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Central Morrilton
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A Pop-In at the Morrilton Drive Inn

I

I live in Little Rock, and my in-laws reside in Oklahoma City, which is pretty much a five-hour, straight shot drive down I-40. So, when we decided to make a recent trek from one capital city to another, I wanted to make sure the Morrilton Drive Inn was on the travel itinerary. You see, I have long wanted to check out this iconic restaurant and its close proximity to the interstate made it an ideal stop for an early Friday night dinner.

I made sure to call in our order just outside Conway, which is about 20 minutes away from Morrilton, thus ensuring that the food would be hot and ready.

And that it was!

I popped into the restaurant, an older establishment with Razorback Red from head to toe, and found my food wrapped and waiting for me right there on the counter. Everything was ready, except for my Oreo Cyclone–Morrilton Drive Inn’s version of a Blizzard–which the lady behind the counter kindly made once she saw me walk through the door. It was a nice touch on her part to wait and make the delicious ice cream treat. Not that it really mattered. That thing stayed cold for the next 100 miles down the road. But as much as I enjoyed the Cyclone, the double cheeseburger was the reason we stopped at the restaurant.

And it did not disappoint.

In fact, I would say it was one of the better burgers I have eaten in a while. The double patty monstrosity was a beautiful mess of a burger, loaded with two somewhat greasy, thick beef patties and a heavy dose of mayo, pickles, raw onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. American cheese dripped down the sides of the meat, as it should. Some may frown at the toppings being below the patties, but I couldn’t care less. Just flip over the burger if it freaks you out. Either way, make sure to use two hands or expect a lap full of fixings.

An order of the Sidewinders, the popular, thick-cut spiral fries, will both touch the heart and clog the arteries. Make sure to eat them within 10 minutes, as the crunchy potato swirls quickly turn into a limp handful of grease. You may even want to get crazy and dip one or two of the fries into the accompanying Cyclone. That is living!

We also tried out the grilled chicken sandwich, a fried chicken tender basket, and a turkey club sandwich, but none of those items will inspire a future order. The burger, fries, and Cyclone most definitely did, so while the Morrilton Drive Inn was far from perfect, there was enough there to make us fans of the place. For next time, I have got my eye on the meatloaf sandwich and banana split.

I am already looking forward to seeing my in-laws again.

Morrilton Drive Inn
1601 N Oak St (Morrilton)
Phone: (501) 354-8343
Hours: Sunday-Friday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m.-9 a.m.

 

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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and two daughters, Natalie (12) and Sydney (7). He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, seven 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 almost five years. During that time, he’s written for Little Rock Soiree, Rock City Eats, Treatsie, and Bourbon and Boots.

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