George’s Restaurant2120 Grand Ave
Fort Smith, AR 72901 479.785.1199
Townie. That’s the word that comes to mind whenever we think of George’s. Know what we mean? Every town has at least one spot that is a no-frills, solid, dependable restaurant frequented at any given time by dozens of locals, the townies who gather ’round the pie case like it’s a watering hole.
If you’re lucky, the townie places also happen to have good food. Some towns have to make do with what they can get. The townie spots are there by tradition alone, where people just have to put up with the sort of food that gets served there. We always feel a little sorry for those towns.
Thank goodness Fort Smith has George’s. It’s a townie spot we’ve even been known to take the occasional visitor. Not someone who’s looking for elegance or exotic food or for a touristy experience. Hard Rock Cafe Fort Smith this ain’t. But someone who wants to have a good conversation over a great American meal without worrying about all the other stuff will get George’s. The restaurant is reliably clean and neat with food that is simple, tasty and filling. Oh, and affordable. And a constant, reliable menu. Is it such a mystery this place does a good business?
We took this picture because it is, for the record, the emptiest we’ve ever seen George’s large dining room. We’re not sure how many people fit in the restaurant, but it’s a bunch and they’re usually at least half full. Read on and find out the reasons for that.
Everyone’s got their favorite dishes at George’s. Just about the first thing they’ll tell you is their opinion on the fries (fanatic love or fanatic dislike). George’s makes a big deal of their fresh-cut fries. More precisely, they make a giant pile of them. On top of whatever else you ordered — literally, on top of it. But since they know you won’t be able to eat your sandwich or burger until you’ve excavated it from the massive french fry barricade surrounding it, they helpfully bring you another plate.
Another plate. For your fries.
A regular-size plate.
For your fries.
That’s a lot of fries, folks.
Tackle! This poor burger didn’t stand a chance once Team Fry decided to pile on him. Note the double layer of plates. That’s how they all come out.
Wait a second. Is that a George’s Hickory Cheeseburger under there? We’ve gotta get those fries off of him right now! Open him up, boys, let him breathe, and let’s take a better look at what we’ve got here:
Ah, yes. George’s famed Hickory Burger. Hand-formed patty perfectly grilled. A little bit of mustard. Plenty of Cheddar cheese. A hefty slathering of tangy barbecue sauce. A few diced onions. Lightly grilled bun. Yeah, this is gonna be good even without the giant plate of fries just out of the picture.
Now we put the lid back on, and we have, ladies and gentlemen, one of the best burgers in Fort Smith:
George’s famed Hickory Burger. Messy? Heck yeah. Drool-inducing great? Hells yeah.
The Catsavis family who owns George’s has Greek roots, so besides the burgers, sandwiches, salads, soups and other American fare, there are a few bright spots of Greek food on the menu. The Greek salad comes vegetarian or with chicken, but it you ask for gyro meat added, they do it without a second thought. The Greek spaghetti with feta still tastes odd to us, so we stick with the Greek salad and the gyro.
Our Big Fat Greek Salad. One of our favorite Fort Smith salads: Gyro meat (ask for it, not chicken), red onion, green pepper, iceburg lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, capers, Kalamata olive, Greek seasonings and approximately 8 pounds of feta cheese. Served with a side of Italian dressing.
George’s gyro comes in pocket pita. It’s good, particularly since Greek food is so scarce in Fort Smith. If we ruled the world, however (one day!), we’d double the amount of gyro meat, put it on thick pita that your fold in half instead of in a pocket (it just gets messy), and add a big glob of tzatziki sauce. Since this is Fort Smith and FSE has not yet achieved world domination, we’re glad to get this option on the menu.
Careful kids, don’t get too close. There’s a Gyro Monster living under that hill. Note the wreckage of the french fry trees he already destroyed and the onion bones scattered around his cave.
Other menu favorites include the chili, the country fried steak, the nachos, and every single burger on the menu (you must promise us you’ll try at least one). We also are a wintertime fan of the beans & cornbread — a big bowl ‘o pinto beans, simmered until it’s a thick, savory, hearty, wintery beanish, stewish, bowl ‘o yum. Served with a side of cornbread. Yep — traditional southern food at a townie spot with Greek roots. Love it. (The beans really are good. They’re filling, tasty & comforting).
We have an ongoing war with a possibly mentally unbalanced person we know about the integrity of George’s Philly Cheesesteak, and because we stick up for it in all its bell-peppery greatness, we order it a lot. Here’s why — take a look at this beaut:
Philly Cheesesteak. We’ve heard complaints from those militant Philly Cheesesteak purists who say it’s not made like it is in Philadelphia. Yeah. You know why? This ain’t Philadelphia! We’re in Fort Smith and we love George’s cheesesteaks, so lay off. Meet the Fort Smith Cheesesteak. We just renamed it.
We realize we just got you to the point you’re going to have to order at least three must-have entrees in one sitting. No apologies. And we’re not done with you yet. That’s because we haven’t even gotten to the real reason everyone’s always happy to go to George’s: the desserts.
George’s usually has several kinds of cakes and cobbler. They’re great, excellent, very good all round. We don’t get them.
Yep, that’s us. We are Pie Fiends Beyond All Moderation, as you all know. If our pie love were an iPod, George’s would be one of the docks where we recharge.
Get the picture? Here’s an actual picture to help you understand our devotion. Believe it or not, this is homemade, as are all their desserts:
Chocolate. Peanut Butter. Pie. A thing of beauty may be a joy forever but this doesn’t last that long on our plate. It is wonderful.
Maybe all that whipped cream & syrup is just too much for you. Maybe you like your desserts simpler. Still have a chocolate craving but want to skip the excess richness? Here’s your answer. George’s Chocolate Meringue Pie is the best we’ve found. Firm-yet-flaky crust. Creamy cold chocolate filling, just the right amount of sweetness. Fluffy meringue topping, thick and toasted. Three textures, three flavors, a simple trinity of pie delight.
Chocolate Meringue Pie Perfection. Everything we wanted. Everything.
They have fruit pies, too. The crust on those things is to-die-for awesome. We wrote about George’s cherry pie in the last Fort Smith Eats Pie-Off, but here’s a picture of it again, just for reminder’s sake:
Cherry Pie at George’s. We love their fruit pies. The fruit means they’re healthy for you! Right? Please tell us we’re right.
So go to George’s, enjoy the stack of plates and mounds of fries and super food at prices that wouldn’t make your grandmama blink twice, and be sure to get the pie. Oh and tell them Fort Smith Eats sent ya.