The Best Restaurants in Central Arkansas

Published: October 13, 2014

This is a list of my favorite restaurants in central AR. Food quality and taste are what I look for first. I consider customer service next, then atmosphere, price and location.

  1. Mellow Mushroom

    Mellow Mushroom is a pizza place I tried this weekend. My sister has been here before and wanted all of us to go for her birthday. The food is great! The selection of beer is outstanding. I tried a pumpkin flavored beer. I'd give it a 9 of 10. It's definitely something to have at least once each fall season. My dad tried a local beer from Springdale. He wanted to try a dark ale. The waitress picked it for him and he was very impressed with it. We had two appetizers: the spinach artichoke dip with toast and hummus with pita breat. My mom continuously raved on the toast. It was buttered perfectly. The spinach artichoke dip was great. It was nice and hot and tasted great on the toast. The hummus display was beautiful but the taste was simply hummus. The display was two layers of pita wedges with a hummus ball on top, in the middle. It was a beautiful display and one I had not seen before. The pita and the hummus was fresh. But, if you've had hummus before, then you know what hummus tastes like. If not, this is a good place to try it for the first time. The salads and dressings were also great. I tried the Esperanza dressing which is like creamy italian. It had just a touch of spice to it to make it fun. All four of us got small tossed salads since we also had the appetizers and pizza coming. My dad tried a spicy ranch dressing, my mom the ranch, and my sister the caeser. All had rave reviews. I tried the caesar on the toast and it was very good like that! The pizza names were fun to read in the menu. We ordered a supreme and a pepperoni, black olive, and banana pepper. My sister and I like unusual foods on our pizzas. The supreme came with tomato, bacon slices, sausage (non spicy), peppers, onions, cheese and of course pizza sauce. It is fantastic! And, it tastes great as leftovers, too. My sister was impressed with the pepperoni and the garlic butter used all the way around the crust. She said it wasn't dry at all. 

    The waitress was knowledgeable of the beer and the menu items. The bar was very impressive and they have over 30 beers on draft. 

    I wasn't impressed with the lack of uniforms. It was hard to tell who the employees were and who were customers. Also, many of the employees were not friendly at all, or barely so. I do think wearing street clothes affects employee attitudes. 

    The atmosphere is misleading. It looks like it is a place for kids but it isn't. This place is for older people who like gourmet pizza and foods, beers of all sorts, and watching sports. There were lots of TVs around so we could watch the Hogs game against Alabama. Lost again. 

    The prices are in line with what you'd find in pizza joints like this. The place was for the most part clean. There were minor issues plus kids were there the night we went. 

    I would definitely recommend trying Mellow Mushroom. My family and I discussed going back when there aren't as many kids.

  2. U.S. Pizza

    My family and I have been eating at U.S. Pizza for many years. For a long time, this was my favorite pizza place to go to for more gourmet-style pizza until I went to Mellow Mushroom. 

    U.S. Pizza is a great family atmosphere without many kids. It is a family environment but it's obvious that U.S. Pizza is for older people that like good food and good company. 

    They have a decent beer selection. This is a good place to order pitchers of beer rather than seasonal or gourmet beers. Here, you can just hang with your family and friends and eat good pizza. 

    The pizza selections are more gourmet than just a local take-out joint. 

    The salads are phenomenal. They use a white cheese and black olives to top their salads which adds to the taste. And, the salads, small and large, are not skimpy! You can definitely make a meal out of them. I like to eat mine with ranch dressing. 

    My family and I have never had a problem with customer service, cleanliness, or the prices. U.S. Pizza is consistent with all of these. 

    They do have a fair amount of TVs so if the game is on, patrons can watch. They also have a party room which is great for bigger groups or birthday parties.

    If you don't want to drive out to Mellow Mushroom then go to U.S. Pizza. 

  3. Pig N Chick

    Pig N Chick is a great southern-food, comfort food restaurant. They have so much on the menu. This is down-home cooking and atmosphere. The employees wear T-shirts and it fits perfectly for this type of restaurant. It is family friendly. 

    My mom and I like to get the chicken fried chicken or chicken fried steak with white gravy and a baked potato. The potatoes are always baked perfectly. I keep mine simple: salt, butter and sour cream. My mom uses butter only. The plate also comes with toast.  

    Our newest fave is the lasagna. My dad and I love their lasagna. The portion could be split into two meals. It is a simple meat lasagna baked to perfection. 

    My sister likes the fried okra, fried corn, and fried squash. I like the first two but I really don't like the fried squash. 

    The drink cups are huge so you get plenty of whatever you order. Beer selection is small so we usually just get a draft or bottle. They only have domestic beer.

    The location is in Sherwood so it's central to all of us. This is a place to get take out or sit in. You can't go wrong either way!

My favorite right now is Mellow Mushroom. Even great places can get boring after many years so I'm excited to find a new gourmet, or almost gourmet, pizza place. I will definitely go back soon, and I will recommend it to friends and colleagues.