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Best Café and Bar is the Newest Gem in Hot Springs


Best Café and Bar recently opened in March 2021, but somehow, I’d only heard of the restaurant a few weeks ago after a reader raved about the breakfast. Come to find out, the eatery resides in renovated 1933 building, which is also attached to a courtyard full of cottages. Those, too, have been given a complete makeover. The café is small with limited indoor seating, but there is also plenty of tables outside. Quite frankly, the entire operation is unexpectedly amazing, and that’s putting it mildly.

It turns out the food was every bit as impressive.

Leading the kitchen is Executive Chef Joshua Garland, who put his stamp on a focused, well-executed menu comprised of recognizable dishes. The Crème Brûlée French Toast with housemade brioche showcases his creativity. A small scoop of salted molasses butter, along with blueberries and strawberries, reside on the slab of bread. The entire concoction, with its spot-on presentation, practically takes your breath away when it hits the table. A side of thin, crisp bacon seals the deal, but if you want duck bacon, Best Café and Bar has that, too.

Speaking of duck, the Confit Duck Hash is a must-order. It comes with a sweet corn puree that provides the perfect complement to tender pieces of duck meat. Those have been crisped up on the flat top. Half a Roma tomato adds a pop of color and acidity. Chunks of sweet potato, along with a poached egg that seems to hover over the other ingredients like a floating cloud, help make for a memorable dish.

Makes sure to order the Breakfast Sandwich, a sizeable, $10 handheld that is worth every penny thanks in large part to a sliced biscuit loaded with country ham, a fried egg, strawberry jam, and cheddar. Truth be told, it’s probably best eaten with a fork. Wash it all down with a coffee. In my case, it was cold brew (black), which is typically my drink of choice for breakfast.

Other breakfast items include the Smoked Salmon Plate, Biscuits & Gravy, Acai Yogurt Bowl, and Bacon & Pimento Cheese Omelet. Breakfast is served throughout the day, but if you’re craving lunch, that service runs from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and includes The 21 Dollar Burger. Color me intrigued.

On this morning, there was nothing not to love about Best Café and Bar. Something tells me this is pretty standard. While still young, it seems like the restaurant has figured things out quickly. From the fantastic food to attentive, professional service to relaxed setting, it was a meal to remember in Hot Springs.

The future looks bright for Best Café and Bar. Time to find out for yourself.

Did You Know?

Best Café and Bar is now open on Monday and Tuesday nights from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. for dinner service. Happy Hour runs from 4 p.m.-6 p.m.

Best Café and Bar
632 Ouachita Ave. (Hot Springs)
Phone: 870-474-6350
Hours: Wednesday-Monday 7 a.m.-2 p.m.; Monday & Tuesday 4 p.m.-9 p.m.

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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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