Category Archives: Diners

Diner Week: The Roundup

Whew, we feel accomplished. 

We published a new blog post every day for a solid week, rounding up our thoughts on 7 Fort Smith diners. Some are newish, some are way oldish, all have their own personality and food specialties.

Diners generally speaking are the most basic of restaurant fare, but we like the “specialness” each Fort Smith diner brings to the plate. (Woot! A play on food words! We’re so clever, ha!)

Day 1: Boom-A-Rang Diner
Day 2: Dodson Diner
Day 3: Ed Walker’s
Day 4: Lucy’s Diner
Day 5: The White Spot
Day 6: Bob & Ellie’s
Day 7: Benson’s Grill

We sure hope ya’ll enjoyed as much as we did. We’ve already gotten some great suggestions for future theme weeks for our super Twitter peeps.

Diner Week Day 7: Benson’s Grill

Benson’s Grill

2515 Rogers Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901
479.782.8181

It’s appropriate we’re talking about Benson’s on a weekend. You’re driving around Fort Smith some weekend night, can’t find anyone. Where the bloody heck is everyone? Try Benson’s. Nine chances outta 10, the place is rockin’ like the back of a sunset-painted 70s van after dark.

The place is tiny and the parking lot is no better.

Fort Smith Eats Benson's Grill A Place Like No Other

Can't argue.

Fort Smith Eats Benson's Grill interior

Look how cozy! We luv that you can watch the cooks so closely, & also interact with the other diners if it's that kind of atmosphere. (at 3 a.m., it is!) Cozy.

Benson's Grill Fort Smith Eats sign burger

The sign has a much-larger-than-real-size brightly lit picture of a burger. There's a reason for this. They're great.

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Diner Week Day 6: Bob & Ellie’s

Bob & Ellie’s Drive-In

6500 U.S. 271
Fort Smith, AR 72908
479.646.7559
Other than Waffle House, the south side of Fort Smith’s rather lacking in 24-hour places. That’s where everybody’s favorite couple-named diner comes in. Just a few blocks away from Whirlpool, on Hwy. 271, Bob & Ellie’s is a long-time favorite of shift workers, college students, truckers and other people who are up way too late. We’re sure people must eat there in the day, too, but our experience has only been late nights and early mornings. The idea of going there for, say, lunch seems weird. Like going to the beach in the middle of a blizzard. Sure, you can do it, but why?
Fort Smith Eats Bob & Ellie's

Rare sighting of Bob & Ellie's during the day.

Bob & Ellie’s is in an unpretentious metal building. The great thing is how much effort they’ve put into distracting you from the fact that it’s a metal building along a truck route. The north side of the building has a gazebo and a little garden of statuary. Of course it still looks like a metal building with a tent gazebo and small statuary, but we give them 27 bonus points for trying. Continue reading

Diner Week Day 5: The White Spot

The White Spot

1701 Rogers Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901
479.783.9345

The White Spot is one of those places you’ve likely seen, wondered about, and made a mental note to maybe try one of these days. Yet maybe something’s kept you from doing it.

Who eats there, you wonder. Possibly no one you know. But it’s a place you can tell has been there likely longer than you’ve been alive or at least as long as you can remember.

The White Spot Fort Smith Eats exterior

No, it's not a racist thing. We asked. They said they get that question a lot. The White Spot was a reference to the place's cleanliness, to distinguish it from the other "greasy spoons."

You see people going in and out of it, a couple here and there as you drive down Rogers Ave., an elderly man in jeans and a ballcap getting into his pickup, maybe a whole gaggle of them going in with newpapers under their arms. You can tell without too much stretch of the imagination that this is somewhere the reg’lars go to sit together over coffee every morning and talk about whatever the good Lord and the Times Record have provided for them to discuss.

The White Spot Fort Smith Eats interior

A lot of things at The White Spot haven't changed over the years. Including the way the waitresses are always in motion.

That’s cool. Not a problem, glad they have somewhere they like to go. But what’s in it for me, you ask. The Big Question: How’s the food? What’s the White Spot vibe like for the under-70 demographic?

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Diner Week Day 3: Ed Walker’s

Ed Walker’s Drive-In & Restaurant

1500 Towson Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901
479.242.2243

So far this week, we’ve had two diners that have been here maybe an average of a year. We’re making up for that now. The approximately 2,000-year-old Ed Walker’s is a Fort Smith institution if ever there was one. It’s arguably a drive-in rather than a diner, but since we’ve only eaten inside and it looks like a diner and talks like a diner, we’re calling it a diner. Deal with it.

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The big arrow on the sign? That's pointing to where you want to be.

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The painting by the guy is of the original restaurant. We love that. Have a thing for paintings of places inside the places themselves. We should do a series.

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Sign in the middle says "Flash Lights for Service." Yes, flashing the wait staff is encouraged.

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Diner Week Day 2: Dodson Diner

Dodson Diner

1611 Dodson Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901
479.782.7750

Ya’ll heard about Dodson Diner yet? The place is also new in the past year, and finally seems to be catching on. Honestly, we’re surprised. Like most of you, we sometimes hold off on trying a new place till we figure out if it’s going to stick. This one we didn’t think would. The little hole-in-the-wall location on Dodson Ave., right up on the street with no other restaurants around and not much if any advertising, a while before they even had a sign, seemed to be a ticket to that Great Restaurant Cemetery in the Sky.

But no, it’s stuck. Now that we think about it, it makes sense. No other restaurants around, right near a hospital, unpretentious home cooking —we can see now why it works. We can taste it, too.

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Charming much?

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