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Central Morrilton
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Yesterday’s Bar and Grill in Morrilton


Arkansas’s restaurant scene offers patrons delectable dining options that are often rich in local history, and Yesterday’s Bar and Grill in Morrilton is no exception. Whether you are in the mood for a juicy burger or filet mignon cooked perfectly with all the trimmings, Yesterday’s will warmly welcome you inside with a double dose of charm and nostalgia.

Walking in the front door, a popcorn machine greets hungry customers with self-serve complimentary popcorn that can help keep those hunger pains at bay while you painstakingly scour the menu trying to narrow down the choices.

Yesterday’s checks all the boxes of what a local, small-town restaurant and bar should provide. On any given evening, customers can immerse themselves in a laid-back vibe that allows folks to let their hair down after a long workday. Additionally, with a full bar complete with local craft-made beverages courtesy of Point Remove Brewery, sports fans can catch their favorite team on any of the multiple wide-screen TVs that adorn the wall.

The Food

The menu offers everything you hope for and then some. There are the bar/restaurant staples: burgers and fries, nachos, wings (you get the picture). But what makes Yesterday’s unique from other bars and restaurants is how it goes beyond the staples. Excellent cuts of beef, pork chops, and Southern favorites like “Momma’s Chicken Fried Steak” adorn the menu, offering something for everyone. The homemade spaghetti is one for the books. In the words of my husband, “It’s always on point.” And he’s right. On Thursday nights, patrons can indulge in All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti, and this is no normal spaghetti. It has a history.

Homemade Spaghetti – A Conway County Novelty

Served with a side of hot sauce (if you dare), the spaghetti at Yesterday’s can be ordered in a variety of ways. You can get homemade meat sauce, meatballs, sausage or a combination. Sausage, you say? Yes. Sausage and spaghetti have a long history in Morrilton and Conway County, which dates back to when Italian immigrants settled in the Catholic Point community of northern Conway County. Families would get together and make their own Italian sausage, a tradition that still exists with many families throughout the community. Today, Yesterday’s uses local favorite Petit Jean Meats sausage in their spaghetti. A combination of all three with extra sausage and hot sauce is the way to go. Trust me.

Photo courtesy of Nina Magie.

The Blue Bonnet Pizza – More Local History

The spaghetti is not the only dish with local roots. The Blue Bonnet pizza, loaded with pepperoni, Italian sausage, beef, onions, mushrooms, bell pepper, and heavy-handed amounts of mozzarella cheese, is a crowd-pleaser. The Blue Bonnet was once a restaurant and nightclub located off Highway 64 just along the eastern city limits of Morrilton. Their pizza was made with the freshest of ingredients, and many Morriltonians have fond memories of the Blue Bonnet and those infamous pizzas. As time went on, the Blue Bonnet had multiple owners and closed around 2002. In 1982, one of the owners of the Blue Bonnet, Joe Cambiano, was bought out. In turn he opened Yesterday’s Bar and Grill in 1982, which has been in the same location ever since at 1502 Oak Street right off I-40.

Yesterday’s to Today

Under Joe Cambiano’s ownership, the birth of Yesterday’s homemade spaghetti with Petit Jean sausage came to be, which later evolved into an all-you-can-eat spaghetti night similar to what you see on Thursdays now. The name Yesterday’s is partly due to what customers saw on the walls of the restaurant – pictures of old Hollywood actors, actresses, and musicians from decades past, which made diners feel as if they had stepped back in time. After Mr. Cambiano, each owner of the restaurant contributed many unique additions and improvements, which have all led to what you see today at Yesterday’s Bar and Grill. Other past owners of the restaurant include Jim and Ene Guinn and Mike and Suzan Miller.

One of the biggest improvements was an in-depth renovation and facelift done under the ownership of the Millers. The restaurant had to temporarily close due to ceilings being gutted and rebuilt, new taps being installed, improvements in refrigeration and other kitchen equipment, and the installation of a new sound system. At this time, the crowd-pleasing outdoor patio was also built, which now hosts live music on Wednesday nights. Today, Yesterday’s Bar and Grill is owned and operated by James and Michelle Cheek. The couple continues the customer-favorite traditions while also making wonderful additions and improvements along the way. For example, on Tuesday nights, diners can enjoy a prime rib special with all the trimmings, and on Mondays, patrons can enjoy some friendly competition with Trivia Nights.

Yesterday’s Staff Members Celebrating Sharon Edwards’ Retirement -Photo courtesy of Sharon Edwards

The Stars

One essential component of Yesterday’s (throughout all the years) has been its staff. The servers, bartenders, managers and cooks — many of whom have been there for years — offer stellar service that is second to none. You are always greeted with a warm smile and taken care of like you are a close friend or family. Service is fast, and the food is supreme.

Recently, Yesterday’s lost one of its longtime stars, house manager Sharon Edwards, who, after a 32-year career at the restaurant doing just about every job there was to do, made the decision to relocate to Florida to be closer to family. Not to say she doesn’t miss her Yesterday’s family something fierce. Over time, she and Dede Sampley developed a managerial partnership running the restaurant together, with Sharon running the front and Dede running the kitchen. They have more stories than could ever be told in this short article, but if you were lucky enough to work with those two gals, you have plenty. And they have some GREAT stories.

I asked Sharon what she would miss most about Yesterday’s Bar and Grill, and her response seemed like the perfect way to conclude this article in a way that captures the heart and soul of Yesterday’s. She said, “I miss the people most of all. I absolutely loved the locals AND the people who just happened to stop in cause we were so close to the interstate. I always wanted people to feel welcome. I wanted to know where they were from and where they were headed. I always wanted them to get to their destinations and tell their family and friends, ‘You know, we stopped off at this little hole in the wall in the middle of Arkansas and had the time of our life.’… I know I sure did.”

So, the next time you find yourself cruising north on the interstate on the way to a Razorback game or maybe traveling south on the way to the coast, stop at Yesterday’s Bar and Grill in Morrilton. Sit a spell. Grab some good grub and cold drinks from some awesome folks. And have the time of your life.

Yesterday’s Bar and Grill

1502 N. Oak
Morrilton, AR 72110

Monday – Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Meet the

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Mary (Duran) Eggart lives in Morrilton with her husband, Bill, and son, Tripp. Her daughter, Emma, is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Mary is currently a part-time high school English teacher with over 18 years of teaching experience, having taught elementary, middle school, high school, and college students throughout her career. She has a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in teaching, and a master’s degree in English. Mary is a native Razorback and graduate of the U of A who enjoys exploring her state and dreams of traveling the world. The arts and travel are her passions as she is an avid lover of people, their culture, and the stories that build and shape a community.

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