This autumn, my wife and I took a trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, to get away for a while. Only 8.5 hours from Fort Worth, it was a great weekend trip, and Eureka Springs has a ton of little places to get a bite to eat. We didn’t use Foursquare on the trip, for privacy reasons (no need to let everyone know I was out of town for the weekend), so I thought I’d post the full reviews here. At some point, I’ll cross-post these to TripAdvisor, since that’s how we found most of these.
Rowdy Beaver Restaurant and Tavern – this wasn’t exactly highly ranked/reviewed, but it looked good, and was on the way out of town back to our cabin. It wasn’t bad – the service was quick, friendly, and helpful. My wife and I both got the Grilled Shrimp. We were surprised to find that this was 2 skewers with really good sized shrimp – roughly 10 pieces in total. The rice was perfectly cooked and flavored, as well. The hushpuppies were great, with a bit of spice (jalapenos) baked right in, but not out of control. Most entrees here include the soup and salad bar, but to be honest, that’s not much of a ‘plus’. The salad bar was fresh, but sparse in toppings, and they only had one soup to ‘choose’ from. We also got cheesecake to go, which was delicious.
Total bill for 2 = ~$50 with tip
Local Flavor Cafe – right on the way into downtown, this place was recommended by several locals that we asked. Even at the height of lunch service we didn’t have to wait long….to be seated. Service, while friendly, was incredibly slow, even just for waters. We were seated inside, but the room was more of a glass sunroom, which was nice, considering the weather. However, this meant there were doors to the balcony seating everywhere, which let flies in – annoying. My wife ordered the Santa Fe Pita, which was delicious. The mango salsa was really fresh and tasty. I had the Turkey Avocado Pepper Jack sandwich, which was also incredible. The bread was amazingly delicious and I had the fries on the side, which were also good.
Total bill for 2 = $30 with tip
Ermilio’s Italian Home Cooking – on a tip from the locals, we decided on Ermilio’s Italian Home Cooking for dinner. They’re only open from 5-8p, and we got there right after 5. There was an hour wait, but upstairs is a lounge with a cash bar and tons of fun games – we played Connect 4 while we waited for the Friends Trivia Game card deck to open up. Didn’t mind waiting an hour when there’s fun things to do. The seating is tight – it’s basically a house, with tables crammed everywhere. However, this lent a more homey feel, and we didn’t mind. Our server was awesome. Attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable about the menu, as well. We started with the stuffed mushrooms, which were mind-blowing, and then had dinner. The lasagna was on ‘special’ (it always is on Wednesday and Saturday, apparently) and it’s easy to see why – holy crap, most delicious lasagna EVER. We also had Cesar salads, which were also fresh and delicious. I would honestly have gone back to Ermilio’s for dinner ever night without complaining. We got desserts to go, the cheesecake was delicous, but the raspberry sauce was TART.
Total bill for 2 = ~$80
Mud St Cafe – we did lunch here one day, and breakfast the next day. The place isn’t really easy to find – it’s a doorway along all the shops, and you go downstairs to ‘Eureka’s Historic Underground’ (i.e. the basement). The decor is really…..hippie. We were sat quickly, though again, we waited longer than I’d like to actually get service. I had the reuben, and it was DELICIOUS. My wife had a salad, and she said it was good, too – fresh and all. For breakfast, I had the Mud Street Breakfast, with ham substituted, and my wife had the same, but with bacon. Breakfast was AMAZING. Eggs were scrambled to perfection, the ham was real, none of this processed business, and their bacon is thick-cut and amazing. They have a self-serve coffee ‘bar’ with 4 selections of brew coffee and to-go cups. I also had a ‘Wolferman’s English Muffin’ that nearly blew my mind. It was totally awesome and recommended.
Total bill for 2 (Lunch) = ~$23 with tip
Total bill for 2 (Breakfast) = $33 with tip
Peace, Love, and Cheesecake – we didn’t really have a meal here, but we did get cheesecake, and it was amazeballs. They had about 6 different flavors – we shared a slice of the raspberry crumble, and it was awesome. We also had their Pomegranate Spritzer, which was sweet and refreshing.
Total bill for 2 = $10
Gaskins Cabin – this was highly recommended, and a pretty comedic disappointment. For starters, it’s quite a drive – a good 10-15 minutes past downtown, in the middle of nowhere, really. We went for dinner on Sunday evening, and had read online that there can be a wait, so we phoned 30 minutes ahead to get on the waiting list, as recommended. When we arrived, there was no one waiting out front, and the entire front bar (with 6 six-seater tables, 2 of which were fully ‘set’) was vacant. The hostess was the bartender, and informed us it would be about 20 minutes. We nearly laughed out loud, but decided to wait anyways. We watched 3 different couples leave separately, in the 20 minutes before we were seated. We also watched 3 couples come in, two of which left after being told there was a 30-45 minute wait (despite my wife and I being the only ones waiting). Their dinner service is from 5p-8p, and we were finally sat just after 6p – one hour into dinner service. As the name suggests, this is a cabin converted to a restaurant, so the seating was sparse and slightly cramped, but we still walked right past 3 open tables on our way to ours (which made me wonder what, exactly, we’d been waiting for?).
When our waiter greeted us, he informed us that they were out of the calamari appetizer and the macaroni and cheese side dish. Again, this was 1 hour into dinner service, and there was MAYBE 20 tables in the whole place. How are you already running out of dishes, especially macaroni and cheese? After seeing a few plates come out, my wife and I decided to split the 12oz prime rib, and also got Cesar salads, and sides of asparagus, sauteed mushrooms and onions, and a loaded baked potato. Meanwhile, the waiter brought out the bread, which was warm and soft, though he seemed to forget that I asked for another loaf – twice.
The food – OMG, the food. IT. WAS. AMAZING. SO AMAZING. Like, ridiculously amazing. Was that worth the absurd and ridiculous wait? Not really, in my opinion. The prime rib was juicy (and PLENTY for 2 people to split), and the sides were fresh and delicious, as well.
Total bill for 2 = $65 with tip (for a split plate, mind you).
So, to recap, if you’re headed to Eureka Springs, DEFINITELY make your way to Mud Street Cafe and Ermilio’s. Local Flavor Cafe is good, but if you miss it, it’s probably not the end of the world. Gaskins Cabin is a definite skip. It’s good, but the ridiculous wait and being out of common dishes 1 hour into service is something I can do without. Especially for $65 on a split-plate dinner.