It’s time to talk about good eats again, and boy do I have a list for you today! The 12 restaurants below are not only great places to eat, each one also has some appeal that makes it both irresistible and irrefutably Arkansas. These restaurants are iconic, delicious, and serve up the kind of quality food and friendly service we’ve come to expect from eateries in the Natural State. There isn’t a bad apple in the whole bunch.
1. Cotham’s Mercantile (Scott)
Please note, Cotham’s Mercantile is no longer in business.
When we talk about iconic Arkansas eateries, we’d be remiss to leave out one of the most iconic restaurants in the Natural State. Cotham’s Mercantile has been around for a long time, serving up their delicious burgers and other home style delights to elites like governors Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee. Cotham’s Mercantile is located at 5301 AR-161 in Scott.
2. Oark General Store (Oark)
Oark General Store is located out in the middle of nowhere, and it’s well worth the drive. What was once the oldest general store in the Natural State is now an eatery that offers all your favorites, including beautiful pies. Oark General Store is located at 10360 County Road 5440 in Ozone.
3. Feltner’s Whatta-Burger (Russelville)
Around since 1967, Feltner’s Whatta-Burger has become an iconic burger joint that people love to visit in Russellville. These burgers are seriously divine, served in a delightful throwback atmosphere at 1410 North Arkansas in Russellville.
4. Ozark Cafe (Jasper)
Located in one of the best places for nature lovers in Arkansas, the tiny town of Jasper, Ozark Cafe is one of the oldest restaurants in Arkansas, and one of the best, too. This little cafe has a menu that would make your grandmama proud and an atmosphere that can't be beat. Ozark Cafe is located on the Jasper Square at 107 East Court Street.
5. Monte Ne Inn (Rogers)
If you’re looking for a unique experience with some of the best fried chicken in the state, you need to head to Monte Ne Inn right away. It isn’t actually an inn, it’s a glorious eatery that serves up all the fried chicken and sides you can handle, family style. Monte Ne Inn is located at 13843 AR-94 in Rogers.
6. Whole Hog
With eight locations across Arkansas and even more in Missouri and Texas, you’re never very far away from this Arkansas-based chain and their succulent barbecue. The Whole Hog Café has been serving Arkansans delicious ribs and pulled pork for years, and you can try their mouthwatering food at 2516 Cantrell Road in Little Rock or at any of their other locations across the state.
7. Calico County (Fort Smith)
Calico County is home-cooking deluxe, and you’ve got to go there if you’re a fan of authentic Arkansas cuisine. What they do best is make from-scratch food that will remind you of your favorite family recipes. Calico County is a fantastic, homey little eatery, and if you’re not convinced yet, you should know that they’ll serve you fresh cinnamon rolls on the house before your food arrives. Calico County is located at 2401 South 56th Street in Fort Smith.
8. Local Lime (Little Rock)
If you’re talking tacos in our capital city, Local Lime has to get an enthusiastic mention. Local Lime works hard to produce original recipes in the style of Latin American street fare using fresh ingredients, and they’re doing a fantastic job of it. Local Lime is located at 17809 Chenal Parkway, Suite F-105 in Little Rock.
9. Cliff House Inn (Jasper)
Don’t try to visit Cliff House Inn until mid-March because they stay closed for the winter months. Once they reopen, though, you’re going to want to head up there. It isn’t only because of their awesome food, either. Cliff House Inn is situated overlooking the Arkansas Grand Canyon, so in addition to mouthwatering food you’ll be treated to a breathtaking view. Cliff House Inn is located 7 miles south of Jasper on Highway 7.
10. Jones BBQ Diner (Marianna)
If we’re talking iconic Arkansas eateries, we have to mention Jones Barbecue Diner. This tiny place serves barbecue so good it’s got a James Beard Award for being an American Classic. People flock from all over to get their sandwiches, so call ahead before your drive over to 219 West Louisiana Street in Marianna.
11. Skinny J’s (Jonesboro, Paragould, & North Little Rock)
Skinny J’s has locations in Jonesboro, Paragould, and North Little Rock, and they want you to know that they’re not just a steak joint. Though, I’m just saying, their steaks are pretty great. They’ve got a full menu of delicious entrees, appetizers, and an oyster bar that can’t be beat. Their Jonesboro location can be found at 205 South Main Street.
12. The Pantry (Little Rock)
A menu full of German and Czech favorites? Yes, please. You’ll find that and more at both of The Pantry’s locations in Little Rock. The Pantry has earned a place on this list because it’s consistently one of the highest rated restaurants in Arkansas. If you’re not into German food, that’s cool too, as they’ve got good eats from all over the world. The Pantry is located at 11401 North Rodney Parham Road and 722 North Palm Street in Little Rock.