Diner Week Day 1: Boom-A-Rang Diner

Boom-A-Rang Diner

915 Garrison Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901

There are diners we’ll visit this week that have been here for years and years and years. Institutions, ya might say. Boom-A-Rang Diner isn’t one of those. The retrostyle Garrison Avenue diner has been here for — count it — one year. It looks completely Mom & Pop, doesn’t look like a chain, but we hear there are a pack of them over in Oklahoma.

Boom-A-Rang goes for that old 50’s diner feel. It doesn’t really work but we don’t really hold that against it. We’d rather see an eating establishment own its time and place and just serve good food but if records hanging in the windows make people feel like spending their money, you can’t blame the people who hung them for knowing that.


Note the original padded walls from when this old historic Garrison Avenue location was a sanitarium. OK, not really. But they are the best part of the decor.

We will say: That particular shade of 50’s mint green? More like a blend of pistachio and hospital green. And it’s commonly said, hospitals and pistachios are a bad combination. Not an inspired color choice.


Get there early for lunch, because every one of these seats is likely to be filled.

Too many “retro” Marilyn Monroe and Beatles posters on the walls, too. What is this, a diner or a freshman dorm room?

“Hey, Fort Smith Eats, shut up about the décor and tell us about the food!”

Okay, okay, we’re getting to that.

It’s good. Sometimes very good.

If you go at lunch or dinner, you’re walking away happy. If you go at breakfast, you’re walking away REALLY happy. Actually, you might be waddling away from eating so much.


Know what this is? It happens to be the very first picture Fort Smith Eats ever tweeted. Awww, we're nostalgic.

You heard it here: Boom-A-Rang does simple breakfasts right. We have yet to have a breakfast there we didn’t like.

The pancakes are super, too. Though why put round pancakes overlapping the rim on an oval plate when there are perfectly pancake-shaped round plates available? There must be a reason. It’s a conundrum that keeps us up at night.

Mini-rant: Give us better coffee cups. Boom-A-Rang’s coffee cups have this weird plastic seam right around the rim. Very weird. Not happy on the lips. Get real cups, Boom!

Not a morning person? The two things Boom seems to be “famous” for (this is relative, of course, we’re not talking the Russian Tea Room here) are chicken fried steak and hamburgers. These are good. But they aren’t the top two items on the menu from our point of view. Those would be mashed potatoes and fried pickles. The fried pickles are sliced, tangy, and come with a side of ranch or whatever other dipping sauce you can talk the waitress into bringing you.


Strange that the chicken fried steak goes on TOP of the gravy. That's okay. We can get the gravy to the entree, no problemo. We're experts.

The taters are the real star though. Just perfect. Homemade. Light. Fluffy. Work with the gravy they way they’re supposed to. We could just eat these up. Wait, we did.


Close Encounters of the Tater Kind. Nom.

Speaking of taters, the fries are also good. They aren’t crispy cut, but they’re similarly crispy and gobble-able.


This is what the fries would look like if you were a tiny tiny person who had to climb over them.


They bring out this seasoning salt stuff for the fries. We recommend it. They taste more like Yellow Umbrella's that way.

There’s much contention over whether Boom-A-Rang’s burgers are a good thing or an overrated thing. They’re simple. Basic. Not always structurally sound. Cheap. Nothing remotely gourmet about them, but they do the filling-a-burger-craving job. Watch for the dirt cheap burger specials at lunch several days a week. Go early: it gets as crowded as a school cafeteria at lunchtime. Except people had, you know, a choice to come here, unlike at school. (Mandatory school cafeteria lunches scarred our early years. Young’uns, you just don’t know how much better it is now.) Anyway, Boom-A-Rang burgers sell like hotcakes (sans syrup).


Fort Smith Eats is a big fan of hickory burgers. This one included.

Boom-A-Rang’s open all day long, but not super late. It’d be nice to have an all-nite eatery downtown on weekends. Maybe someday. On the other hand, those hanging records and hospital green walls might be entirely too much at 4 in the morning after a night at Rooster’s.

Yeah, we’ll go back to bed for a few hours, see ya at breakfast.


10 responses to “Diner Week Day 1: Boom-A-Rang Diner

  1. Will have to add it to my list since I’m in search of the best burger in The Fort.

  2. Nice project! Think of us now and again and report back to let us know what you find.

  3. The boom a rang diner is my favorite place to eat! I have been going there sense day one. I stopped going when I had my heart attack, but I have recently jumped back on that wagon. I will take boom a rang with me to my grave. :*)

  4. Pingback: Diner Week Day 5: The White Spot « Fort Smith Eats

  5. Pingback: Diner Week: The Roundup « Fort Smith Eats

  6. I agree that diners trying for a retro theme are forcing the issue. Real diners from the 1950’s did not have posters of Elvis or Marilyn on the wall (there wasn’t wall space for that anyway). Any diner good diner should rely on good quick friendly service and good food. The atmosphere should come from that. Check out http://dinerhotline.wordpress.com

  7. I’m going to have to disagree with you on the decor. I love it!! I love looking at all the cool 1950’s and 60’s collection displayed on the walls and shelves. I know that a diner in the 50’s would not have these things on the wall but it does give you the feel of the 50’s. I was in the other day and was watching people point at some of the things and talk of the old days. That’s what its all about. The 50’s music really helps create the atmosphere too. I think my friends and I have great taste in what looks good and we all think it is as cute as it can be. Enough of the decor, the food is awesome! It is the Best Burger in Ft. Smith by far.

  8. I have been to some the Boomarang diners in Oklahoma. If the one in Ft. Smith is as good as the one in Shawnee ok and Chandler Ok, I will go there. It is a family owned chain so it is still like a mom and pop, each one has its own personality. I know the one in Chandler looks really good with lots of Elvis, and Marilyn and Betty Boop. My wife loves all the decorations in all of them. They also have a Mickey Mantle autographed picture that is real cool at the Chandler one. All you can eat catfish on Friday nights is great! Best food in Oklahoma, Im glad Ft Smith has one too, now I know where I can eat when I’m in town!

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