Ah, Big John's. I can't take Grav to Marion without a stop-in, and I can't go in without getting a big hug or two from Loretta and the boys. It's one of those places. I don't mind those kinds of places.
It's really no wonder: John had a one-half pound burger he came up with called the Big John, and it’s on the menu right next to country ham sandwiches, catfish, chicken, barbecue and milkshakes. Frankly, Big John’s Shake Shack served just about everything.
Arkansas Pie: A Delicious Slice of the Natural State. Mind you, this was our final stop on the first day of what would become a
But he came back. And in his hand he held what he thought was the perfect accoutrement - pistachio flavored soft serve ice cream. I KID YOU NOT.
But you know something? He was right. That pistachio ice cream went perfectly with that hot fudge pie, and I kinda thought as I ate my own pie how much better it'd be with some vanilla. I mean, I loved that caramel apple pie, enough that I have ordered it again many time since. Some vanilla ice cream really would have sent it over the top.
We'd have eaten dinner there that night if it wasn't for my insane idea that we could manage one more restaurant in Blytheville before the night was over. Instead, we ended up at the Grecian Steakhouse avoiding the desserts and the breads and loading up on salads and wishing the Dixie Pig was open later in the evening... but that's neither here nor there.
Classic Eateries of the Arkansas Delta (which, since we'd done the research already, we didn't HAVE to go back, but Grav insisted. Repeatedly.), we had a surprise. There was our first literary effort on the wall in a shadowbox in a place of honor right by the front door.
And there was Loretta, with the first of her unforgettable hugs, recognizing us on the spot.
But what drew me was something I hadn't spotted that first time around. Because, frankly, I've had about every sort of pie you can imagine in Arkansas, and I thought I'd had a version of every pie Loretta had written on the blackboards and whiteboards all around the register. But I was wrong.
There was Tang pie.
And I shared that piece of Tang pie with Hunter and thought my, my, my... what an incredibly interesting life we lead.
The restaurant's name has changed in the years since I wrote the pie book. It's now officially Tacker's Shake Shack, and Loretta's boys run the place. Whatever the name, it's always worth a visit. You'll find it off Exit 3 on Interstate 55. It's open 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday. Check out the restaurant's Facebook page and take a gander at all those crazy burgers.