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  • Laurie B.

    Just finished the Italian Sausage Burger. The patty is made by hand using organic pork and beef sausage and herbs. (I know because I asked the chef). No details about the locally sourced ingredients. Evidently that is proprietary. It was incredible! Oh my gosh! It was topped by a slab of mozzarella and fresh basil, and a side of home made marinara sauce. I was moaning while eating. The fact that I was sitting in a historic building in a darling historic town on the Little Buffalo river was completely forgotten because the food was so good. I had intended to eat only half of the huge burger but before I knew it the plate was empty.

    (4)
  • Ben S.

    This cafe is owned by the same folks who own the B&B of the same name, but the restaurant portion deserves its own separate listing, as most folks who dine here are NOT guests of the nearby B&B. For many, many years, this historic mill on the banks of the Little Buffalo River was occupied by a greasy spoon diner that I had a great affection for. The new owners have revamped the place since my last visit, and while I certainly miss the nostalgic diner, the new restaurant is headed in the right direction. The owners have a commitment to organic, local ingredients. Proteins on the menu include wild-trapped razorback hog, and elk and beef raised right in Newton County. The menu also references wild-caught local crawfish, a claim I am potently dubious of, particularly after tasting it. (It's frozen crawfish tails, bet my life on it.) There are fewer bigger advocates of local sourcing than me. And, as a chef who operates a restaurant that attempts to source the majority of its menu locally, I know exactly how exhausting and expensive that can be. So don't be surprised when you see some menu items in the $20-$40 range. (Though you CAN eat here for $10.) However, when you are dealing with such precious ingredients, it's crucial that they're also being prepared properly. Everything we ordered at the restaurant was under-seasoned. (Easily fixed with a salt shaker...I'd rather my food arrive under-seasoned than over-seasoned.) My wild razorback hog burger arrived cooked medium rare...a temperature I'd definitely insist on if I was ordering BEEF, and I trusted that the restaurant ground their meat on site under exacting conditions. My companion's elk meatloaf was also drastically underseasoned and more than a bit dry...but considering the leanness of elk and the restaurant's seeming commitment to healthy cooking, I understood. The "wild caught" crawfish etouffe was, again, devoid of any seasoning and obviously made with frozen crawfish tails, but it hit the spot after a long day on the trails after we seasoned it up a bit. Like everywhere in Jasper, the service is on Ozark time, so don't come expecting big-city service. The owner will probably take your order. (He looked VERY perplexed when we asked if we could sit outside at the lovely tables on the patio, and asked us to carry our food out there once it arrived.) Despite the negative tone that may have pervaded this review, perhaps I'm judging Arkansas House by big city restaurant standards. After all, you don't expect to run into a locavore restaurant in a town of 500 people, so it has no peers to compare it to. Suffice it to say that I'll dine here EVERY time I'm in Jasper, and I firmly support restaurateurs who are devoted to sourcing locally. (But let's make sure we're being completely and totally honest on the menu, as to which items are genuinely sourced locally and fresh, and which are not!) I doubt the locals indulge at this place due to the prices and the level of cuisine, but it's important for travelers to support businesses like this, because they are the businesses that will save our local farms and economies. We might just push them a bit to send their chef to culinary boot camp so that he's not so reserved with the salt!

    (4)

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Arkansas House

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