Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas!

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jlwarren
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2003/06/10 12:02:57 (permalink)

Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas!

I recently ate at the River Grille (1003 McClain Rd.) in Bentonville. I was thrilled to find a good restaurant in this town. The atmosphere was nice, subdued lighting and jazz. The menu was quite pricey for such a small town. The price that really got my attention was $3.95 for a baked potatoe! Not being too hungry and a little food weary, I ordered the crab cakes, the River Grille House Salad and that darned potatoe. Give the crab cakes a miss, very floury. The salad was great, a nice wedge of lettuce with cherry tomatoes and red onion with good blue cheese. The potatoe was good, and came with the toppings on the side as requested. When I got the bill, much to my surprise, the potatoe had turned in to a $5.45 potatoe! When I asked the food server, she explained that toppings are extra! And this was not posted in the menu. In all my years of traveling the world and eating out, I have never seen this. It is not the money, it is the point. Diners beware, is this a new trend??
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    kland01s
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 12:27:23 (permalink)
    I have seen prices that outrageous but I have seen them clearly posted. My gosh, what was the cost of their entrees? Was the place busy?
    #2
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 12:29:41 (permalink)
    jlwarren, I'm sending a copy of your posting to friends in the Bentonville, AR, area to inquire as to what they know of the River Grille or of its reputation, to ask if they know of this topping ripoff being a practice at other reastaurants in that area, and to warn them of the River Grille if they are unfamiliar with it. I've never heard them mention it. Will let you know of anything I learn from these locals.
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    jlwarren
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 12:31:25 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by kland01s

    I have seen prices that outrageous but I have seen them clearly posted. My gosh, what was the cost of their entrees? Was the place busy?

    The price of the potatoe was quoted, but not the fact that the toppings were extra. Steaks ran about $25.00 on average, seafood $15-$25, appetizers $9-$13. All sides were extra. The place was not busy at all. They did offer to refund the extra charge and told me that the owner was even thinking of charging extra for blue cheese dressing!
    #4
    jlwarren
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 12:43:35 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Liketoeat

    jlwarren, I'm sending a copy of your posting to friends in the Bentonville, AR, area to inquire as to what they know of the River Grille or of its reputation, to ask if they know of this topping ripoff being a practice at other reastaurants in that area, and to warn them of the River Grille if they are unfamiliar with it. I've never heard them mention it. Will let you know of anything I learn from these locals.

    Thanks- I actually wrote letters to the various food magazines about this. I think the restaurant is fairly new. As you probably know, this is the home of Walmart and Tyson Chicken, so it has really grown recently, which probably explains why this restaurant thinks they can charge these prices in this area.
    #5
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 13:59:45 (permalink)
    JLWarren, I'll let you know of any responses I receive from Gary or Terry re River Grille, though may be a day or two. Just thought I'd mention a couple of other places in Arkansas. If you ever get down to southeast Arkansas area, I highly recommend Layne's Steak House in The Village just south of Star City. I posted a lengthy report on The Village and Layne's as "Southest Arkanas Recommendations" or some such title in the "Where To Eat" Forum a bit earlier. I'd also advise that though I've forever heard Coy's Steak House in Hot Springs praised as one of the, if not the, premier steak house in the state, my only dining experience there was the worst I've ever had anywhere in my entire life; horrible, terrible food and service, vastly overpriced for what we received that evening (any price would have been overpriced for that dining horror). I thought maybe I was crazy or something until finally recently discovering one other person who had had the exact same horrible experiences we did that one time at Coy's. Oh, don't know why I didn't think to mention this, but have you ever tried James at the Mill at Johnson, AR, just down the road from you in Bentonville, just off the Interstate a bit north of Fayetteville? Wonderful, superb, unique in food, food presentation, service, decor, ambiance, setting, just everything. I can't praise it highly enough. Its dinners are priced rather in that category of needing to stop by the bank to float a loan before going there, but its lunches are extremely reasonably priced. Do try it if you haven't done so.
    #6
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 14:13:16 (permalink)
    JLWarren, I just commented concerning rather expensive dinner prices at James at the Mill, but looking again at the prices you quoted for Riverside Grille, James' dinner prices are not that outlandish in comparison, certainly when considering the totality of the great dining experience at James. Still its lunches are THE bargain. Guess all is still that way. Very unfortunately I've not gotten there in a couple of years but surely hope to be back this summer.
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    Alirush
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 15:14:18 (permalink)
    Lunch at James at the Mill is the best-kept secret in Northeast Arkansas. The bread basket alone is worth the trip, but make sure you save room for dessert, too. I used to eat lunch there on a grad student budget regularly. Skip dinner there, though ($$$$), and head over to Fayetteville for a bbq sandwich at Penguin Ed's on buttered Texas toast(skip the ribs, please) or a pan-fried chicken dinner at AQ Chicken. It's not the best fried chicken I've ever had, but great homemade sides and rolls make the stop worthwhile. Oh, and they don't charge extra for salad dressing, extra rolls, or potato toppings! I haven't been there in a year or two, so I'm hoping this is still accurate...
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    Alirush
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 15:51:32 (permalink)
    Sorry, in my last post I mistakenly indentified James at the Mill as being in Northeast Arkansas - it's in NorthWEST Arkansas.

    As for Coy's, in Hot Springs - we've never gone, since we've heard nothing but bad reviews since we moved here.

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    Bushie
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 16:38:56 (permalink)
    Have any of you Razorbacks been to Cotham's General Store (I think that's the name) east of Little Rock and had a Hubcap?
    #10
    jlwarren
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 17:34:33 (permalink)
    Thanks for the tip, I will try James at the Mill the next time I am there!
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    Alirush
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 18:33:09 (permalink)
    Bushie,

    We have not been to Cotham's - what's a hubcap?

    #12
    Bushie
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 18:46:42 (permalink)
    It's a big ol' delicious hamburger. They call it a Hubcap because of it's size. Let me try to find the address, and I'll edit my post to include it. I think I've got it somewhere in my "notes"...

    Ok, I show it on state highway 161 in Scott, AR. It's not too far out of Little Rock to the east. That's all the info I have. It's been about 3 years since I last ate there, but it was fabulous. Great onion rings, too.

    Wait, let me do a Google...

    Ok, silly me. Here it is:

    http://www.arkansas.com/attractions/attr_detail/id/18121/r//city/Scott
    #13
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 19:25:37 (permalink)
    Alirush, Bushie, and JL Warren - your mentions of the AQ bring back great memories of long ago, particularly of the original (& then only) AQ in Springdale. Also many memories of the Venesian (spelling?) Inn at Tontitown and its great rolls, the only rolls I've ever encountered which were better than those at the AQ. The Venesian Inn steaks really weren't that good, looking back, but they were wonderful Sunday night suppers for their prices back in my undergraduate and graduate school days. Last time I was at Tontitown the Venesian was still operating but the steak dinner I knew for $2 was then $10 or $12. Also at Tontitown back then Mary Maestri's was in her own home and was unlike any dining experience for quality, service, and value that I've ever known. The current big commerical Mary Masetri's is good but nothing like the original. To tell about Mary's is too long a tale but I'll be glad to do so later tonight if you are interested. Back in graduate school days when I occasionally got taken out to dinner on someone's expense account,
    Heinie's Steak House just south of (and then relocated just north of) Springdale was a top notch Chicago quality steak house, with Heinie having come down there with that experience from being a Chicago restauranteur. As far as I know Heinie's and the folks he sold out to are long gone.

    JLWarren, I've not yet heard back from my Bentonville friends re their knowledge of Riverside Grille, but will let you know when and if I do hear anything.

    As to Cothams, its located in what used to be an old fashioned general merchandise store (maybe a bit heavier on the hardware than most such old stores were) in the little town of Scott, AR, on US 165 twenty miles or so out of North Little Rock. The old store building still has in it a lot of old left over stuff, mostly hardware, from when it was closed, that is used as decoration. The front of it is built on land but the majority of it is built on stilts out over this bayou. Along the banks of the bayou on both sides of the store they have a number of farm animals and chickens the children enjoy watching. Think I'm right on these times - Cotham's is closed on Sun. and Mon., open for lunch only Tues. and Wed. and is open from like 11A to 8P Thurs. thru Sat. It is surely nothing fancy but does have good food, various chicken fried steak, hamburger steak, etc. dinners and plate lunches each day. The plate lunches are the only Cotham disappointments I've ever had. They are not bad but are not as good as plate lunches in a number of other such places, however. Cotham's piece de resistance, tho, is its Hubcap. It is a 17 oz. (raw weight) hamburger served on a hubcap sized bun with pickles, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, mustard, and mayo. You can also get it as a cheeseburger or peppercheese cheeseburger or maybe another special way of two. Its served with french fries which can be swapped off for onion rings for extra charge. Price of the hubcap, at $8.95 believe it is, exceeds prices of all plate lunches and most of the other dinners, but is worth it. Its the thing to get, particularly if you've never been there. It's fun to see a new diner's eyes bulge when first a hubcap is set before him. Cotham's hubcap is not quite as tasty as either Phillips Grocery (Holly Springs, MS) burgers or the bar burgers at Port of Call in New Orleans, but they are good and something which should be tried for the experience. Cotham's also has great fried catfish. Take time to tour around Scott, too. It is an interesting little old town. There is a "Cotham's in the City" on Capitol I believe it is in Little Rock, and honestly, its food is probably about as good as out at Scott, but being in a modern setting (something that was formerly a TGI Friday's or some such), it just doesn't taste the same

    Hope this makes some sense. I'm a bit rushed to get to a meeting now. Regards to all. Liketoeat
    #14
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 20:41:32 (permalink)
    Several years ago, Coy's was the best in Little Rock. I took all of our business guest there for their steak and pecan pie. I did this for a few years and I began to notice a down hill slide. I do not know what happened, but it went from first to worst.

    Paul E. Smith
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    Liketoeat
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 21:45:17 (permalink)
    Sundancer, Coy's in Little Rock has been gone for quite some time. In fact, I'd forgotten there was ever one there as think I ate at it only once (was ok as I remember, nothing special) as I was living in Alabama during its heydey. Coy's in Hot Springs is still there and is the one I've heard so many people rave about, but it's the one which to me was an absolute disaster. Mentioned I only recently encountered the first other person with the same unfortunate experience/opinion, so quite interesting to see your comments re the negative reviews you've heard about it, Alirush. My Cotham's experiences related above are based on most recently eating there three tiimes in the past two months. It is actually on State 161 just off of US 165 right in Scott.
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    ocdreamr
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/10 23:45:57 (permalink)
    You all are talking about Little Rock. Does anyone remember or does it still exist, Hank's Dog House on Roosevelt Rd. I went there back in the mid 60's at the time it billed itself as having Little Rock's only oyster bar. I was with my parents & I remember when the owner heard that we were from Maryland he insisted my father come into the bar & have some oysters on him. My father had them & told the man they where OK but later told us they were just so so, after all what would you expect it was the middle of the summer and anybody knew you didn't eat oysters in months without an R in it!!
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    Liketoeat
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/11 00:13:56 (permalink)
    ocdreamr, I'm 99.99 per cent certain that Hank's Dog House is long gone. I'd not heard of it for so long I'd forgotten it ever existed, but do know it was at one time years ago really popular. Though I've not been to any of them, there are few places in Little Rock which now have oyster bars. Though a native Arkie, after having lived on the Gulf Coast for 30 years, I've not had that much interest in oyster bars around these parts since I've been back. I catch up on any raw oyster eating whenever I'm back down to the Gulf, but with all the health warnings concerning raw oysters and the oyster harvest embargoes off and on over the years, I'm somehow not as crazy about them as I once was.
    #18
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/11 22:27:20 (permalink)
    Yesterday when discussing northwest Arkansas restaurants I mentioned the old original Mary Maestri’s at Tontitown, AR, which long ago evolved into its current modern commercial version. There is nothing wrong with the current Mary’s; its housed in a beautiful country inn type building, located in a lovely meadow overlooking an orchard, and offers a nearly too extensive menu of fine food selections. However, it is a far cry from the original, unique old Mary’s. With the old Mary’s long gone, any report on it is of historical interest only, unless it should inspire someone to recreate somewhere this type dining establishment, should such even be possible in this day and age.

    One made reservations for dinner at the old Mary’s, and upon arrival the party was seated in one of three dining rooms converted from the original living room, dining room, and a bedroom of her comfortable country home. Your party was first served homemade (all her foods were homemade) appetizers of mini pizza and toasted ravioli. Next came the soup course, a clear chicken broth with ravioli or other stuffed pasta. The salad was a simple and simply wonderful plate of shredded lettuce with the most delicious vinaigrette I’ve ever had. The main course consisted of a large plate of skillet fried, slow cooked, home style fried chicken with a large serving of spaghetti with tomato sauce. About the time most diners were completing that course, platter(s) of fried chicken and bowl(s) of spaghetti (quantities depending on size of party) were placed on the table for self service second helpings. The meal concluded with servings of spumoni for dessert. Homemade butter, jam, and jelly was on the table, and all during the meal you were served individual mini loaves of the most delicious hot Italian bread. I earlier said everything was homemade at Mary’s. Not too long before this time the state health department began requiring Mary to dry her homemade spaghetti by some means “more sanitary” than hanging it on the back yard fence, as she had always done. While I am not a fan of the current political correctness craze, I certainly do not mean to offend anyone on the basis of ethnicity, sex, age, or physical stature by the following remarks. There is simply no other way to convey this element of the dining experience. All during the meal you were constantly surround, hovered over, attended to (but not in an oppressive, overwhelming manner) by the serving crew which consisted primarily of short, plump, middle aged to older local Italian ladies. This reminded me more of a hen mothering her brood of chicks than anything I can think of; really a very comfortable and comforting feeling. (At that time Tontitown was a 100 per cent Italian community which the Italian Ambassador from Washington visited every August to participate in the festival honoring the grape harvest; a real fun time there, but that’s another story.) At the conclusion of the meal you paid the bill to one of the servers; $2 per diner when I first started going there in 1960 and which had risen to I believe $3 per diner when I left that area in 1965. One would certainly not want to dine at the old Mary’s nightly or likely even weekly given its fixed menu; however, it was surely great to get there once a month.

    As I’ve indicated, this is a dining tale of long ago and far away, but which was a wonderful experience and would be wonderful to try again, although I doubt that such an operation as this would now ever be commercially, economically, or legally feasible, even with charging today’s prices. I’d sure like to try a modern day version should one ever be resurrected, but maybe some things are best left to our memories.
    #19
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/12 10:19:00 (permalink)
    jlwarren - just to let you know I heard from my two northwest Arkansas friends re Bentonville's River Grille. The family residing in nearby Rogers was totally unaware of its existence; not too surprising since don't think they are too much into restaurants/dining out. The other friend, living right in Bentonville and much more into the restaurant scene, was familiar with the River Grille, reporting that it appeared to be a very popular spot, but he surely did not understand why. They had been to it once but did not plan to return, finding both the quality and quantity of food served to be unsatisfactory, particularly in view of the high prices charged for everything. They did not notice the baked potato and its pricing on the menu while there, but he said that both elsewhere locally and in his business travels throughout the US he'd noticed more and more frequently the price differential between baked potato with butter & sour cream and baked potato with those plus additional toppings. Said he'd never seen any restaurant, though, where this price distinction was not specified on the menu - the failure to do so which is specifically your valid complaint re the River Grille. Regards. liketoeat
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    jlwarren
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/12 13:27:11 (permalink)
    Thanks for the update, Liketoeat. Interesting comments from your friends. I sent a letter to the owner, no news is not good news in the restaurant business, they need to know what the problems are. Thanks!
    #21
    Laughing Goddess
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/23 21:24:39 (permalink)
    A couple more Northwest Arkansas notes for y'all:

    The folks at James at the Mill will be running the new place on the U of A campus, The Inn at Carnall Hall, on Maple St. in Fayetteville. The rooms at the Inn are already booked for every single football weekend this fall -- and the renovations aren't even complete yet!

    And for more Tontitown Italian, Pianalto's (on the same road as Mary Maestri's, in a strip mall next to Hannah's Candles) has really good Italian. They also have a very small Italian grocery store inside. The pastries and cakes are fabulous -- and rumor is that they're looking to open a bakery in Fayetteville, which would be great for us since we don't have much that's good.

    I needed to find a flourless cake for Thanksgiving because one of my friends has a wheat allergy, and all the bakeries in Fayetteville wouldn't/couldn't make one. So I called Pianalto's, and they agreed to make a flourless chocolate cake for me. It was delicious (and cheap! $12, plenty large enough for the 6 at dinner).

    Now: is there any realy good BBQ in NW Ark? Herman's and Penguin Ed's don't float my boat.
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    Bushie
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/23 21:57:02 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Laughing Goddess

    A couple more Northwest Arkansas notes for y'all:

    Now: is there any realy good BBQ in NW Ark? Herman's and Penguin Ed's don't float my boat.


    This isn't BBQ, LG, but have you been to War Eagle Mill near Rogers? If not, you NEED to go.

    Here, I went and found the website:

    http://www.wareaglemill.com/
    #23
    jlwarren
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/24 18:06:10 (permalink)
    A update on the potatoe issue at the River Grille in Bentonville. I received a reply from the owner, turns out they used to charge $2.95 for a potatoe, and charge for toppings, then raised it to $3.95 and are not supposed to charge for the toppings, so they blamed it on server error. They credited my credit card and also credited me for the crab cakes due to my statement that they were floury. A nice gesture, just wanted y'all to know the "rest of the story".

    Thanks for all the good info, I will visit these places during my next trip!
    #24
    Big Muzzy
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/28 08:41:18 (permalink)

    It was the server's responsiblity to tell you this when you ordered....but, I was curious if you went back to check the menu. Many times, the extra charge for toppings is listed in VERY TINY print at the end of the menu. Just wondering if you missed it.

    quote:
    Originally posted by jlwarren

    I recently ate at the River Grille (1003 McClain Rd.) in Bentonville. I was thrilled to find a good restaurant in this town. The atmosphere was nice, subdued lighting and jazz. The menu was quite pricey for such a small town. The price that really got my attention was $3.95 for a baked potatoe! Not being too hungry and a little food weary, I ordered the crab cakes, the River Grille House Salad and that darned potatoe. Give the crab cakes a miss, very floury. The salad was great, a nice wedge of lettuce with cherry tomatoes and red onion with good blue cheese. The potatoe was good, and came with the toppings on the side as requested. When I got the bill, much to my surprise, the potatoe had turned in to a $5.45 potatoe! When I asked the food server, she explained that toppings are extra! And this was not posted in the menu. In all my years of traveling the world and eating out, I have never seen this. It is not the money, it is the point. Diners beware, is this a new trend??
    #25
    jlwarren
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/30 13:18:23 (permalink)
    The first thing I did was check the menu and the extra charge was not listed. As I mentioned in a earlier post, they used to charge $2.95 and charge extra for toppings, but they then raised it to $3.95 and included the toppings, they blame the server for charging me. But to be honest, when I talked to the staff up front, they agreed the extra charge was excessive, so they didn't know about the change, either.
    quote:
    Originally posted by Big Muzzy


    It was the server's responsiblity to tell you this when you ordered....but, I was curious if you went back to check the menu. Many times, the extra charge for toppings is listed in VERY TINY print at the end of the menu. Just wondering if you missed it.


    quote:
    Originally posted by jlwarren

    I recently ate at the River Grille (1003 McClain Rd.) in Bentonville. I was thrilled to find a good restaurant in this town. The atmosphere was nice, subdued lighting and jazz. The menu was quite pricey for such a small town. The price that really got my attention was $3.95 for a baked potatoe! Not being too hungry and a little food weary, I ordered the crab cakes, the River Grille House Salad and that darned potatoe. Give the crab cakes a miss, very floury. The salad was great, a nice wedge of lettuce with cherry tomatoes and red onion with good blue cheese. The potatoe was good, and came with the toppings on the side as requested. When I got the bill, much to my surprise, the potatoe had turned in to a $5.45 potatoe! When I asked the food server, she explained that toppings are extra! And this was not posted in the menu. In all my years of traveling the world and eating out, I have never seen this. It is not the money, it is the point. Diners beware, is this a new trend??

    #26
    Breadloaf
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/30 16:26:13 (permalink)
    I'm a native Arky (from Little Rock and Siloam Springs) and you guys brought up some great memories. I love the Waffle House in Springdale. It used to be an all-you-can-eat after 2 p.m. Every Sunday afternoon, my friend Kirk and I would drive from Siloam to Springdale and chow down. Our cook was named Frosty. He was the best!
    quote:
    Originally posted by Liketoeat

    Alirush, Bushie, and JL Warren - your mentions of the AQ bring back great memories of long ago, particularly of the original (& then only) AQ in Springdale. Also many memories of the Venesian (spelling?) Inn at Tontitown and its great rolls, the only rolls I've ever encountered which were better than those at the AQ. The Venesian Inn steaks really weren't that good, looking back, but they were wonderful Sunday night suppers for their prices back in my undergraduate and graduate school days. Last time I was at Tontitown the Venesian was still operating but the steak dinner I knew for $2 was then $10 or $12. Also at Tontitown back then Mary Maestri's was in her own home and was unlike any dining experience for quality, service, and value that I've ever known. The current big commerical Mary Masetri's is good but nothing like the original. To tell about Mary's is too long a tale but I'll be glad to do so later tonight if you are interested. Back in graduate school days when I occasionally got taken out to dinner on someone's expense account,
    Heinie's Steak House just south of (and then relocated just north of) Springdale was a top notch Chicago quality steak house, with Heinie having come down there with that experience from being a Chicago restauranteur. As far as I know Heinie's and the folks he sold out to are long gone.

    JLWarren, I've not yet heard back from my Bentonville friends re their knowledge of Riverside Grille, but will let you know when and if I do hear anything.

    As to Cothams, its located in what used to be an old fashioned general merchandise store (maybe a bit heavier on the hardware than most such old stores were) in the little town of Scott, AR, on US 165 twenty miles or so out of North Little Rock. The old store building still has in it a lot of old left over stuff, mostly hardware, from when it was closed, that is used as decoration. The front of it is built on land but the majority of it is built on stilts out over this bayou. Along the banks of the bayou on both sides of the store they have a number of farm animals and chickens the children enjoy watching. Think I'm right on these times - Cotham's is closed on Sun. and Mon., open for lunch only Tues. and Wed. and is open from like 11A to 8P Thurs. thru Sat. It is surely nothing fancy but does have good food, various chicken fried steak, hamburger steak, etc. dinners and plate lunches each day. The plate lunches are the only Cotham disappointments I've ever had. They are not bad but are not as good as plate lunches in a number of other such places, however. Cotham's piece de resistance, tho, is its Hubcap. It is a 17 oz. (raw weight) hamburger served on a hubcap sized bun with pickles, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, mustard, and mayo. You can also get it as a cheeseburger or peppercheese cheeseburger or maybe another special way of two. Its served with french fries which can be swapped off for onion rings for extra charge. Price of the hubcap, at $8.95 believe it is, exceeds prices of all plate lunches and most of the other dinners, but is worth it. Its the thing to get, particularly if you've never been there. It's fun to see a new diner's eyes bulge when first a hubcap is set before him. Cotham's hubcap is not quite as tasty as either Phillips Grocery (Holly Springs, MS) burgers or the bar burgers at Port of Call in New Orleans, but they are good and something which should be tried for the experience. Cotham's also has great fried catfish. Take time to tour around Scott, too. It is an interesting little old town. There is a "Cotham's in the City" on Capitol I believe it is in Little Rock, and honestly, its food is probably about as good as out at Scott, but being in a modern setting (something that was formerly a TGI Friday's or some such), it just doesn't taste the same

    Hope this makes some sense. I'm a bit rushed to get to a meeting now. Regards to all. Liketoeat
    #27
    Liketoeat
    Double Cheeseburger
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/06/30 18:59:35 (permalink)
    Welcome, Breadloaf. Where are you located now and do you get back to Arkansas often? I unfortunately don't get up to northwest Arkansas nearly as often as I'd like to, but that area has lots of wonderful food and other memories, tho I'm not familiar with your Springdale Waffle House.

    And, Laughing Goddess, I'm assuming that you are in Fayetteville from your comments. Thanks for all the news, info, updates of which I was unaware. I'd better check with the Alumni Assoc. for I may be missing some alumni magazine issues, as I was not aware that the Carnell Hall redo was anywhere near completion. Guess it will be a conference center/on-campus hotel of the type many schools have. And that is great news re the James at the Mill folks doing the restaurant there.To me, James at the Mill is the premier restaurant in the entire state. Was not aware of Pianalto's in Tontitown, but it surely sounds like its worth a try next trip up that way, both for its dining and its bakery .Hope you all get a branch of their bakery from what you say. Parenthetically, the last I knew an upscale French restaurant named Jimmy's in the Seville Square area of Pensacola, FL, was still operating. It had great food, including always at least one flourless cake on its dessert menu due to fact one of the owners had severe wheat allergy. I don't know anything about Fayetteville bakeries now, but years ago when I was in school there there was a donut shop (can't remember its name) in that UARK complex on Dixon near Ark. Ave. intersection which always had fresh donuts at 4PM. Absolutely the best ones I ever ate. Just place a hot one in your mouth and it would literally melt without your ever taking a bite. Unfortunately its been long gone. I'd thought of mentioning it in the donut forum here but hadn't done so since its not there for anyone to any longer enjoy. Again, thanks for all your great info. Unfortunately I can't help you with barbecue places in that area but know of plently good ones in Little Rock and further south. My most recent barbecue experience in Fayetteville was number of years ago. Went to a little place recommended by everyone in town which was below a hill off US 71 just a bit south of the old court house. Was that a disappointment in all regards to everyone in the party! Quality and quantity of food and quality of service were awful. Don't remember name of that place, and don't know if its still there, but remember having seen it featured (and praised) in newspaper reviews in more recent years. If that night was representative of the usual at that place, and if that was the best barbecue Fayetteville had to offer, at least back then Fayetteville was in dire need of a decent barbecue restaurant. Hope no matter how bad the barbecue scene is now, that its an improvement over what that was.

    Again, thanks for all your info, Laughing Goddess, and Welcome Aboard, Breadloaf. If you have any interest in/appreciation of food at all, you'll probably like me find this to be the best thing you'll encounter on the internet. That's been my experience in the year that we've been internet connected. Liketoeat
    #28
    kennythecook
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/07/23 00:07:07 (permalink)
    I have to admit Liketoeat, the old Mary Maestri's was a dining experience not soon to be replicated. We often wound up in a small room upstairs. And we always had extra salad, it was "simply the best" I have tried to copy it many times and although coming close have never quite done it. The Venetian Inn just down the road was also quite popular but my folks always went to Mary's. Today the Bentonville-Rogers-Springdale-Fayetteville corridor is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country and it has pulled my county McDonald Missouri into it.
    #29
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Diners beware in Bentonville, Arkansas! 2003/07/23 01:11:04 (permalink)
    Hi, Kenny. Great to hear from someone who knew and appreciated the old Mary Maestri's. You are so right, that was a dining experience not to be replicated. And anyone not having experienced it would find it hard to believe and could never fully understand/appreciate the experience. Yes, I'm also familiar with the Venesian Inn in Tontitown, having really eaten there more times than at Mary's. It was fine (particularly its rolls and its prices back in my undergraduate days) but it, then or now, (and the current Mary's) are no match for the old Mary's. To me the best restaurant now in northwest Arkansas is James at the Mill, hands down, no contest. Definitely try it if you haven't done so (at lunch time rather than dinner if you appreciate good prices as well as great food & service; dinner is fine if one is on expense account or if price is no object). I recently noticed that the 105th annual Tontitown Grape Festival is scheduled for Aug. 12 - 16 this year. Boy, if that wasn't a blast in years of the distant past. At the church/school they served Mary's chicken and spaghetti dinners (sans all the great sides), the Italian ambassador came down from Washington, DC, everybody got drunk on grape wine, they roped off the streets for big street dances, etc.. etc. Don't know what its like now but it was something forty years ago. Would be fun to check out again.
    I know all about the growth in northwest Arkansas, but didn't realize you guys right across the line in Missouri were also part of that booming area. The growth is great for the economy, but it is surely destroying the beauty and charm of the area. Such is the price of progress anywhere, I guess, and its surely a better way to destroy beauty and charm than by senseless political fighting and economic stagnation/decline, both of which are doing in all of eastern Arkansas.
    #30
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