Arkansas is known more for our donuts when it comes to hole-in-the-middle breads and pastries (big shout-out, Spudnuts in El Dorado!), but that doesn't mean Central Arkansas is a bagel desert. One place where devotees can get their doughy/chewy fix is at Maumelle's Morningside Bagels. There, they serve up that most New Yawk of foods the old-fashioned way, making their own dough in-house, boiling them first (as any bagel fan knows is the right way), then baking to perfection. You can get them in several flavors and toppings, sliced, toasted, with lox or cream cheese, or whatever — and all very cheap. Definitely a treat, not to mention a nearly unique offering in Central Arkansas.
We don't know the story behind the old junkyard on the oh-so-spiffy main drag of Maumelle, but we'd love to hear it. If you've driven down Maumelle Boulevard, maybe you've seen it: a huge expanse of 1950s and '60's American iron — buses, panel trucks, sedans, coupes, maybe even a sports car or two — quietly rusting in peace in a grove of trees. The lot is for sale now, and something tells us that if the economy wasn't so in the toilet, somebody would have long since brought in the crushers and made tin cans out of all those shapely old birds. For now, though, slow down a bit and look for it. It's a blast from the past, and one of the most interesting things to see in Maumelle if you love old cars.
While it isn't hard to find a link in some restaurant chain in Maumelle, finding something that's actually good for lunch is a bit harder. If you're into diner-style food, it pays to go looking a bit for Kierre's Country Kitchen, which is tucked back off Maumelle Boulevard at 6 Collins Industrial Place in a nondescript and pretty much windowless metal building across the street from a concrete plant. While the outside is nothing to write home about, a parking lot full of workingmen's trucks at lunchtime should tell you something about the grub inside: sweet tea, homemade desserts, burgers, sandwiches (including fried bologna!), daily plate lunches, loaded footlongs, and other big, hearty, stick-to-your-ribs fare. It's a greasy little star in the Maumelle culinary firmament.
Maumelle has grown up around Cock of the Walk, once a destination surrounded by woods and the sound of spring peepers in the pond and now plumb in the middle of the business district. No matter; the fried chicken, hush puppies, cornbread tossed by your waiter, and greens are still as tasty and the ambiance still all comfortable checked-tablecloth-family-noisy.