2. The Buttered Biscuit
While I love each meal of the day, breakfast always takes the (hot) cake. The Buttered Biscuit warms my heart (and fills my stomach) with the most delicious fluffy pancakes, sugar-dusted beignets, filling omelettes, and (of course) buttery biscuits. Embrace High South cuisine by ordering a Cajun eggs benedict, which replaces the traditional ham with lump blue crab cakes and adds a layer of spinach for color. Or check out the Kickin’ Chicken waffles that tops a crispy waffle with bacon jam and adds a piece of spicy fried chicken before pouring maple syrup over the entire dish.
Pro Tip: Take a taste of Arkansas home with you by wrapping up bacon jam or Arkansas black apple butter.
3. Crepes Paulette
Although it’s only a half-mile south of the Bentonville City Square, you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled to Paris at Crepes Paulette. Enjoy thin French-style pancakes loaded with either savory or sweet fillings and folded into a delicious traditional triangle (rather than rolled). If you’re visiting for brunch, lunch, or dinner, you’ll find la Classic with ham, cheddar, and egg and La Rubenesque with traditional Reuben sandwich ingredients quite filling. Vegetarians will be delighted to see several savory meat-free options like La Centrale and la Spinach. And, if you’re visiting Bentonville with a food allergy, you’ll be glad to know that Paulette’s savory buckwheat crepes are gluten-free. Be sure to save room for a sweet crepe as well! I recommend la Foster filled with salted caramel, banana, and cinnamon or any option that includes Nutella.
4. The Pedaler’s Pub
Did you know that Bentonville is the Mountain Biking Capital of the World? That’s right! And what makes The Pedaler’s Pub popular with Bentonville’s bike crowd is that it’s located on the Downtown Trail, one of several paths in the system of more than 100 miles of urban trails through this northwestern Arkansas town. Whether you arrive by bike, on foot, or via another mode of transportation, you’ll enjoy a variety of hand-tossed wood-fired pizzas at The Pedaler’s Pub. While you can certainly order a basic pie, like cheese or pepperoni, you’ll also find many unique craft selections. Meat lovers will want to try the Alpe with thinly sliced ribeye steak, spinach, feta, and sun-dried tomatoes. Or check out the spicy chicken bacon ranch that offers a bit of a kick and is topped with roasted sunflower seeds. Vegetarians will delight at the Greenie, featuring artichoke hearts, bell peppers, black olives, and fresh spinach on a pesto base, or the Fungi, loaded with shitake, portobello, and button mushrooms. In addition to pizza, The Pedaler’s Pub also offers a wide variety of soups, salads, and sandwiches.
Pro Tip: If you fall in love with Bentonville, consider making it your new hometown. You may qualify for a $10,000 cash award to make that dream a reality. (And the Mountain Biking Capital of the World will even throw in a new two-wheeler to sweeten the deal!)
5. Smokin’ Joe’s Ribhouse
As hard as it is for a Kansas City girl to recommend barbeque outside of the Barbeque Capital of the World, it’s equally difficult to travel elsewhere in the Barbeque Belt and not give the local fare a try. Roughly halfway between Kansas City and Memphis, Smokin’ Joe’s Ribhouse in Bentonville feels like a blend of the two barbeque styles. While Memphis barbeque is all about pork, especially ribs and pulled pork, diners will also find smoked sliced brisket, smoked turkey breast, and smoked sausage on the menu at Joe’s (as if they were in Kansas City). Pair your meat platter or barbeque sandwich with a Southern side like fried okra, Cajun rice, or black-eyed peas, because those are rarely on the menu in the barbeque region to the north of Arkansas.
Fun Fact: Over the years, there have been more than five accepted spellings for “barbeque.” While there are only two today — with a “c” and with a “q” — most Kansas Citians follow the Kansas City Barbeque Society’s lead and use a “q.”