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Holly’s Country Cookin’ is Cooking


Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a plate lunch kick. There are worse things to be enamored with, especially when the food is as good as what places like Capitol Smokehouse churn out Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Well, good news, I’ve got another spot for you: Holly’s Country Cookin’. As with most restaurants specializing in cafeteria-style serving, the line at Holly’s is often long but moves fast, mainly because regulars know the drill. More importantly, they know exactly what to order.

Holly’s Country Cookin’

Unfortunately, I am not a Holly’s regular. In fact, this was my first time, which is a little crazy to think about since the restaurant is somewhat of a Conway institution. Truth be told, I have been wanting to go for years, but as is often the case, time got away from me. Better late than never.

Fried chicken is the main draw at Holly’s, and one of the only entrees served every day. And when I say “fried chicken,” I’m talking about the good stuff: bone-in and skin-on, just like mom or dad used to make. Real-deal fried chicken is becoming a lost art, and frankly, there just aren’t many local, non-chain restaurants still making it on a consistent basis.

One bite into Holly’s will make you forget about those fast food chains. This chicken is juicy with a super crispy crust and not at all greasy. A couple pieces come on the “regular” lunch plate, along with two sides and a yeast roll. I opted for the turnip greens and mashed potatoes with peppered cream gravy. All fantastic. My tablemate went with the Wednesday Special, a hearty serving of Chicken & Dressing, and paired it with hashbrown casserole and squash casserole. All great. And that is even considering my friend’s odd choice to drench her Chicken & Dressing with brown gravy over cream gravy. Hey, no one’s perfect. I kid, I kid.

Speaking of perfection, those yeast rolls. Granted, rarely has one come across my plate that I didn’t want to gobble up within seconds, but these were particularly fresh and, for lack of a better adjective, yeasty. Dunking a portion of the roll into that pool of cream gravy was the highlight of my meal.

Or maybe the chicken was the highlight.

Or maybe the hunk of coconut cream pie for dessert with its thin, flaky crust was the highlight.

It’s hard to choose, and that’s probably why this place is so popular with the locals.

Coconut Pie at Holly’s Country Cookin’

Holly’s Country Cookin’ also offers a “Lite” plate for $8.50 (smaller protein), as well as two veggie plate options. And make no mistake, the sides are no afterthought. Seventeen are available each week and include popular selections like butter beans, cabbage, mac & cheese, and the aforementioned hashbrown casserole, just to name a few.

I’m kind of liking this lunch plate lifestyle. Where to next?

We shall see.

Holly’s Country Cookin’ Conway Arkansas


Did You Know?

Here are the Plate Lunch Specials throughout the week:
Monday: Boneless Ribs, Roast Beef, Cheesy Chicken Lasagna (Veggie Special: Steamed Broccoli & Cheese)
Tuesday: Mexican Chicken, Hamburger Steak (Veggie Special: Steamed Broccoli & Cheese)
Wednesday: Chicken & Dressing, Lasagna (Veggie Special: Sweet Potato Casserole)
Thursday: Chicken & Dumplings, Meatloaf (Veggie Special: Steamed Broccoli & Cheese)
Friday: Fried Fish, Fried Shrimp, Mexican Beef (Veggie Special: Baked Beans, Slaw, and Hushpuppies)

Holly’s Country Cookin’
116 Harkrider (Conway)
Phone: (501) 328-9738
Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Closed Saturday & Sunday

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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and one daughter, Sydney. His oldest daughter, Natalie, is a freshman at Loyola University in Chicago. He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, twelve years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for ten years. During that time, he’s written for publications like Little Rock Soiree, Arkansas Times, AY Magazine, and The Local Palate.

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One response to “Holly’s Country Cookin’ is Cooking”

  1. Jim Yeager says:

    Holly’s is our Go-To place. We have some Alabama family that will almost drive to Arkansas just for Holly’s!

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