Category Archives: Fort Smith

Event Review: Taste of Fort Smith 2010

Taste of Fort Smith is TODAY, faithful Fort Smith Eats readers. Today!

Last year, we tweeted up a storm from the Taste of Fort Smith event, but we thought we might do a quick review and get some of you fellow foodies out there in time for some evening grub tonight.

Lots of restaurants are participating, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that includes plenty of establishments from outside Fort Smith. Cedarville and Lavaca, for instance, were both represented well at the Taste of Fort Smith. So, yes, that makes it even more awesome.

Two things disappointed us slightly: Continue reading

Fort Smith Eats Project 3/Whatever Challenge

While back, one of our many legions of fans (ha!) nudged us about this 3/50 Project, suggested maybe we could spearhead something locally. Didn’t know much about it and haven’t sharpened our spears all year, but we checked it out and it a seems solid enough idear. We were humbled and flattered to be approached. So, sure, decided we’d do something. Then we walked off and left our blog for what, three months? We’d be convicted for that if it were a child.***

Anywho, we said we’d do something and then we didn’t. First time for everything, right?

Now we want to make amends.

We’re far from official spokespeople for this 3/50 project, but the way we understand it, the general idea is this:

  • Pick 3 locally owned, independent businesses you appreciate and would hate to see go out of business.
  • Vow to go out of your way to spend $50 at these local places to show your appreciation of them.
  • If enough people did this, it would save the world. Or our local economy. Something like that. They give numbers and statistics you are free to look up if you need convincing this is a good thing. All we care about is saving the world. That would be way cool, with or without statistics.

They’re a little vague on the specifics of whether it’s $50 spent at each place or what. Also, we were surprised to see that apparently this is supposed to be $50 a month. Obviously, this concept was come up with before the Great Recession That Ate All Fun (And Dining-Out Budgets) came along.

We’re not really what you’d call sticklers for rules so we’re going to make up our own project.

Here’s what we’ll do:

  • You pick your favorite 3 locally owned restaurants  (No offense, shops, but food’s our thang) that you’d HATE HATE HATE to see go out of business. We’re talking true Mom & Pops, not Red Lobster being run by a guy you know. We’re talking all-local dollars that don’t get sent to a corporate headquarters somewhere.
  • Tell us which 3 you are picking, either here on our lonesome little blog or on our much more popular Facebook page. Or even tweet @ us. By voting, you’re vowing to go spend some money at these three places when you can, or tell others about them, something to spread the love and increase their business between now and the end of 2010. We’re not telling you how much to spend because we don’t want your spouses, parents and/or accountants coming over and hitting us with blunt objects (No “I’m sorry we had the electricity turned off honey but I PROMISED Fort Smith Eats we’d eat at Doe’s all month!”). You can only nominate three. Though of course you can spread your wealth amongst them all. And they don’t actually have to be in danger of going out of business anytime soon. Just tell us what 3 you love most.

Whichever 3 places get the most votes—we’ll give you till Halloween (that’s Oct. 31, natch) to vote—we’ll write up in our bestest ever reviews. Seriously, they’ll be golden.

We’re going to pick 3, too. So you get 6 reviews for the price of 3! With no shipping and handling! That’s like 8 years of writing for us, but we’ll actually vow to have all these posted by the end of the year. Because we are local food superheroes (yes, we were in fact told this by someone in a position of authority so it must be true) and together we will save the world!!!!!!!!!

Our brilliant local restaurants are why we got into this food-reviewing racket. We want everyone to know how much good eatin’ there really is in and around this town. But the first order of business is keeping it!

So, Citizens of Fort Smith: What places shall we save? Make your case.

***We have had a zillion good intentions on writing more over the past few months. But, apparently, “time” in the world of Fort Smith Eats works like that deepest level of slo-mo dreaming in that Inception movie, you know with the van that takes an hour to fall off the bridge? We swear we JUST posted that Geno’s pepperoni sandwich review a moment ago…

Quick Eats: Pepperoni Sandwich @ Geno’s Pizza

If you live in Fort Smith, Van Buren, Greenwood or Alma long, you’re going to find yourself eating at Geno’s Pizza. This is because there are approximately 87 Genos locations in Fort Smith alone. Okay, so there’s like, six total in the River Valley. But we swear it feels like 87 because people are always eating there. This, to us, has long been a conundrum that keeps us up into the wee hours of the morning. Our basic question has always been: why?

We figured it’s the kids and the convenience. Cheap pizza, served by the oversized slice, on styrofoam plates in a place you don’t have to clean — that’s a family outing right there. No flavor required. And they have drive-thrus. Who doesn’t love eating a big slice of bland pizza while driving, talking on the phone and texting? Gimmee a slice of Supreme and a large Diet Coke, hold the pizza artistry please.

Every so often, though, we go back and try it again. Surely if there are this many locations of a local favorite, it’s got to be good, right? On a recent drive-thru visit when we were running late and super hungry and Geno’s was right next door, we decided to try the pepperoni sub. We’d tried the ham and cheese many moons ago, but the pepperoni sandwich was probably the one menu item we’d not yet sampled. Continue reading

Fort Smith Eats @ Phoenix Drive-In

Phoenix Drive-In

1715 Phoenix Avenue
Fort Smith, Ark.
(479) 648-9776

Exterior parking spots Phoenix Drive-In, Fort Smith, ArkansasPhoenix Drive-In is that colorful, Sonic-like place next to Jerry Neel’s BBQ. The one you’ve likely been wondering about.

Phoenix Drive-In is in a repainted Sonic building. We remember when the old Sonic was there, but even if you didn’t, you can see the resemblance if you’re familiar with the cherry-limeade-tater-tot icon. And, like Sonic, Phoenix Drive-In is, in fact, a drive-in restaurant. But its resemblance to Sonic, or any other chain-fast-food food, ends there.

The menu: Well, it’s surprising. It sure surprised us. It’s…expansive. Very expansive. And eclectic as anywhere we’ve seen. It has lots and lots of options, from the expected drive-in fare like burgers and chili dogs and fries and o-rings to interesting side items like fried green beans and green chile fries to breakfast foods like scrambled eggs & ham steaks with biscuits & gravy to full plate lunches and dinners like meatloaf and and chicken-fried steak, spaghetti & meatballs, and homemade lasagna (the priciest item on the menu at $5.69 with salad and bread). A menu of Americana, folks, pure Americana. Continue reading

Fort Smith Eats @ Emmy’s German Restaurant

Emmy’s German Restaurant
200 North 13th Street
Fort Smith, AR 72901
479.242.3669
www.emmystoo.com

Interior, Emmy's German Restaurant in Ft. Smith Arkansas - Fort Smith Eats

The renovated space in Emmy’s new locale, under the new ownership (mostly the same recipes as the original locale) is warm and inviting, classy without being stuffy. Very nice wood touches and furnishings throughout.

First things first. We never ate at the old Emmy’s. For whatever reason, it just never happened. Mainly, we were not yet Fort Smith Eats and were still able to not go to every restaurant in town. So all of you who loved the original Emmy’s and miss it dearly, tell us all about it in the comments. This review is about the food there now, the food we’ve eaten. It’s not comparing new food and old, because we can’t. So you’re stuck with what we’ve got to work with here now. And since as far as we know there is only one other real German restaurant in the state, a touristy place in Hot Springs that didn’t impress us, we’re awfully happy to be stuck with this joint in our fair city.

Speaking of which, after every Emmy’s meal we’ve eaten, we’ve practically been stuck in our chairs. This is a lot of food, and it’s usually excellent, in a thick-gravies-on-savory-meats-with-10-pounds-of-various-sides way. This is not, however, the restaurant to go to if you’re just feeling a mite peckish. Continue reading

Fort Smith Eats @ George’s

George’s Restaurant

2120 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?

George's Restaurant Ft. Smith AR Fort Smith Eats interior

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.

Continue reading

Meal-Atta-Glance: Ribeye at Rib Eye Steakhouse

Rib Eye Steakhouse

1400 Highway 71
Fort Smith, AR 72901-8470
479.646.0933

We’re starting this post in a bad position, a defensive one. But here goes.

Dear Restaurants of the World & Greater Fort Smith Area: If you insist on having dim, romantic lighting, fine. But be aware you’re going to get dim, unromantic pictures. We’re sorry about this, really, but there’s not much we can do. Since it’s hard enough to whip out the camera at the dinner table without raising suspicions, we can’t exactly set up a photo studio with reflective panels and stand lighting. So, no matter how delicious and attractive your food may be, we can’t guarantee our Fort Smith Eats photos of it won’t turn out looking like they were art directed by someone more accustomed to making adult movies in their basement, circa 1971. We do our best, but there’s only so much we can do to eliminate that dark, shag-carpeted vibe.

That brings us to today’s restaurant, Rib Eye Steakhouse, which may indeed have been last decorated in 1971. We like Rib Eye, and we can tell you how to get there fine. What we may not be able to do is tell you how to get back to your table if you venture forth to the restroom.

The place is a labyrinth. You’ve got your open-style dining rooms in the front, but if you find yourself following the server back past the aisles of booths, up the ramp, around the corner and through the windy corridors in which they have hidden surprised diners into every nook and cranny, you’d best build some time into your evening itinerary for finding your way back out of the place. Take breadcrumbs. (They looked older to be sure, but we think in one dark corner we may have even stumbled on Amelia Earhart and Jimmy Hoffa having dinner).

This, for instance is one of the tables we found along the way, in a private walled-off booth/stall.

Rib Eye Steakhouse interior Ft. Smith AR Fort Smith Eats

Thank the good Lord for the placemats and tableware, or this might look like a police interrogation room from a movie. Wait, is that Batman in the shadows? He's sneaky.

We truly don’t mean to dis on Rib Eye. It’s been a beloved Fort Smith institution for many years, and there are a number of excellent reasons for its longevity.

Continue reading