Arkansas, like most Southern states, has a fondness for the handheld simplicity of the fried pie. The portable dessert can be found next to cash registers at convenience stores and in diners and in the fanciest restaurants in the state. Five of our favorites:
Old Fashioned Chocolate
Batten's Bakery. Unlike any fried pie still found in the state, this one uses a combination of cocoa, butter and sugar as a filling rather than the modern custard. Irresistible and addictive. 230 E. Kingshighway, Paragould. 870-236-7810. 5:30 a.m.-noon Mon., 5:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 5 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat.
Capital Bar & Grill. We've tried so many fried pies at CBG, but this seasonal version is our favorite and only available in May and June. We've loved the peach and the blackberry, and the current apple version is divine. 111 West Markham St., Little Rock. 374-7474. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. seven days.
Hurley House Cafe. This waystation along Hwy. 70 folds fruit in flour dough to make these delicate creations, ranging from peach to pear to pecan. This tart variety is the best. 1303 Hwy. 70 W., Hazen. 870-255-4679. 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri., 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat., 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun.
Lindsey's Hospitality House. A great barbecue joint with great fried pies that require two hands. You can also pick them up at Argenta Market. 207 Curtis Sykes Drive, North Little Rock. 374-5707. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Mon. Tue.-Thu. and Sat, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri.
Stonebrook Fudge Factory. Better known for dozens of flavors of fudge, this place makes fruit pies from fresh ingredients or what they canned and put up themselves. Have some fresh-squeezed lemonade while you're at it. 101 E. Main, Mountain Home. 501-269-5955. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 1-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat. Sun.
Yep, those are seven good reasons. I must admit that I actually voted for Rutledge…