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
Posted in American Food, CheapEats, Fast Food, Fort Smith, Ft. Smith, Lunch, pizza, Sandwiches
Tagged fastfood, FortSmith, FtSmith, Geno's, pizza, Sandwiches
4620 Rogers Ave.
Fort Smith, AR 72956
People ask us what we think about Art’s, and we always start to say something along the lines of, “Well we think they’re definitely an important part of human expression and an invaluable component of education to promote the continued success of our species by instilling an appreciation of the intangible, metaphorical and some might say purest realms of human experience, while fostering the collective and individual creative spirit of our people in our constantly changing and challenging world, today and ever forward.”
Then, they say, “No, Art’s BBQ. On Rogers. Any good?”
Oh, Art’s. Not arts. No one ever pronounces the apostrophe, so you can see why we’d get confused.
Adding to the confusion, is that every time you go there, right inside the door of Art’s is bona fide Art. Not the owner — he may be there too, but it’d be sort of creepy if he ALWAYS was, you know?
No, Art as in “a painted work on canvas that is an important part of human of human expression and an invaluable component of education to promote the …” Oh, whatever. It’s not actually good enough to warrant a capital A.
However, being a Painting of a Place that Hangs within the Place Itself, said painting IS mos def good enough to make us go, “Hey, meta, dude…” and stop and appreciate it each time. Admire, boys and girls, the art of Art’s:
Another entry into our happiness-inducing series of Paintings of Places Inside the Places Themselves.
2100 Rogers Ave.
Fort Smith AR 2901
Here’s the way things work in Fort Smith. If you’re going to be a kick-ass Vietnamese restaurant, you’re probably going to need to be in some building that was once quite obviously something else. Pho Vietnam, for instance, is in the old gas station. Green Papaya is in an old Dairy Queen. Pho Hoang on the other hand, is in what we think used to be a Mexican restaurant, but at least was something less iconically restaurant-shaped than the others. This is why Pho Hoang, while awfully good, is not quite as good as the others. If it were in, say, an old Pizza Hut, the food would taste that much better.
That’s why it’s lucky that Pho 21 is in a building that we think was originally a Church’s Chicken, though it still looks to us like the KFC we remember. You can paint a roof turquoise, but that shape ain’t ever going to look Vietnamese. But see, according to our Fort Smith Eats Law of Vietnamese Restaurant Buildings, this means the food’s pretty solid. Continue reading
Posted in Asian Food, CheapEats, Fort Smith, Ft. Smith, Sandwiches, Soups, Vietnamese Food
Tagged Asian, FortSmith, FtSmith, Pho21, vietnamese
Cara’s at Brunwick Place
115 N. 10th St. Ste. E101
Fort Smith, AR 72901
Charm. That’s what Cara’s is really about, we think. A charming little café in a charming little set of shops. Food that’s somewhere between foodie fare and comfort fare. An owner who makes a point to learn your name and never fails to welcome you back or gently berate you for not coming more often. It’s a place that you might have quibbles about this or that, but it’s really almost impossible not to like. They charm you.
Cara’s opened in the red brick old-time shopping center, Brunwick Place, earlier this year. It’s got an appealing atmosphere that manages to be bright and dark at the same time. Deep colors and warm lights, and a casual vibe set the mood.
The old Landry's locale received a nice update before Cara's opened for business this year.
When Cara herself isn’t back in the kitchen making the magic, she’s out on the floor working the room. Her broad smile and Southern openness combine to engage anyone and everyone in conversation till she’s learned your name, profession and family history, and given you a hug and possibly a taste of something new she just whipped up for the menu. Continue reading
Posted in American Food, coffee, Dessert, Fort Smith, Ft. Smith, pizza, Sandwiches, Soups
Tagged Cara's at Brunwick, FortSmith, Sandwiches, soup
Sweet Bay by the Park (plus 3 other locations)
3400 Rogers Ave.
Ft. Smith, AR 72903
We love Sweet Bay. We really do. If you’re looking for a nice Fort Smith place to sit and chat, or read, or work or people watch, it’s hard to beat the Bay, especially the flagship Creekmore Park location with its cozy fireplace den in one part and its open garage-door-window sunroom area overlooking the park. But one of the few complaints we have about our favorite locally owned full-service café is the prices can really add up.
We totally cribbed this picture from Google Images. Don't tell.
Individually, paying $5.49 for a sandwich, or $1.25 for a one-time-refillable glass of iced plum tea, or $3.70 for a large frozen peanut butter mocha or $1.99 for a muffin don’t seem like much, perfectly reasonable. Together, though, or when you’re paying for more than one person? We inevitably get a little sticker-shock. We’ve never figured out how it happens that every time it seems like it’s about 30% more than we had expected. (You guys never realized how cheap we are, did you?)
Until now. Sweet Bay this summer started running lunch specials. Here’s what you can get: Continue reading
Whole Hog Cafe
4501 Burrough Road
Fort Smith, AR 72916
There was much hubbub when Whole Hog Café opened in Fort Smith this summer. Tales of the Arkansas chain’s glory spread to the River Valley from other WHC’s in Central and Northwest Arkansas. The place has won the Arkansas Times Readers’ Choice Award (admittedly very heavily Central Arkansas favored; who ya kiddin’ Ark Times) as being the best barbeque in the state for 9 years running. Basically, since it opened.
With a record like this, Whole Hog must either be incredibly good or know something about ballot-box-stuffing. And add a another year on there. Yeah, they won 2009 too.
Fort Smith Eats wasn’t a complete newcomer to Whole Hog. We’d eaten at their other locations, knew the drill. Heck, we’ve even seen Whole Hog’s whole hogs, with the still pig-shaped roasted carcass being carved up in front of an audience. It’s a sight alright.
What we hadn’t yet seen, though, was exactly what all the fuss was about. We get BBQ, love BBQ, know BBQ. We ain’t gonna claim to be world champion barbequers or anything, but maybe something closer to championship barbequers’ roadies. Without the, er, road. Anyway, we’re pretty informed fans of good BBQ. And yeah, Whole Hog has good BBQ. But great? The best in the state? Not so sure about that, so we went back for a few more tries. Continue reading