Arkansas March 18, 2018
Every Arkansan Misses These 10 Long-Gone Restaurants
Businesses come and go but it’s always a sad day to lose a favorite restaurant. Arkansas has created some delicious eateries from steakhouses to pioneering chains but some have reached their end. Let’s pay respects to some of our fallen favorites.
1. Big Jake's Cattle Co. - Van Buren
The second generation, two-story steakhouse had been a favorite for Van Buren area residents. Everyone was devastated when news of the fire on Christmas Eve meant that the 21 year old restaurant would be no more. Now all that's left is an empty lot with a singed elevator serving as a gravestone.
2. Cotham's Mercantile - Scott
It was a sad day when Cotham's could no longer be listed under Arkansas' oldest restaurants. Since 1912, Cotham's served as an Arkansas icon for being "where the elite meet to eat." Unfortunately the original Scott location closed due to fire in May 2017.
Cotham's in the City can still be enjoyed at 1401 W 3rd St. in Little Rock.
3. Coy's Steakhouse - Hot Springs
Yet another icon lost to fire, Coy's was a Hot Springs staple since the 1945. We miss the little touches the most like the warm crackers or the tangy homemade salad dressing. Next January will be the 10th year Spa City has been without Coy's.
4. Hamburger Barn - Fort Smith
Fort Smith residents were blindsided when the beloved Hamburger Barn closed in 2015. The owners of the building did not renew the lease which caused the closure. Since 1982 the Hamburger Barn served oversized onion rings and burgers from around the world (we still miss you Mexi Burger).
5. Ole King Cole - Little Rock
Ole King Cole had been a downtown staple in Little Rock for a little over twenty years. Back in the 1950s it had been the place for fine dining.
6. Hank's Dog House - Little Rock
Another oldie but goodie in Little Rock, Hank's Dog House was favorite spot for celebrating anniversaries and birthdays. Originally, Hank's took over the location of Gordon Adkins Restaurant after Adkins moved in the late 1930s. A quick Google search can provide you with Hank's signature blue cheese recipe.
7. Minute Man - several
Back in its heyday, Minute Man had 57 locations in Arkansas. The original opened in Little Rock in 1948, before fast-food was a developed concept. They were the first restaurant to offer kids meals, known as Magic Meals. Burger King bought the rights to use the Magic Meal concept and name in 1982. Later, Minute Man sold the rights to the slogan "old-fashioned hamburgers" to Wendy’s.
The last Minute Man can be visited at 318 W Main Street in El Dorado.
8. Mary Maestri's - Springdale
This signature Tontitown eatery opened in 1923. Mary Maestri's persevered after closing in 2010 from failure to pay taxes. They were able to reopen in 2012 but did not renew their lease in 2016. The Mary Maestri's Facebook page has promised to let followers know about any future plans.
9. Wee Betty's Cafe - Jacksonville
We were sad to hear of this whimsical little cafe closing. Wee Betty's opened in 2013 and was the only place in the state that served authentic British Isles cuisine. Customers could also get a taste of travels with their packaged British snacks. Scottish owners Catherine Lee and Nicola O’Hara have returned overseas.
10. Dixie Cafe - several
All 17 locations of Dixie Cafe closed just this past December. The home-style restaurant chain was based in Little Rock and became an Arkansas staple in its 35 year run. Declining sales and increased costs were the main reasons for the chain closure.
By no means is this a complete list! What closed restaurant do you miss the most? Feel free to share your nostalgia in the comments below!
If all that walking down memory lane made you hungry, you may want to eat at these
oldest (and still open) restaurants in Arkansas.