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My recent weekend food trip to Northwest Arkansas with two buddies found us hitting up restaurants, the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market, and various eateries throughout the area. And while visits to Briar Rose Bakery & Deli, The Hive, Wright’s Barbecue, Saiwok Vietnamese Street Food, and Bocca Fayetteville were all met with favorable results, it was our last stop at Café Rue Orleans for brunch that really stood out.
Café Rue Orleans sits on the second floor, atop a bar on College Avenue in the heart of Fayetteville. Parking can be difficult during busy times. Already with limited spots, the restaurant is also mostly surrounded by a small motel that wraps along the back and sides of the establishment. Fortunately for us, we arrived five minutes before opening on a Sunday morning and were able to snag a spot.
About 10 people had already beaten us to the restaurant. It’s usually a pretty good sign of things to come when folks are waiting in line for a place to open. As it turned out, this proved to be the case. Ravenous and wanting to finish off the trip right, we ordered way too much food. Café Rue Orleans’ slogan is “We are New Orleans,” so, as expected, a variety of heavy, sauce-based, Cajun-inspired items ended up filling our table. Food was everywhere.
And everything was delicious, from the Creole Shrimp and Grits to the Eggs Pontchartrain to the Catfish Tchoupitoulas, the latter of which was an enormous piece of crab-stuffed fried catfish covered in a seafood cream sauce with a side of cheesy potatoes. The potatoes alone were substantial enough to be considered a meal. Thor’s Hammer, a dish recommended by our attentive server and highlighted by a poached egg, tender chunks of pork, seafood gravy, and a grit fritter, was also delightful. Each hearty-portioned dish also came with a side of fruit that was sadly not touched by any in the group. We were there for the good stuff–the stick-to-your-ribs, gut-busting classics–and didn’t have time for some mundane fruit. We even saved room for an order of beignets, the popular powdered sugar donuts that are just as delicious as they are messy. Within 30 minutes, we were able to devour about 90% of the food on the table, a feat that was shocking to even us.
Generally speaking, the offerings on most restaurant brunch menus are quite heavy. Café Rue Orleans is obviously no exception, so make sure you come hungry. The prices are reasonable, the service is outstanding, and the post-meal nap will be sure to please.
Folks in the Fayetteville area should consider themselves fortunate to have a touch of New Orleans right in their backyard. Next time in town, I might try out Café New Orleans for lunch and dinner.
But it will be hard to top that brunch.
Café Rue Orleans
1150 N College Ave. (Fayetteville)
Phone: (479) 443-2777
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
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