Favorite

1975 - The Times goes to dinner 

We can't believe we ate the whole thing.

There was a day and age when people in Arkansas didn't look to their newspaper for guidance in where to get their vittles. Papers were for reporting the facts, bucko, not opinions… except on the Editorial Page, of course, and then the opinions were about important things like politics and elections and millages, not where to stuff your cake hole. Then came the restaurant review. It's a simple formula, really. Go and eat on the company dime (reporters, a peasantly lot, love this part), come back and tell readers what you had, what it cost, what the food and experience were like. Though those "first" words - original, earliest, pioneering - are probably best avoided in a world with nothing new under the sun, we're pretty proud around here of the fact that the first regularly-appearing restaurant reviews in Little Rock - maybe even in Arkansas - were started by us. We were still called the Union Station Times back then. Marilynn Neel's two-issue-old "Dinner on the Ground" food column had previously talked about the particulars of frying up beef hearts (say that three times fast for a giggle) and how not to get yourself kilt while hunting/gathering wild mushrooms. Then, on Jan. 16, 1975, Neel's column launched into the particulars of a visit to the Club Cafe in Hot Springs - menu, times, location, opinions about their food - and Arkansas was introduced to a new art form. Located on Central Avenue, the Club Cafe was a 30-year-old local favorite back then, particularly famous for its pie and plate lunches. "For $1.50," Neel wrote, "you get a choice of several meats - like roast pork, fried chicken, fish fillets - plus three vegetables and lots of homemade cornsticks or biscuits with honey." Pies were offered in 17 varieties, at 35 cents a slice. Whole pies came not in a flimsy pan, but an honest-to-God baking pan with a label on the bottom that said "Please Return to the Club Café." Ah, the good old days. Five issues later, the "Dinner on the Ground" column was renamed "Offbeat Dining" and the business of opinionated eating in Little Rock was off and running. Sadly, a call to the Hot Springs Convention and Visitor's bureau reveals that the Club Café has been out of business for "15 or 20 years." We're still here, though, and still stuffing our faces for the greater good.
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by David Koon

Readers also liked…

  • The ballad of Fred and Yoko

    How one of the world's foremost Beatles collectors died homeless on the streets of Little Rock.
    • Mar 31, 2016
  • Separate and unequal

    Sue Cowan Morris won the battle to equalize pay of black and white teachers. It cost her her job.
    • Jun 11, 2015
  • LR Confidential 2015

    In exchange for anonymity, local workers get real with the Arkansas Times about what they see and do on the job.
    • Jun 25, 2015

Most Shared

Latest in Cover Stories

  • Plant of the year

    The legalization of medical marijuana was Arkansas's most significant news of 2016.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • Profile of a plant

    What science does and doesn't tell us about the health benefits of cannabis.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • Other lights

    Honorable mentions for 2016 Arkansan of the Year, with plenty of solid contenders for the crown.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation