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
1715 Phoenix Avenue
Fort Smith, Ark.
Phoenix 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
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
6810 Rogers Ave
Fort Smith, AR 72903
Every so often in addition to featuring local independent restaurants, Fort Smith Eats will post short write-ups on fast food finds. Why? Because sometimes we don’t have time to do a full post, and because, honestly, we have to admit we still eat at these places more often than is wise, we suspect you do, too, and sometimes we have something to say, good or bad, about what we’ve eaten there. (We’ve also previousl blogged about fast food in a mocha-off.)
It’s pretty well established that Chick-Fil-A is the hot young thang on the Fort Smith fast food scene, as well as everywhere else nationwide fortunate enough to have a franchise. What was once an unexciting mall food court standby has in the past few years achieved this weird cult status with some crazy Chick-Fil-A-lovin’ fans. We’d pay cash money to see a fierce game of Red Rover between Chick-Fil-A fans and Apple fans. Except they’re often the same people, so maybe that wouldn’t work.
You could count us among the semi-rabid Chick-Fil-A fans. We’re not putting on cow costumes or getting Eat More Chickn tattoos, but if you suggest going to Chick-Fil-A for a quick bite, we’re probably going.
We are sometimes guilty of getting stuck in a rut, getting a craving for something we’ve had before and then only ordering that. There are about three items on the Chick-Fil-A menu we get over and over and over: the original chicken sandwich (plain, no need to tart it up with lettuce and tomato), the Chick-N-Strips, and the surprisingly-yummy-though-weird-textured chicken salad (in a cup, with crackers).
We love these items. They are solid, dependable. They make us happy every time.
But then we watched Up, and got that Spirit of Adventure. So we ordered something different. We ordered the Charbroiled & Fruit Salad.
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
318 Garrison Ave.
Fort Smith, AR 72901
Been a bit nippy lately, hasn’t it? Whenever the wind sends a chill right to the very marrow of our bones, Fort Smith Eats starts thinking soup. Mmm. Soup.
Have you ever known someone who didn’t like soup? We have. They were strange, unnerving, off-balance folks, the soup-haters. Coincidence? We think not.
Soup haters (started to make that one word, but then it’d be Souphaters, which does that phreaky PH thing and we pheared you might phumble over the fonetics, thus disrupting the natural phlow of the sentence, so we lepht it two words. You’re welcome.) might have a hard time hanging out with us. We eat a lot of soup. And one of our all-time favorite kinds of soup is French Onion. We don’t know why the onion has to be French. Maybe any nationality of onion would do. Canadian Onion Soup? Burmese Onion Soup? We’d try them. But since Ivory Coast Onion Soup isn’t on the menu anywhere in town — trust us, we’re the experts — when the weather got into the single digits we had a craving for some French Onion.
If there’s a better French Onion Soup in town than at Varsity Sports Grill, please let us know and we will literally drop everything and rush over to try it. Because Varsity may not be high-falutin cooking, but they do a reliable soup.
Posted in American Food, CheapEats, Downtown Fort Smith, Fort Smith, Ft. Smith, Lunch, Salads, Soups, Varsity Sports Grill
Tagged FrenchOnionSoup, FtSmith, VarsityGrill
2401 South 56th
Fort Smith, AR 72903
Really, we almost trip up that step into the doorway about every time. But after you get into the restaurant, you sense the casual-ness, you smell the cinnamon rolls, and you’re seated quickly. The décor … well, it’s kind of “sensory overload,” but in a different way than Pho Vietnam. It’s old Americana, stuff you see at “nice” flea markets: retro tin food cans and serving trays covering the walls. The walls themselves are made of the 1960s/70s wood paneling that yuppies who buy older homes remove ASAP. (Full disclosure: we’d remove it too. Are we yuppies? Perhaps. Or maybe we just like sunlight. We’d tear out any shag carpeting too.)
Nuttin fancy here. This place serves “Kuhn-tree” cookin’. Calico almost seems to pride itself on the over-the-top homey-ness. But, it’s what you expect; this restaurant doesn’t change with the times or current fads. Its staid demeanor is calming even. And, really, if you’ve lived in Ft. Smith any time at all, you’ve eaten at Calico County. More than once. More than twice. And the atmosphere remains the same, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s usually busy, too, so there is a lot of dining noise. It’s family-friendly, so expect some kid-noise, too. And, avoid it on Sundays after church. VERY busy. Continue reading