The Rooster rules 

Everything is homemade at Alma eatery.


We went to the Red Rooster restaurant up in Alma because 1) we love the name and 2) a friend told us it changed her life. Namely, her life of pie.

The Rooster can be found in a one-story metal building next to McDonald's in Alma, just off the interstate. It is unprepossessing in architectural terms; one big room decorated in, what else, rooster art. Its most dramatic aspect is the wall behind the cash register, on which hundreds of diners have signed their names.

But you don't go to the Rooster for the scene or to be seen with the swells, though it's likely that's where they're eating. No, you go there for great home cooking and great pie.

Like Nana's Apple Pie, Aunt Fran's Pecan Cream Cheese, Aunt Freddy's Cherry, Cousin Gay's Chocolate, Mamaw Mattox's Japanese Fruit Pie and so forth — made from recipes contributed by the real-life relatives of owner Nicole Palmer.

“I thought, when I opened up the Rooster, it would be a nice tribute to all of the women in my family,” Palmer said, to match pie to pie-maker. It was Jan Owens, Palmer's mother and the owner of the Kettle Smokehouse in Van Buren for 25 years, who gathered up the pie recipes.

So let's start our meal with pie. There were 16 offerings on the two wall-sized chalkboards the day we dropped in, varieties ranging from the familiar to the aforementioned Japanese Fruit Pie, which includes raisins, coconut and pecans.

We chose the straight-up pecan pie, and it was the best pecan pie we have ever been privileged to consume, revelatory in fact: It came with whipped cream, and not ice cream, and because of that it stayed warm and melt-in-the mouth to the last bite. We love pie a la mode, but ice cream will, by virtue of chill, make those final bites of a pecan pie hard and less flavorful than the first. It was real whipped cream on top, too. This may be blasphemy, but there it is.

The pie was our second detour from our normal foodway; ordering barbecued brisket was our first. We're a pork person, but on the recommendation of our young waiter, we went for the brisket on Rooster bread, and we're glad we did. The Rooster's roots in the Smokehouse show here: the brisket is slow-cooked for about seven hours to tender perfection and served slathered in a slightly sweet sauce.

The army we lunched with made their own march through the menu, choosing the patty melt on rye with grilled onions, the cheeseburger, the frito pie and a grilled turkey special. The patty melt and the burger were outstanding, and that's probably because Palmer gets her beef fresh-ground daily from the local butcher and makes every patty by hand, 80 pounds worth as a rule. She makes baked beans, and she makes the barbecue sauce that goes in the baked beans. The potato salad is homemade. The Rooster even makes its own spicy mustard, and Palmer turns out Rooster buns by the ton.

The lemon in the lemon meringue and the coconut in the coconut cream were fresh from the fruit, no pudding mixes here, friends. What more do you want?

The Rooster is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It will make you crow.


From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Fayetteville, Fenix and art-making on Saturday

    If you're in Fayetteville this weekend, you can drop in on several workshops being held by the Fenix Fayetteville artists' cooperative at the Walker-Stone House, 207 W. Center St. downtown.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • UALR artist Mia Hall is off to Penland: UPDATE

    The Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina has announced the hiring of Mia Hall, of the Department of Art and Design at UA Little Rock, as its new director.
    • Jul 19, 2017
  • ACLU asks court to enjoin antiabortion bills

    Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union asked Judge Kristine Baker to grant an injunction against four laws passed this year by the General Assembly that would: * Make abortion after 15 weeks riskier by outlawing what the medical profession considers the safest procedure, dilation and evacuation; * Require doctors to inform local police when an abortion performed on a teenager age 14-16 absent any indication of abuse and that police create a record of the teenager's abortion and be provided the fetal remains; * Require abortion providers to ask women seeking an abortion if they know the sex of the fetus, and, if they do, obtain all of their previous obstetrical records to determine if they have a "history of aborting fetuses" of a certain sex, as the lawyer for the state said today in court. * Require notification of a woman's partner — or abuser — that she intends to have an abortion, ostensibly so they can agree on the disposition of the remains of the fetus.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • The ballad of Fred and Yoko

    How one of the world's foremost Beatles collectors died homeless on the streets of Little Rock.
    • Mar 31, 2016
  • Big ideas for Arkansas 2015

    Readers and experts suggest ways to change Arkansas for the better.
    • Dec 17, 2015
  • 2016 Best of Arkansas editors' picks

    A few of our favorite things.
    • Jul 28, 2016

Most Shared

  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.
  • Buyer remorse

    Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories.
  • Not Whitewater

    Just think: If Democrats had turned out 78,000 more votes in three states in November, people could be reveling today in the prospect of impeaching and convicting President Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, as some Republican lawmakers had promised to try to do if she won.
  • Head-shaking

    Another edition of so-much-bad-news-so-little space.

Latest in Cover Stories

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments


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