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Food 0

Oh My, Blue Heaven

D

Do you remember the old Ed & Kay’s in Benton? Well, it is now Blue Heaven. And while I never saw the old space, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the new owners sank a ton of time and money into the building’s transformation.

I recently paid a visit to Blue Heaven for lunch and was immediately blown away by an expansive interior, complete with new flooring, bright, beautiful art, and exposed brickwork throughout. There is a bar area, main room, and semi-private spaces for more intimate dining. Heck, the restaurant even has that new car smell. And that’s just the inside. The back patio, frankly, is a little shocking at first sight, complete with a gazebo, koi pond, meticulous landscaping, seating for what seems like one hundred, and even a spot to play cornhole. The area is massive—like, throw-a-large-wedding kind of massive.

Blue Heaven in Benton, Arkansas

I imagine it will always be a challenge to fill such a large space. But Blue Heaven’s prime location just off I-30, coupled with a menu full of well-executed American classics should help. And yes, the food, at least just about everything we tried, was worthy of a return visit.

The only thing that needed a revamp was the chicken tender appetizer. Although hand-battered, the four small tenders at a $10.95 price tag were hard to stomach. Frankly, they should come as an entrée (for a few bucks more) with a side of mashed potatoes, cream gravy, and green beans, much like the Signature Pork Steak, the swine version of a beefy classic that was absolutely fantastic. A sizable piece of pork loin was pounded flat, chicken fried to a golden brown, and served up with the beforementioned sides. The result was a comfort food classic that should easily become one of the restaurant’s signature dishes.

Blue Heaven reuben

My Reuben sandwich, with its chipped, corned beef, kraut, Swiss, and Thousand Island dressing on marble rye, was just as satisfying. The side of thick-cut fries put a smile on my face. As did our delightful server who gave some spot-on recommendations throughout the meal, especially for dessert.

Speaking of dessert, all the meal-enders seem to be scratch-made, so save a little stomach space for confections like strawberry cake, blueberry cheesecake, and the lemon bar. Heads up, the lemon bar is actually a lemon icebox pie, which I prefer anyway. All three desserts delighted. But if I had to choose just one, that blueberry cheesecake might be the overall winner because of that thick swirl of fruit, a dense cream cheese filling, and thick graham cracker crust.

Blue Heaven blueberry cheesecake

Blue Heaven Strawberry cake

The food, setting, and service proved to everything and then some, especially for a new restaurant still trying to find its footing. For Benton’s Blue Heaven, I would say the sky’s the limit.

Blue Heaven

15228 I-30 (Benton)
Phone: 501-316-4008
Hours: Wednesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. & 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. & 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Closed Monday & Tuesday

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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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