... who can go wrong with homemade chili? The folks with Memaw's Homemade Concessions in the Food Court think the chili's so good, it's offered on its own. A great warm-up for $3 small, $5 for large.
. Almost everywhere at the Arkansas State Fair, you'll find nachos. They come in all shapes and sizes. Your pretty standard nachos with cheese sauce can be found for $4 at Mickey's Grill in the Food Court (50 cents more for chili). Jumbo version is available for $7 across the Food Court at the Burger Wagon. At the Big Show Diner, not only can you get nachos and chili cheese nachos, you can also get your nachos topped with tamales, $8.50 for regular and $13 for large. Wow.
. Fried onions are a longstanding hit at the Arkansas State Fair, with versions ranging from onion rings to onion blossoms. Look for places that serve these deep fried and battered onions with special sauces.
Peaches and Cream
. In this case, the peach halves are deep fried and served with ice cream. Second year at the Arkansas State Fair, they're offered by the folks at Fried What? for $5.50.
Peanut butter bacon bombs
. Fried What? may have gone a little crazy with its Bacon Bomb, but this simplified version is, according to Grav, phenomenal. Inside each battered and deep fried ball lies a web of bacon surrounding a molten peanut butter center. Get it with ice cream.
Philly cheesesteak sandwiches
. A lot of places serving these around the fairgrounds. Hot grilled beef with onions and peppers, usually served with provolone or swiss cheese. Look for the Cheesesteak Factory in its big green trailer towards the south end of the Midway. It's $10 for a full sandwich with the works (mushrooms, peppers and onion), Michael's Family Diner offers a toasted cheesesteak on Texas toast for $9 and a chicken version for $8. Pat's Kitchen also does a traditional Philly for $8.
. These classic potato-filled dumplings are available at Michael's Family Diner along the Midway for $5.
. The Burger Wagon has once again brought back this chocolate dipped bacon first introduced at the 2008 Arkansas State Fair. They're $1.50 each or four for $5.
You can have a pineapple whip by the Main Stage or at the end of the Midway. Cool, creamy soft serve combined with pineapple juice make this a must-have state fair treat. $4 in a regular cone or dish, $6 for a waffle cone or double dish. Also available as a milkshake at the Midway location.
. Some folks just want something normal to go with their Arkansas State Fair adventure. That's OK, too. Pizza by the slice is $4 by the slice or $25 a whole pizza at Leiman's Pizzeria in the Food Court, or $5 for cheese, pepperoni or specialty at the Fresh Oven Baked Pizza stand on the north end of the Midway.
. Get your link for $7 at Cheesesteak Factory.
. Making a return visit to the fair, this is ground pork in a burger. Get yours at the Petit Jean Meats Smokehouse at the end of the Midway.
. They tend to come big, and they're grilled over hot coals. You'll find them at Boss Hog's near the south end of the Midway.
Pork loin roast sandwich
. The Big Show Diner offers them with fries for $9.50.
. Apparently the skin of a pig is best served freshly fried and dusted with spice. You can get them hot or in a bag to take home at a booth right outside the Hall of Industry. They come in BBQ, Cajun and plain for $5 a bag.
. Ozark Candies and Nuts is once again offering these praline-coated pecans, which take the south Louisiana favorite to a good place. You'll smell these the moment you walk into the Hall of Industry.
Pumpkin-filled funnel cakes
. My favorite new sweet at the media preview day, these are funnel cakes with real pumpkin folded into the batter, lightly spiced and with cream cheese frosting on the top. Moist, too. I approve of this funnel cake alteration.
Red beans and rice
. The most filling meal at the Arkansas State Fair, you can find it at Larry's Cajun Shak in the Food Court for $6.
Red velvet dipped deep fried Oreos
. I think this is what the Kool-Aid covered Inside Out Cherry Chocolates folks wanted to create years ago, but didn't do so well at. These small morsels from Fried What? are simply Oreos dipped in red velvet cake batter, deep fried and served with cream cheese frosting. They're flavor-packed. Share with friends. Four for $5.50 at Fried What?
Red velvet funnel cakes
. They're $6 at the Fried Dough stands in the Family Zone section of the Midway and $7 at the stand at the end of the Midway.
. These are really more like a huge pile of inter-connected potato chips, but they're easy to share. Get them at the Ribbon Fries stand near the Big Show Diner with cheese sauce extra, or just dollop on the ketchup (available at the end of the stand). $7. Also known as Grater Taters and sold as such at the Grater Tater stand for $6.50.
. Rack or half rack, pork ribs are grilled over hot charcoal at several places across the fairgrounds. Find them at Boss Hog's near the south end of the Midway.
. In addition to jalapeno and cheese filled, Italian, Polish and Cajun sausages, you can get sausages wth peppers and onions at Pat's Kitchen, near the Hall of Industry in the Food Court.
. Cool and refreshing, you have a wide variety of flavors to choose from -- Tiger's Blood, wedding cake, cherry, blue raspberry, cotton candy, pina colada, bubble gum, peanut butter, green apple, strawberry, banana and peach. South end of Midway, $3. Also at Memaw's Homemade Concession in the Food Court, $4 small and $6 large, with banana, blue raspberry, bubble gum, cherry, coconut, cotton candy, grape, ice cream, lemon-lime, orange, peach, pina colada, pink lemonade, sour apple, strawberry daiquiri, strawberry, Tiger's Blood, watermelon and wedding cake.
. A high-grade lean-meat burger with your choice of fixings, from the Blue Moon Pavilion.
. Jalapenos filled with cream cheese, wrapped with bacon and grilled. The grilling removes none of the heat. They're hot! Get them three for $7 at the Cheeseburger on a Stick stand in the Food Court.
Southern Blue Plate Special
. If you're looking for a full-sized sit-down meal, you can get it at the Big Show Diner for $13. The choices include the giant chicken fried steak, pork loin roast, roast beef, fried or grilled chicken breast or hamburger steak with two sides and a roll for $13. Sides include mashed potatoes, red potatoes, fries, corn, beans, carrots, black eyed peas, green peas, Spanish rice or coleslaw.
Spaghetti and meatballs on a stick
. Back for a second year, these are big beef meatballs with spaghetti noodles, battered, deep fried, dusted with Parmesan cheese and served with marinara. One stick makes a meal. $8 at Pat's Kitchen in the Food Court.
Steak and eggs
. Michael's Family Diner along the Midway offers this breakfast or anytime classic for $10.
. Cheto's Mexican food truck is set up by the Hall of Industry, serving authentic fare. These tiny tacos are fresh and full of flavor, and if you ask for them hot, they'll blow you away.
. Is there any Arkansas State Fair without this massive fowl limb around? Smells great, tastes wonderful, may put you into a tryptophanic coma before you're ready to leave the fair. Acquire late in your visit, take it home for proper dismantling and a nap. Boss Hog's on the south end of the Midway has them, or you can get them for $10 at Mickey's Grill in the Food Court.
Turtle funnel cake
. The winner of the Tasty Tom award for Best Tasting Dish, this is a standard funnel cake topped with caramel and nuts. You can have chocolate on it, too. It's $8 at the Lemonade and Funnel Cake yellow trailer in the Food Court.
All the flavor of a taco salad, in a bag -- specifically, the bag the chips came in. Get one at Pat's Kitchen for $8.
See what was new, great and popular last year in the 2014 Arkansas State Fair Food Guide
Very well done. Now I am salivating all over my shirt.ReplyDelete
I always look forward to your fair food list! Appreciate all the detail that went into this on pricing and location.ReplyDelete
Fair food has come a long way! How do you choose? Could come home broke, full and 5 lbs. heavier!ReplyDelete
Thanks! This list is always appreciated. Especially when you can tell us where some of this stuff is! Hard to find sometimes.ReplyDelete
Thanks! This list is always appreciated. Especially when you can tell us where some of this stuff is! Hard to find sometimes.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the prices it helps estimate how broke I'll be.ReplyDelete