Small town Arkansas loves their local joints, and one we're eager to get to is The Tamale Factory in the tiny hamlet of Gregory, a few miles east of Searcy. We've heard really good things about their steaks and tamales since they opened in early November, and owner George Eldridge said they're swarmed on Friday and Saturday nights to the point where they're now requiring reservations of groups of six or more.
The restaurant, which has a private club permit for drinks, is situated in a barn on Eldridge's farm, and gets its name because that's where he makes the tamales served in the Little Rock outlet of Does Eat Place. The menu — as seen on their Facebook page — looks fairly bare-bones, almost identical to the menu at Doe's in Little Rock, which Eldridge also owns.
Tamales are a big seller at The Tamale Factory, of course, with three and a side of chili going for $4.25. Also interesting are the steaks. They're pricey ($17.50 per pound for the Porterhouse, for example), but you get what you pay for. They've also got cheeseburgers, catfish, fried shrimp, boiled shrimp, and a baked salmon platter.
Eldridge said the place has been packed every night they've been opened, so if you're planning on making a road trip, you might want to call ahead.
The Tamale Factory
19751 Highway 33 South, in Gregory
Hours: Fri.-Sat, 5 p.m to 10 p.m.