Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Still delicious after all these years at Ed & Kay's

Posted By on Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 1:30 PM

image

We catch grief from time to time on Eat Arkansas for our love of diner food, and I'm willing to admit that I eat and write about diners often enough to wonder if I might need to find some sort of 12-step program related to this addiction. Diners tend to have most of the things I look for in a meal experience, though: they're cheap, usually locally-owned, and normally possessed of a friendly and familiar nature that comes from years and years serving the the same clientele. One of Central Arkansas' best examples of this kind of diner is Ed & Kay's, a family-owned diner that's been serving up hot food and made-from-scratch pies for decades. I've always been amazed that folks will drive right past the home-cooked deliciousness of a place like Ed & Kay's to places like Cracker Barrel and Dixie Cafe that slop a veneer of faux-nostalgia over inferior food and shoddy service. At Ed & Kay's, there's nothing fake about the food or the atmosphere, with pancakes as big as a dinner plate and lighter than air, fresh grown vegetables from the garden plot next door, and pies that they don't call "mile high" for nothing.

Our favorite of those skyscraper pies is the Coconut Cream, although they're all pretty good. The coconut filling of this pie is rich and creamy, with a consistency that walks the line perfectly between being firm enough to stay on a fork without being dry and rubbery. The meringue is a real joy with this pie, because despite the large quantity piled on top, it's whipped so light and airy that there's never any danger of it overpowering the flavor of the pie itself, and the toasted coconut on top adds a nutty, chewy element to the pie that makes for a nice contrast of textures. Holding everything together is the sort of tender, flaky crust that gives just the right hit of buttery savoriness to the entire pie to pull everything together nicely.

Of course, not everybody is a fan of meringue, and while I think that makes you a little crazy, Ed & Kay's has plenty of pies to satisfy your taste. Chocolate fans shouldn't miss the German Chocolate Pie, a chocolate custard pie with a rich, deep flavor and a crunchy top that reminded me of a cross between homemade fudge and a fresh-baked brownie. And of course, the classic Apple Pie is a wonderful choice, because not only is the filling of tender apples heavy with the flavor of cinnamon and all-spice, but the whole thing is enclosed in more of that flaky, buttery crust. The pies at Ed & Kay's rotate periodically, so if there's something you want to try that isn't available on a certain day — well, that's just all the more reason to come back.

image

There's more to Ed & Kay's than pie, though, with a menu full of sandwiches, burgers, and a wide selection of classic dinner combinations. Not to be missed is the Roast Beef, an ample portion of thin-sliced beef covered with brown gravy. The beef is tender and flavorful, with a nice chewy texture that's complemented perfectly by the gravy. I ordered this plate with a side of creamed potatoes and purple hull peas, but there's a wide selection of side items to choose from at Ed & Kay's, and they're always nice enough to mark which items they're able to provide fresh from their garden in-season. If there's one small complaint I have, it's that the purple hulls could have used a touch more seasoning to them, but it wasn't anything that a visit from the salt shaker and a bottle of pepper sauce didn't make right in a hurry. The potatoes were nice and creamy, and while I don't mind a lump or two in mine, I know that lumpy potatoes are a deal-breaker for a lot of folks — but fear not, lump-haters, Ed & Kay's has you covered with snowy piles of entirely smooth creamed spuds. Add a couple of the diner's excellent yeast rolls to the equation, and this roast beef dinner is as good as any I've ever eaten.

image

No visit to a diner would be complete without sampling their take on the South's favorite dish: fried catfish. Ed & Kay's periodically runs their catfish as a dinner special, and I highly recommend taking advantage of it every time they do. The special comes with four huge pieces of corn-meal battered fish and your choice of sides. We decided to go with the fresh potato salad along with our peas, and were treated to a hearty mix of fresh potatoes, onions, pickles, and a light dressing that held everything together well without being gloppy. The fish itself was flaky and good, with a light, clean taste and a crunchy batter that came to us steaming hot straight from the fryer. Once again, the endless supply of yeast rolls were a plus, and while I was a bit disappointed that there was only margarine on the table, I understand that the fake stuff is still king in a lot of parts of the South.

When it comes down to it, Ed & Kay's is one of Central Arkansas' most talked-about diners because it's one of the best year after year. The service is friendly, and no matter if you're a regular customer or a tired traveler headed down I-30, you're guaranteed that the folks at the diner will greet you with a smile and an invitation to stay awhile and have a hot meal and some pie. It's the sort of place that is often imitated but rarely ever duplicated, and if it's been awhile since you stopped in — well, that's a mistake you might need to correct.

Ed & Kay's is located at 15228 Interstate 30 N on the south end of Benton. They're open Wednesday-Saturday 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Sundays 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Michael Roberts

  • Little Rock Margarita Festival is coming May 4

    Cinco de Mayo. The holiday in which tequila is consumed in the United States in honor of a Mexican holiday that is not as widely celebrated in Mexico.
    • Mar 10, 2017
  • Arkansas Times Recommends: Indian Grocers, nerdcore documentaries, "Pepe the Frog" explainers, Anne Carson and more

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.
    • Oct 21, 2016
  • Arkansas Times Recommends: The Think Edition

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week. In anticipation of Arkansas Times' Festival of Ideas this Saturday at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, we recommend things that make us think.
    • Sep 23, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • A sneak preview of Fourquarter Bar in Argenta

    A look at Fourquarter Bar in Argenta, brought to you by the folks behind Midtown Billiards. Beer, barbecue and killer cocktails abound!
    • Feb 23, 2016
  • Coming Monday: Little Rock Black Restaurant Week

    MoTown Monday is Ceci's Chicken and Waffles. Tasty Tuesday is Sims BBQ and Brewster's Soul Food Cafe. Wing Wednesday is Chicken King and Chicken Wangs. Soul Food Thursday is Lindsey's BBQ and Hospitality House and Food Truck Festival Friday is @station801. It's the first Black Restaurant Week.
    • Mar 8, 2017

Most Shared

  • Obamascare

    Republicans at long last may be about to see their most fervent wishes and wildest predictions materialize — millions of people losing their medical and hospital coverage, unaffordable insurance, lost jobs, a Medicare financial crisis, mushrooming federal budget deficits and fiscal crises across state governments.
  • Megyn vs. Alex

    As vigorously hyped broadcast events go, Megyn Kelly's televised confrontation with internet conspiracy cultist Alex Jones proved something of a dud.
  • Monkey wrenches

    Junior is 17 now, and shows no interest in driving, or even taking the driving test. It's got his Old Man a little concerned, and not just because we're running a car service for one these days.

Blogroll

 

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