It appears that you're using a severely outdated version of Safari on Windows. Many features won't work correctly, and functionality can't be guaranteed. Please try viewing this website in Edge, Mozilla, Chrome, or another modern browser. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused!Read More
Salem Dairy Bar is a Benton institution, churning out the classics like cheeseburgers, chili dogs, shakes, corn dogs and tater tots. If you are looking for a healthy, low-calorie meal, it is probably best to keep driving. But if you want to indulge in a few guilty food pleasures, Salem Dairy Bar is sure to please. Luckily for me, I fell into the latter category on a recent Friday afternoon.
Like most dairy bars, Salem isn’t much to look at from the outside. This no-frills set-up with a park bench out front and two ordering windows just behind it shows decades of age, but that’s exactly what you should expect from such an establishment. We found a few folks milling around the counter, waiting patiently for their food. Most people, however, called in orders and sat in the confines of their air-conditioned automobiles with windows cracked, waiting for word.
“White Ford Pick-Up, your order is ready!”
Admittedly, while it’s a fun process to behold—all the shouting, followed by men and women scrambling out of cars–my cohort and I were Salem first-timers and needed to focus on not making fools of ourselves at the counter. We quickly scanned the menus in the window, decided to throw caution to the wind by placing a massive order, and snagged seats at the lone bench. Within 10 minutes, our table was filled with food.
The junior double cheeseburger, although a smaller version of the jumbo, was still a sizable offering and loaded with massive amounts of wonderfully processed cheese resting atop crusty, juicy beef patties. The patty melt was just as good, if not better than the cheeseburger. And while it lacked the traditional rye bread, the grilled onions and mayonnaise made up for any deficiencies. Up next were sides of fried dill pickle chips and onion rings, both with a thick, slightly sweet batter coating ideal for dipping in the accompanying ranch sauce. Each fried item was met with smiles, as was the cup of simple, no-bean chili pie topped with Fritos. Some folks would balk at the lack of sour cream, shredded cheddar, and diced, fresh onion, but I actually enjoyed the chili’s simplicity. We washed it all down with a couple of sodas, followed by splitting a house-made fried peach hand pie.
As you might have gathered, we ordered a ton of food but really only scratched the surface of what is on the menu. Next time, you better believe we are getting the tots, French fries, corn dogs, and fried okra. For those looking for a sweet treat to cool down during the summer months, Salem’s menu includes shakes, ice cream, malts, sundaes, shaved ice, and a banana split. Whether it is savory or sweet, at Salem Dairy Bar, you will only find the classics.
Just make sure to bring your stretchy pants.
Salem Dairy Bar
6406 Congo Rd (Benton)
Phone: (501) 794-3929
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday noon-8p.m.; Closed Monday
Sign up for our weekly e-news.
Get stories sent straight to your inbox!
Sign up for
Sign up for weekly e-news!