Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
It says “gyros” on the door, on the sign outside, even on the trailer out back. But Conway sandwich shop Blackwood's Gyros and Grill has far more to offer than Greek fare.
We've dropped in a few times recently. Our first visit came on a late, lazy afternoon where we shared the restaurant with just two other diners. Service was quick, and we drew a rather knowledgeable waitress who had plenty of suggestions for us.
Our party chose a couple of sandwiches and shared a side of a spicy Feta dip ($1.95) that was served up with celery sticks. The dip was also a good match for the potato chips, a spicy mix of Cajun seasoning and Feta cheese that's also available as a sandwich spread for one of the restaurant's dozens of bread-wrapped options.
Our dining companion chose the signature Blackwood sandwich ($5.45), an improved Reuben with corned beef on rye along with Swiss cheese, grilled onions and tomatoes, and a specialty sauce. There is also a proper Reuben on the menu.
We also tried the Louisiana Rex ($7.29), a hunk of chicken breast cooked in Cajun spices and served up on a French bread roll with shredded cheddar cheese and tomatoes with a hefty dash of mayo. Though spicy, it wasn't as hot as we had thought such a creation would be. Tasty, though.
We did find the spice we were looking for on our next visit (which happened to coincide with crowds of folks gathering in the restaurant and in a parking lot next door for a Kris Allen watch party) in the Roy Allen ($6.49), an Italian sausage link sauteed up with peppers and onions in marinara sauce and topped with marinara on a French sourdough roll. The sandwich was so spicy it not only brought tears to our companion's eyes, it made him break into a sweat.
We decided to be adventurous with our own dining experience, and talked ourselves into ordering the Giant Jerry Double D Burger ($10), but our waitress, surprised that diners of such delicate and petite demeanor might ever choose to consume such a monstrosity, put us in for a Giant Jerry D Burger ($6.89), which in itself is still a rather large burger. At first, not knowing that we had received the smaller offering, we thought perhaps the 12-ounce burger served on a French roll was big but not worthy of legendary status. On realizing the mistake, the cook whipped up the originally ordered specialty, and out came 24 ounces of “kitchen sink” topped beef, that is, with condiments and two heaping servings of cheese. We divided and conquered (mashed down a half between soon-to-be condiment soaked napkins) and were delighted by the generous proportions.
The onion rings we had upgraded to (chips come with all sandwiches, French fries are 75 cents extra and onion rings will run you $1.40 with your sandwich) were of better than average quality, with an excellent beer-type batter without the greasiness.
Blackwood's Gyros and Grill
803 Harkrider, Ste. 12
We sampled the desserts on successive visits. The tastiest offering is, without a doubt, the Fried Ice Cream ($3.50) — a deep fried pita topped with a cornflake-dipped and deep-fried ball of vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce and strawberries. But for sheer size and share-ability, go for the Choc-Oliver Delight ($3.50), a better than 6-by-6-inch hunk of moist chocolate cake topped with chocolate sauce and Cool Whip (not frosting) and Skor candy bar crumbles. Two of us could not defeat it.
10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, closed Sunday.
Credit cards accepted. No alcohol.
Sorry, but I don't see how a return visit is going to make those soft…