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If you live in Central Arkansas (or anywhere in Arkansas, for that matter) and are looking for a fun food day trip idea, consider setting aside a few hours for a drive down US-165. Each place below is between 25-40 minutes from Little Rock and located either on or just a stone’s throw from the road. Please feel free to follow the order of my suggestions or mix and match how you see fit.
Start your trip off at one of my favorite small markets in the area. The Curve Market is a perfect spot to load up on local goods, including fruits and vegetables, as well as anything from candles to barbecue sauce to baked products. Julie Chapman, the owner, also has an amazing selection of plants and flowers throughout the year.
Seaton’s Scott Place is right next door to The Curve Market and the two establishments even share the same parking lot, so you really have no excuse not to pop in for a quick bite to eat. Make sure to split a few appetizers like the onion rings, fried pickles or the Sooie Shrimp. Folks with bigger appetites should also consider orders of the fried chicken tenders, ribs, and fried catfish.
By this time, you’ll probably be craving something sweet, so get back in the car and make the 10-minute jaunt to Charlotte’s in Keo. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you know that Charlotte’s serves some of the very best pie in all of Arkansas. Just make sure to order it right when you sit down, as they’ve been known to sell out early in the day. Everything is fantastic, but you’d be hard-pressed to beat pieces of the caramel, coconut, and chocolate pie. The strawberry cake is also a winner, as is the Italian cream. Craving something savory? The Keo Klassic, a sandwich with smoked turkey, tomato, onion, avocado, and Monterey Jack on sourdough is the way to go.
Getting tired of eating, yet? No? Good. Then get back on US-165 and head to the small town of England for some fried chicken wings and catfish at Bosses Chicken. The eatery has been around for less than a year but has really made its mark with those heavily breaded fried chicken wings in a house-made honey mustard sauce. The catfish is crazy good, like some of the very best in the area, thanks in large part to massive, flavorful filets coated in a thick, well-seasoned batter. Bosses is fast-casual, so order at the counter and either eat at the restaurant or at a nearby park.
Spradlin’s is only a few minutes from Bosses, and this iconic dairy bar that’s been around for decades is a nice place to wrap up the US-165 food tour. The tasty fish sandwich is a good option, as is a double cheeseburger, but it’s hard to go to any dairy bar and not order a shake or malt. I suggest keeping things simple and getting a vanilla malt to-go.
Happy food trails!
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