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Have a hankering for fresh, hot cornbread? Whether your preference is for traditional Arkansas unsweetened cornbread or the more Northern-friendly sweet version, or even if you're looking for jalapeno bread or johnnycakes, we have the best baker's dozen places in the state to get your cornbread fix.
Ashley's. Sweet. Pastry chef Tandra Watkins creates a sweet cracklin' cornbread that goes perfectly with peas, greens or beans on any particular day. It's made from War Eagle Mill grain and it's delightful. Markham and Louisiana inside the Capital Hotel. 501-374-7474. www.capitalhotel.com/ashleyswebsite. 7 a.m.-11 p.m daily.
Bean Palace. Traditional and non-traditional Italian. How fresh is your cornbread? You probably haven't had it any fresher than what you can find at this restaurant, on the third floor of War Eagle Mill. Grain is grist-milled downstairs and brought up to be cooked up for lunch. Barely sweet, the traditional is great for sandwiches; if they've cooked up the Italian version instead treat yourself to that; it's perfect for the Hickory Smoked Ham Sandwich. Inside War Eagle Mill (near Rogers). 479-789-5343. www.wareaglemill.com. 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.
Bobby's Country Cookin'. Sweet. The lines start forming around 11 a.m. each day for folks hoping to get their meat-and-two-veg on over at the Shackleford cafeteria. The corn muffins are sweet and crumbly. Have yours with some Great Northern Beans, some sweet tea and, if you're lucky, some fried chicken. 301 N. Shackleford Road. 501-224-9900. www.bobbyscountrycookin.com. 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri.
Brown's Country Store and Restaurant. Sweet. For 39 years the Benton landmark has been serving up a buffet featuring catfish, ribs, Southern cooking and fluffy sweet cornbread. Goes well with a little margarine, or if you're feeding a sweet tooth try some honey on the table. Exit 118 on I-30 (Benton). 501-778-5033. www.brownscountryrestaurant. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.
Cock of the Walk. Non-traditional. It would be enough for Cock of the Walk's cornbread to be the moist, somewhat cake-like jalapeno-tinged cornbread that it is; when it's served up by a waitress who flips it in the skillet, that's even better. 7103 Cock of the Walk Drive, North Little Rock. 501-758-7182. www.cockofthewalk.biz. 5-9 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 5-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.
Cotham's Mercantile. Johnnycakes. If you've only ever tried the burger at Cotham's, you've missed out on the full experience. Cotham's serves up its cornbread selection like unsweetened flapjacks with margarine; they're nicely crusty on the outside and crumbly in the middle. Get you a mess of collard greens with that. The original is at 5301 Hwy. 161, Scott. 501-961-9284. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. The city version: 1401 W. Third, Little Rock. 501-370-9177. www.cothamsinthecity.com. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri.
Eunice's Country Cookin'. Sweet. Eunice's serves up fabulous home-style beef over rice and chicken 'n' dumplings, both of which are improved by the application of the restaurant's sweet white cake-like cornbread. You can even order a pan to take home with you. 3325 S. 74th, Fort Smith. 479-484-1465. 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.
Franke's Cafeteria. Skillet traditional. Here's a true Arkansas favorite: that great, crumbly skillet-fried cornbread from one the state's oldest continually operating restaurant. It's still soaking up all the butter next to your scalloped eggplant after all these years. Franke's is now doing gluten-free jalapeno cornbread muffins, too. 11121 N. Rodney Parham, 501-225-4487, 10:45 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. 400 Broadway, Regions Center Building. 501-372-1919. www.frankescafeteria.com. 10:45 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri.
Fred's Country Cooking. Traditional. A welcome haven for travelers in the western part of the state, this log cabin restaurant south of Waldron serves up fantastic catfish and burgers as well as some of the best traditional yellow cake cornbread you'll find in the state. 16538 Highway 71, Boles. 479-577-2676. 6 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun.
Grandma's Beans and Cornbread. Traditional. Can you build a business on nothing but beans and cornbread? Yes you can. Though this little Eureka Springs shop has changed hands numerous times, it's still serving up barely sweet cornbread alongside that nearly famous pot of pinto and Great Northern beans. The combination is one of the cheapest and most filling dinners you'll get in town. 200 Village Circle, Eureka Springs. 479-253-6561. www.grandmasbeansandcornbread.com. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Sat.
Homer's. Traditional and non-traditional. This is sopping cornbread, the sort you want when you have a plate of candied yams and turnip greens. Homer's serves up meat-and-three plates with your choice of a roll (also good), the traditional unsweet Arkansas cornbread or a non-traditional variation with jalapenos. Cornmeal never meets sugar here, not even in the hush puppies. 2001 E. Roosevelt. 501-374-1400. 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri.
Mama Max's. Traditional. Beautiful, golden yellow and buttery, Mama Max's thick cornbread is moist but crumbly and perfect with some lima beans or purple hull peas. 1102 W. Main Street, Prescott. 870-887-5005. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun.
Shannon's Restaurant. Sweet. Better known for doing breakfast any hour of the day, Shannon's also serves up great plate lunches, almost always with a choice of roll or cornbread (except on Fridays, when it's hush puppies). The sweetish cornbread is meant for sopping up bean juice and is great with turnip greens. 5511 Dollarway Road, Pine Bluff. 870-267-0000. 24 hours daily.