With more than 20 years of operation, folks in Van Buren know they can get fresh cuts of meats and sausages at Butcher Boys. What might not be quite so apparent are the dining possibilities at the bright spot along Main Street.
Butcher Boys offers steaks, pork chops, sausages, roast and ground beef, fish, alligator, and more from its cases. Its freezer adds in such delicacies as beef plate bacon, lamb chops and Sicilian sausages.
For the immediately hungry, and like at many delis across Arkansas, cheeses and lunchmeats are available for immediate slicing. More pedestrian fare such as Petit Jean bologna, pickle and pimento loaf and smoked turkey sit alongside pastrami, corned beef, roast beef and smoked ham and a selection of cheeses like smokey sharp cheddar, baby swiss and ghost pepper jack. A variety of premade salads, from coleslaw and macaroni salad to seafood salad, chicken salad and potato salad, are quickly and easily available.
Butcher Boys also offers take-and-make dishes, like a super beefy meatloaf with little filler that I took home to try, an excellent and very savory dish that paired well with macaroni and cheese.
However, what Butcher Boys may be hiding is one of the best Reuben sandwiches found in the state of Arkansas. Served on a fresh, pliant marble rye briefly toasted and slathered with Thousand Island dressing, the moist corned beef here is piled on both sides of the bread, with fresh baby Swiss and sauerkraut sandwiched between. This preserves the moisture of the sandwich while keeping the bread from getting soggy. The meat is cut moderately thick compared to some delis, but this just enhances its beefy heft.
It's just one of several offerings on the quick menu board at Butcher Boys. You'll also find hot links and smoked sausages in buns, and a selection of barbecue joint favorites like pulled pork and sliced beef sandwiches, ribs, and smoked chicken breasts and quarters. These come singly or in dinners with two sides - with coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans, dirty rice, home fried potatoes and peach cobbler amongst the options. The smoked chicken in particular was excellent, the coleslaw sweet and those potatoes an excellent choice with good seasoning and lots of grilled onions.
You'll find Butcher Boys Meat Market and Deli at 1220 Main Street in Van Buren. Call (479) 474-6800 for more information, or check out the website.
Kat Robinson is the author of Classic Eateries of the Ozarks and Arkansas River Valley, along with 11 other books covering food in the state of Arkansas. Catch her October 14th at the Fayetteville True Lit Festival - you can obtain your tickets here.
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