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While the beloved dairy bar is becoming somewhat of a dying breed throughout the country, here in Arkansas, we are fortunate to still have several thriving operations in many of our small towns.
The Yellow Jacket Drive-In in Sheridan is one of those places.
Truth be told, Yellow Jacket is not much to look at. Yes, the structure is in need of some serious TLC, but much of its charm resides in the faded blue and yellow paint, old neon sign, and rusty roof. Dairy bars provide an important glimpse into our past. I say the more withered and rustic they are, the better.
Yellow Jacket is a short, 45-minute drive from Little Rock and resides on Rock Street in the heart of Sheridan. My friend and I get way too excited about places like these, so we quickly parked the car and got to work.
As you might expect, the menu, which is plastered next to the ordering window, is filled with a plethora of reasonably priced burgers, sandwiches, baskets, and fried sides like onion rings, Tater Tots, pickles, and french fries. There is also a collection of shakes, sundaes, banana splits, malts, and Coke floats. The Brown Derby–the beloved vanilla soft serve ice cream cone dipped in chocolate–makes an appearance, as does my favorite treat, the cyclone. The latter is thick ice cream with add-ins of your choice which are mixed in with great fervor. I suggest going with the Butterfinger.
The regular cheeseburger looks and tastes a notch above a fast-food chain variety. This is not a knock, but I would suggest upgrading to a jumbo or double. I imagine a heartier patty will do wonders. It will also pair wonderfully with an order of fried pickle chips and onion rings. Yellow Jacket has mastered the onion ring. Theirs is a heavily battered, thick-cut onion fried to a golden brown. The rings are appropriately greasy, as they should be. Remember, this is a diary bar. You are not here to count calories. Unwind, let loose, and enjoy some greasy goodness, then polish it off with some ice cream, which is exactly what we did.
If you are like us, and the Yellow Jacket’s benches are all full, just plaster your food on the car hood and enjoy a memorable eating experience. Judging by the near-capacity parking lot on a Friday afternoon, Sheridan’s Yellow Jacket is as popular as ever. I imagine it is even more bustling on a Friday night, especially after a high school football game.
As I stood there, devouring my food, I could not help but think about how fortunate we are to have places like Yellow Jacket still around. As far as I am concerned, it is a historical landmark, and a delicious one at that.
Yellow Jacket Drive-In
101 N Rock St (Sheridan)
Phone: (870) 942-2486
Hours: Monday 10:15 a.m.-7 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday 10:15 a.m.-7:40 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 10:15 a.m.-8:40 p.m.; Sunday 10:15 a.m.-7:40 p.m.
More great restaurants in Arkansas small towns can be found here.
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