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Statewide Bentonville Cabot Fort Smith Hot Springs Johnson Little Rock Lonoke Searcy Siloam Springs
Statewide Food 0

10 Cheesy Dishes from Around Arkansas


In honor of tomorrow’s (June 4) National Cheese Day, I thought we could focus on some of the tastiest, cheesy dishes from around the Natural State. Cheese is life and here in Arkansas, we celebrate it.

1. Half Spread at McClard’s Bar-B-Q (Hot Springs)

I am not ranking things, but let’s face it, is there a more iconic, cheesy dish than the Half Spread at McClard’s? Just look at that pile of shredded cheddar. Somewhere underneath it all is a tamale, Fritos, and beans. Oh, and don’t forget about the chopped beef.

2. Cheesecake at The Pantry (Little Rock)

I debated on whether to include a dessert, but in the end, the cheesecake at The Pantry deserves a mention. It is probably the most popular dessert in Little Rock, mainly because of the brûléed top, but the cream cheese interior is light, smooth, and absolutely delicious.

3. Matt’s Burger at Knightfire BBQ (Searcy)

There is something about the way American cheese melts over the smoked, Prime brisket patty at Knightfire BBQ. Add pickles and house-made Awesome Sauce and you’ve got a burger that is every bit as good as the barbeque at this Searcy smokehouse. And that’s saying something.

4. Crepes at Crepes Paulette (Bentonville)

Ever had crepes in Paris? I have and can tell you without hesitation that the ones at Crepes Paulette in Bentonville stack up, so to speak. Thin and soft with crispy edges, many of these crepes, like the Quebec, Sweet Classic, and Monte Cristo, are elevated by a heavy hand of cheese.

5. Mac & Cheese at ziggywurst (Siloam Springs)

Look at that cheese pull! My goodness, props to the folks at ziggywurst for their triple cheese mac & cheese topped with fried onions. Frankly, all the food is worth the drive to this downtown Siloam Springs eatery, but the mac is fairly memorable, as are the grilled brats.

6. French Dip at Ed Walker’s Drive-In & Restaurant (Fort Smith)

The fine folks at Ed Walker’s sell literally thousands of French dips each year at the Fort Smith mainstay, and while the pile of tender beef on a hoagie roll is a big draw, it’s that melted Provolone that will keep this sandwich trapped inside your brain.

7. Cheese Dip at Jackrabbit Dairy Bar (Lonoke)

Did you really think I wasn’t going to include cheese dip on this cheesy dish list? This is Arkansas, where the liquid gold reigns supreme. You won’t find many better than what Jackrabbit Dairy Bar cranks out each day. Get it in a small tub, on top of a chili dog, or even poured over a burrito. Heck, I heard a rumor that they will fill your crockpot with cheese dip for the right price.

8. Mac & Cheese at Cook’s Hook (Cabot)

Yes, another mac & cheese makes the cut. Cook’s Hook, a Cabot-based food truck, serves up the gooiest, creamiest version west of the Mississippi. Like all great dishes comprised mainly of melted cheese, this one is best eaten immediately, so grab some napkins and enjoy it in the confines of your car.

9. Cheese Fries at The Buffalo Grill (Little Rock)

How do hand-cut fries drenched in cheese dip sound? Oh, then top it all off with a pile of chopped bacon. Would you also like a little ranch? No problem. I know, I know, this artery-clogging appetizer is the poster boy for gluttony, but sometimes you have to YOLO, so grab a few friends and head to The Buffalo Grill.

10. Pizza at Pizzeria Ruby (Johnson)

Let’s finish the cheesy dish list off with some pizza at Pizzeria Ruby in Johnson. It has quickly become some of the best in the state, thanks in large part to super fresh ingredients. Start with a plain cheese pizza, then graduate to The Works, one topped with Italian sausage, Soppressata, mushrooms, garlic, onions, peppers and olives.

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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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