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The Hive Cafe: First Time’s a Charm in White Hall

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I live in Little Rock, but the more that I write for OnlyinArk.com, the more I am motivated to seek out other cities and towns throughout Arkansas for my articles. A recent, and might I add, highly successful visit to Mountain View’s Oliver’s Bistro motivated me to put another reader’s suggestion to the test. This time, I was instructed to head down to White Hall for a sandwich at The Hive Cafe and Candy Shop.

White Hall is a town of five thousand people and is a short, 45-minute jaunt southeast of our capital city.

Step inside The Hive and you will immediately fall in love with its downhome warmth and coziness. Pictures of patrons, friends, and family adorn the walls. The menu chalkboard is in plain sight as you walk through the door. To the left of the chalkboard is a shelf of baked goods, and just a few steps from that is a refrigerator filled with cakes. An open kitchen resides in the middle of the restaurant. It is a small operation with a few ladies baking bread and hurriedly making sandwiches. Speaking of, although items like white cheese dip, the Soup of the Day, and an offering of salads make an appearance, sandwiches dominate the menu.

We ordered the Skylar Club–the cashier told me was the most popular item–and the Reuben. The latter was a respectable rendition and one that stayed true to the classic ingredients of marble rye, shaved corned beef, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing. It was good, but the Skylar Club was even better. A freshly baked hoagie roll tends to delight, especially one that has been basted with Parmesan, grilled, and filled with shaved turkey, ham, and chicken, along with smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a garlic herb mayonnaise. You’d think the thin-pressed bread would have a hard time holding up to all those ingredients, but this was not the case. Next time, I’ll be trying out another popular item, the Pecan and Pineapple Chicken Salad.

My dining partner and I also split the Friday special of chicken and dumplings. The Hive’s take on a Southern classic was as traditional as it comes, with thin, rolled dumplings, tender chunks of breast meat, and a few pinches of thyme swimming in a thick broth. The small bowl was satisfying and left just enough stomach space for some dessert: carrot cake, to be exact, and a few bites of a gooey cinnamon roll.

Folks in White Hall are fortunate to have The Hive Café and Candy Shoppe. Judging from a full house on a Friday service, I think they know it. Our lunch was an absolute success and one that will definitely inspire a return visit. It just might not be for a while.

I’ve got a few other places to check out.

The Hive Cafe and Candy Shoppe
7106 Dollarway Road (White Hall)
Phone: 870-247-7022
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; Closed Saturday and Sunday

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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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