Where should we eat in Northwest Arkansas? Restaurant recommendations by local food lovers

Food tour sliderOn our Mamas on Magic radio show this morning, we talked about Northwest Arkansas restaurants that would be great for enjoying next week if you’ll be in town for a stay-cation — or for taking friends/relatives who might be visiting the area for Spring Break.

Heck, you might just find a new restaurant to love! This is a great list.

You could call it A Little Food Tour Across Northwest Arkansas. If you’re looking for Kids Eat Free options at some of these restaurants, click here to see our list. We’re planning to update our list, so please let us know in comments if you’ve noticed any good Kids Eat Free/Cheap options that you’ve noticed around town. We’ll be sure to add them!

The below list (of new restaurants as well as old favorites) was recommended by local girls and guys who happen to love food. We left the comments as is to help you with your choices. Be sure to leave a comment telling us YOUR favorite restaurant/food truck/dessert destination. Let’s help each other out!

penguin ed'sMindy: A family member from WI always takes back Penguin Ed’s Bar-B-Q when she comes to NWA. Bliss Cupcakes is fun for desert! We like Gusano’s Pizza in Bentonville, or Mellow Mushroom in Rogers has some local beers and a chalkboard wall…(these are all kid friendly options, of course, since that’s what we do these days!) Jose’s for a margarita.

Rhonda: The Venesian Inn and Monte Ne Inn Chicken out our go-to’s.

Jerra: Natural State Sandwiches, Crepes Paulette, Yeyo’s Mexican Grill (food truck), Kona Coast Taco truck, KGB Food Truck, Hammontree’s Grilled Cheese, Petra Cafe, Arsaga’s

Note from the mamas: Natural State Sandwiches is one of the food trucks at the “Yacht Club” in Fayetteville. Here’s a recent pic (from the Natural State Facebook page) of the Yacht Club in action. Click here for directions.

Food trucks at the "Yacht Club" in Fayetteville

Food trucks at the “Yacht Club” in Fayetteville

Peter: Hugo’s. Hands down.

Tiffany: Penguin Ed’s!

Vikki: Tusk and Trotter in Bentonville, Bliss Cupcakes in Fayetteville, Mud Street Cafe in Eureka Springs just for fun ( awarded best breakfast for a few years) Have FUN!!!!!

tusk and trotter moscow mule

Tusk and Trotter’s Moscow Mule

Andi: Always Monte Ne Chicken! Marketplace Grill is good for lunch. Loafin’ Joe’s if it gets too cold to go out.

Kaylin: Crepes Paulette in Bentonville!

Crepes Paulette

Crepes Paulette

Note from the mamas: Crepes Paulette, which serves sweet and savory French crepes, now operates from a food truck in Bentonville (near 21c Museum Hotel), but will be opening a bricks and mortar restaurant later this year at the “urban-inspired, experience-focused” apartment complex Thrive. Click here to read more about CP plans.

Allison: Crepes Paulette, Hugo’s Basement, JJs Grill, Hammontrees, Briar Rose Bakery & Deli in Farmington, Stone Mill Bread Company, Common Grounds, Powerhouse Seafood, Herman’s Ribhouse, T.J’s Sandwich Shop in Fayetteville

Angie: Farmer’s Table Cafe, Hugo’s, Hammontree’s, Heirloom Food and Wine

Cammy: Baller Foodtruck.

Note from the mamas: You’ll have to follow this food truck on social media to find out where they’ll be on any given day! Click here to find them on Facebook. 

Baller Foodtruck is often at the food truck community in Fayetteville called Shulertown. Click here to follow them on Facebook and see what’s up.

baller foodtruck, cropped

Baller Foodtruck roams around NWA. But you can often find them in Shulertown.

Dawn: Greenhouse Grille

Meredith: Pesto Cafe, Geraldi’s Italian, Monte Ne Chicken, Venesian Inn

Monte Ne Chicken's blackberry cobbler

Monte Ne Inn Chicken’s blackberry cobbler

Sarah: Sassafras Springs Vineyard

Jody: Ermelio’s in Eureka Springs is fantastic! I also think 28 Springs in Siloam Springs is amazing.

Anna: Any of the James Beard award winning restaurants, Crepes Paulette, 28 Springs Restaurant, RJ team springdaleIndian Cuisine in Springdale, Springdale Taquerias, Tangs Asian Market (excellent pork/fish for take home) and the various unique food trucks across NWA.

Note from the mamas: Team Springdale, which was started by a married couple in Springdale to highlight the area’s good points, is planning a “Taco Tour” in May. Click here to find out more!

Laura: Hugo’s, Herman’s RibhouseThe Farmer’s Table Cafe (that’s where Pharrell went!), Neal’s Cafe in Springdale, Wood Stone Craft Pizza, Pressroom Coffee, Arsagas at the Depot for breakfast or dessert … If you want to do a spendy dinner or two, The Hive at 21c, 28 Springs, Vetro 1925. Lunch at Eleven at Crystal Bridges… I agree about the Springdale taquerias. Little Bread Company on Block Street for yummy pastries and coffee. I’m sure I’m forgetting something important, but Hugo’s is first on purpose!

Farmer's Table, Pharrell

Pharrell visited The Farmer’s Table Cafe in Fayetteville when he was in town

Corinna: Or if you want to give them a romantic Arkansas/Ozark experience, Grandma’s House Cafe in Winslow. It’s on top of the mountain, great views and old style decor. Southern deep fried chicken and pies from a buffet. And then there is War Eagle Mill too.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe, nwaSarah: Hammontree’s Grilled Cheese for sure!

Samantha: I love Tropical Smoothie’s king caesar wrap with a kiwi quencher smoothie!

Laurie: Levi’s Gastrolounge just opened in Rogers and is yummy, Gooseberry Handmade Pies in Bentonville for take-out sweets, Onyx for coffee, taquerias in Springdale and Woodstone Craft Pizza in Fayetteville. Oh, and War Eagle Mill!!!

gooseberry handmade pies

Gooseberry Handmade Pies, strawberry rhubarb

Kara: We just tried Grandma’s Kitchen for the first time a few weeks ago for lunch. AMAZING home cooked food! You can’t beat it for the typical southern comfort food! lol

Ceri: Mum loves the margaritas at Jose’s – they don’t make them like that in New Zealand – love James at the Mill too – about every other place has been covered.

miles jamesNote from the mamas: Ceri also recently shared the info the owner and chef at James at the Mill is opening MJ Pizzeria on June 1 (soft opening May 15). Owner and Chef Miles James (who also owns 28 Springs) said the new restaurant is a “chef-inspired fast casual concept”.

Chef James added: “We’re located in the south end of Macadoodles in Springdale at 838 N 48th street Suite 1. Think wood fired pizzas, homemade pastas, crisp fresh organic salads, homemade meatballs and sausages, 11 craft beers on tap, 16 wines in a cruvinet system for our by the glass selections, craft cocktails, a large patio w live bands, & open kitchen!”

Savoy Tea Co., Pinnacle Promenade

Savoy Tea Co., Pinnacle Promenade

Kristy: Crepes Paulette, Briar Rose, Petra Cafe , Vetro 1925 in Fayetteville, Tusk and Trotter, and Savoy Tea Company.

Note from the mamas: Briar Rose Bakery & Deli in Farmington is absolutely adorable and worth visiting. They serve breakfast, brunch and lunch. They offer a good selection of pastries, various treats and bread as well. They serve dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, but be sure to check out their Facebook page for specific times. Closed on Mondays.

briar rose bakery

Briar Rose Bakery & Deli in Farmington

Rebecca: The Green Submarine is one of my favorites.

Melissa: Tusk and Trotter, no doubt. In Fayetteville, for someplace unique, Hammontrees

Jacqueline: Le Stick Nouveau, Aquarius Taqueria, FRESH Farm to Table Fresh, Grand Taverne Restaurant & Lounge and Gaskins Cabin Steakhouse – just to name a few in Eureka Springs.

Evie: Hugo’s (Blue Moon Burger) and Pesto Cafe.

Hugos8

A Fayetteville favorite, Hugo’s

freddy's

Note from the mamas: This Freddy’s is “coming soon” to Wedington in Fayetteville. Updated 4/13

Got anything to add? Post a comment with your favorite Kids Eat Free suggestion or to tell us about your favorite restaurant in Northwest Arkansas!

Mealtime Mama: Cranberry Relish

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We love finding new ideas for dinner (and great, natural products) on the Ozark Natural Foods website.

Below is a recipe for cranberry relish that would be beautiful on a holiday table.

Cranberry Relish

onf recipes2 cups fresh cranberries
2 granny smith apples, cored
1 large orange, peeled
1-1&1/2 cups turbinado sugar

Directions: Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, then blend together in a food processor. Use the lighter settings so it doesn’t look like mush but more of a coarse blend, chill and serve. Add more or less sugar depending on your taste preferences (I prefer tart flavors over sweet so I use less sugar). You can also substitute the sugar with dates or try adding other fruits like mangoes, pomegranate seeds, or even pineapple.

Recipe from Pauline Thiessen, Produce Manager

If you’d like to see more ONF healthy cooking recipes, click here. If you’re thinking about holiday gifts, they have gift cards available for purchase on the website. Click here to buy a gift card for the person who’s really hard to buy for, but loves all things fresh, natural and organic! They can also use the gift cards for lattes and lunch in the cafe :)

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Mealtime Mama: Great food ideas for a “nautical” baby shower or birthday party

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By Shannon Magsam, nwaMotherlode

I had so much fun recently hosting a “nautical” baby shower for my neighbor, Jenn.

Jenn and Brian are decorating the baby’s room in a sea-worthy theme, so it was only fitting.

I thought you might enjoy seeing a few pics in case you want to throw a party this summer with the ocean as your inspiration. It would make a fun birthday party as well, with a few modifications.

First, we start with our beautiful mama-to-be, Jenn, and the adorable wooden sign I bought from Riffraff for the baby’s room (it was on the food table surrounded by sea shells):

baby shower, jenny

The biggest hit on the food table was the fruited chicken salad in croissants. These weren’t just any croissants, though. These were special “crabby” croissants:

baby shower, crabs

Cute, huh?

Click here to see the fruited chicken salad recipe. I cut down on the raisins, added pear, and left out the onions and celery.

How-to: To make the crab’s eyes, I just used mini marshmallows and sliced black olives. The juice from the olives was sufficient to make them stick to the sugary marshmallows, so I didn’t have to use anything to “glue” them together. I then just inserted a toothpick for the final touch.

Following the nautical theme, I was also PINspired to add an octopus to the spinach dip. Like him?

baby shower, dip

Click here to read more about how to make your own bell pepper octopus.

I also served some delicious treats that our other awesome neighbors brought (thanks Sandra, Christie and Carolyn!) plus multi-colored goldfish crackers, blue cupcakes covered with cream cheese icing and “sand” sprinkles and brownies (not nautical-related. Moms and mamas-to-be just need chocolate).

My Aunt Joyce’s special occasion punch was served to wash it all down. This punch has been served as all the baby showers, wedding showers and birthday parties in our family forever. Click here to see the fruit punch recipe.

Hope you enjoyed seeing a few shots from the shower. Good luck hosting your own By the Sea Party!

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Mealtime Mama: Snowman pancakes!

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During our snowcation last week we made some fun snowman pancakes.

Isn’t this guy cute?

snowman pancakes in frame

We got a little carried away with the whipped cream, but he turned out pretty OK — and delicious, too!

Snowman Pancakes

Pancake mix (or your favorite homemade recipe like this one)

Whipped cream in a can

Dots candy

Mini marshmallows

Mini Oreos

Bacon strips

Directions: Choose your favorite pancake recipe and make three round pancakes of differing sizes. Stack the snowman and get creative! Sprinkle powdered sugar or mini marshmallows at the bottom of the snowman.

You see what we did here, but you could also:

  • Use Hershey’s syrup for hat, face and arms.
  • Or use candies like licorice.
  • How about chocolate chips or blueberries for the face and buttons?
  • And this would be super cute: use two strips of bacon for the scarf!

We’d love to see your snowman pancakes! Comment below or email them to mamas{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com

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Mealtime Mama: Recipes from nwaMotherlode readers!

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When we ran the Big Chill giveaway, we asked nwaMotherlode readers to share their favorite recipes for an extra chance to win the refrigerator from Metro Appliances & More.

We got lots of delicious sounding recipes and we wanted to share some of them with you over the next few months.

This broccoli salad recipe is from Northwest Arkansas mama Denise Richards. It would make a great side dish for the holidays:

Broccoli Salad

broc2 – 4 bunches broccoli, cut into small pieces

1 purple onion, chopped (I usually leave this out unless I know the onion is sweet)

1 or 2 cups Kraft sharp cheddar cheese

1 or 2 bags Oscar Mayer real bacon bits

1 bag dried cranberries

1 package slivered almonds

Mix together in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Dressing:

16 oz jar light mayonnaise

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup sugar

(Or take the easy way out and just use a bottle of Kraft coleslaw dressing.) 

Denise says: Wait to pour dressing over salad until right before serving.  Or, leave the salad dry (as leftovers will keep much longer) and let each person add dressing to suit. 

Ozark-Logo1-300x214If you need ideas for additional sides or the whole ONF’s new deli, A la Carte, offers lots of options (and catering!). Just FYI, Ozark Natural Foods has a full service coffee bar and offers custom coffees blended by Onyx Coffee Lab. They have all sorts of muffins and scones that go great with the coffee. In addition to the delicious breakfast options, A la Carte has a hot bar and a salad bar. They also offer plated salads and made-to-order sandwiches. Normal A la Carte hours are Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.