Boom-A-Rang Diner915 Garrison Avenue Fort Smith, AR 72901 479.783.9233
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Speaking of taters, the fries are also good. They aren’t crispy cut, but they’re similarly crispy and gobble-able.
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).
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.