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Garry’s Sling Blade in Benton

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I ended up at Garry’s Sling Blade, the iconic dairy bar and diner featured in the movie Sling Blade, on a recent Friday afternoon. It was not my intention to go to Garry’s that day, but sometimes plans change, especially when you have a clunker of a lunch at another spot and are looking to redeem the afternoon with a winner.

Enter Garry’s Sling Blade.

Truth be told, this was my first time at the Benton restaurant, so I did not know if Garry’s was a winner or not. But it had been reader recommended to me in the past, and I figured at the very least it would be cool to visit a restaurant featured in one of my favorite movies. Turns out, it was cool. I walked inside to find a cozy interior with a bar and checkboard flooring. There were a few booths in the corner. A movie poster with Billy Bob Thornton was on one wall. It seemed as though he was peering at an actual sling blade on the nearby wall. Nice touch, Garry’s.

To top things off, the food was actually really good as well.

As is the case with any dairy bar visit, a cheeseburger is a must-order. This one–with a nice hunk of ground beef covered in American cheese and all the fixings on a toasted bun–satisfied. The Reuben, while nothing like I expected, was also a winner. Garry’s Reuben is basically a patty melt with sauerkraut, but no complaints from me. The beer-battered onion rings were thick-cut and fried to a golden brown, although I believe they were previously frozen. No knock, as I love all onion rings, just so long as they are fried right.


While my friend and I only scratched the surface of what Garry’s Sling Blade has to offer, we definitely sampled enough to inspire a return visit. The menu is fairly expansive, so I will probably try a few other items on my next visit. Garry’s has a full line of sundaes, banana splits, shakes, cones, and fried pies for those with a sweet tooth. On the savory side, burgers of all sizes (1/4-pound, 1/3-pound, and ½-pound) rule the landscape, but there are also combo meals featuring grilled cheese, hot dogs, and chicken sandwiches. Fried catfish and shrimp dinners are available, as are numerous sandwich options like the BLT and aforementioned patty melt and Reuben. Corn dogs, Frito chili pie, and all the fried potatoes you can imagine—tater tots, fries, chili cheese fries, and sidewinders—are also available.

If the weather is nice, park yourself at one of the benches near the ordering window. Enjoy the afternoon, and be thankful you ended up at Garry’s Sling Blade.

I know I was.

Did You Know?

Garry’s Sling Blade has a pick-up window just off the road where you can get your food without leaving the car.

Garry’s Sling Blade
619 Cox St (Benton)                                     
Phone: (501) 776-8484
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.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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