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Cotham's Mercantile

5301 Highway 161 South, Scott, AR - (501) 961-9284
Posted By Michael Stern on November 26, 2008 3:15 PM
In the Grand Prairie about a half hour southeast of Little Rock, Cotham's Mercantile is perched on stilts above a slow-flowing river. Built in 1917, it has been a general store, a jail, and a military commissary. Contemporary Arkansans know it as a plate-lunch destination.

The old wood building is fronted by a broad porch. Enter a swinging door into a dining room packed literally to the ceiling with vintage house and farm bric-a-brac, from garden tools to vintage television sets. Remote the restaurant may be, but it is rare to see an empty chair. Bare wood tables are surrounded by customers who come for hearty noonday meals built around catfish, chicken-fried steak, or chicken-fried chicken, and such daily specials as fried pork chops (Monday), chicken and dumplings (Tuesday), meatloaf (Wednesday), and Southern-fried chicken (Thursday). Side dishes include corn fritters, hush puppies, collard greens, and fried green tomatoes. There is a long list of sandwiches, too, the king of which is known as a Hubcap Hamburger. That is an immense circle of cooked ground beef – close to a foot in diameter and a half-inch thick – that comes in a bun that nearly fits, dressed with a salad's worth of mustard, lettuce, tomato slices, pickles, and hoops of onion. Incredibly, it is possible to lift it with two hands from plate to mouth. The outlandish specialty has earned such renown that the store's push-pin map of the United States has no room left for any more pins to show where Hupcap-loving customers have come from; business cards from visitors around the globe are tacked up all around it.

Desserts include fine Arkansas fried pies and peach or blackberry cobbler.

Cotham's serves lunch Monday through Saturday and supper Thursday through Saturday.
5 star rating
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Posted By Dorrie on September 11, 2012 11:09 AM
Looks good, but haven't been there and the "no" and "yes" buttons don't work. Would like to see some gluten-free Roadfood!
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Posted By Ben Weiner on September 10, 2012 9:28 PM
Cotham's absolutely lived up to the hype, and then some. We went expecting a delicious burger and left receiving so much more.

First, the eating experience at Cotham's is second to none. It's not often you have the opportunity to eat in a dive this far off the beaten path and actually eat food. For those unfamiliar, Cotham’s is located in an old general store from the first half of the 20th century.

As for the food, the Hubcap burger delivered on every expectation. It's made with incredibly well-seasoned meat, every bit as juicy as the pictures depict. And what’s a good burger without a little grease?

However, to our surprise, the menu at Cotham's is incredibly deep and versatile. We tried the various appetizers: corn fritters, onion rings, fried tomatoes, etc. They were all top-notch. After our waitress figured out we were from out-of-town (which didn't take long) she started bringing us items to try that we didn't order. The chicken-fried steak was a treat for an unsuspecting northerner. Perhaps the biggest surprise and maybe best dish we tried was the highly recommended catfish, lightly breaded and deliciously seasoned.

At the end of the meal, Cotham's took the experience from amazing to truly legendary, when we devoured multiple slices of their amazing fried pie. Apple and chocolate were definitely the winners. Anyone who is a fan of roadfood MUST find a way to get themselves to Cotham's.
5 star rating
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Hubcap Hamburger
Fried Pie
Catfish
Chicken Fried Steak
Onion Rings

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Posted By Beth Moneymaker on March 13, 2008 3:08 PM
My husband came here when he was at a military training school, and he loved it so much that we made a special stop on our cross-country trip to another duty station. It doesn't look like much on the outside, or the inside for that matter, but the food is great.

We all got the hubcap burgers with either fries or the fried green tomatoes. The burger is probably the best-tasting burger we have ever eaten. The atmosphere is homey, but you have to look past the nicknacks to really appreciate it. It isn't exactly dirty, but it's so old that it's hard to tell.

My teen son still talks about going back some day, and we will definitely make it a "must stop" on our way back west.
5 star rating
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