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I am no stranger to a good Arkansas dairy bar, having made previous visits to long-time favorites like Salem Dairy Bar, Yellow Jacket Drive-In, Garry’s Sling Blade, and Spradlin’s Dairy Delight in England.
The dairy bar experience allows us to take a giant step back in food time, and while the menus at most of the places are pretty much the same, filled with the artery-clogging basics like burgers, fries, shakes, malts, tots, chicken tenders, and chili dogs, it seems like each spot has one item that truly stands out.
In the case of Jackrabbit Dairy Bar, located just on the outskirts of downtown Lonoke, it’s cheese dip. Not sure if you know this, but cheese dip is kind of a big deal in Arkansas. Maybe the biggest. And Jackrabbit’s version is some of the best in the state.
Jackrabbit’s cheese dip looks much like Mexico Chiquito’s popular version but with a slightly thicker consistency. Hints of cumin and chili powder show up, but it’s subtle, with the cheese appropriately shining brighter than the other ingredients. The folks at Jackrabbit put it on just about everything, like my burrito and chili dog. You can even get it with chips as a side item (with thick tortilla chips) for a chicken strip basket. Heck, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone poured a little cheese dip into one of their shakes. Again, this is Arkansas: anything is possible when it comes to the liquid gold.
What else is good at Jackrabbit? Glad you asked. The jumbo cheeseburger is a must-order, thanks to a hand-formed patty that I am guessing weighs in at around 1/3-pound. A fresh white bread bun and crisp iceberg lettuce are there as well, along with pickles, tomatoes, and a few rings of raw red onion.
The chili dog comes in a variety of sizes, but if you fear possible later repercussions, I recommend opting for a small. It is still a gut bomb monstrosity with a heavy pour of beef chili, the aforementioned cheese dip, a dollop of creamy slaw, and some diced red onion. Again, nice move with the red onion, which provided a sharper flavor than white onion. Don’t expect to eat this chili dog with your hands. The wiser option is to shovel it into your pie hole with the help of the accompanying plastic knife and fork. Make sure to save a little room for dessert. I mean, this is a dairy bar for goodness sake. Pass on the fried pie in favor of a vanilla (or any other flavor) shake.
Jackrabbit keeps some straightforward hours: Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. I imagine loyal customers would enjoy them being open on Saturdays, but maybe ownership likes their weekends. As evident by a full parking lot at noon on a Friday, Jackrabbit is a popular spot.
Guess folks need to get their cheese dip.
Jackrabbit Dairy Bar
511 Front St. (Lonoke)
Hours: Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
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