by Kat Robinson
It’s breakfast for lunch week again at Eat Arkansas… and we start out the week with a place a good distance from Little Rock. But don’t worry -- if you don’t make it this morning they’ll still be serving breakfast this afternoon, this evening, and even overnight.
The South Fork Restaurant is a popular place for truckers and for locals in the Gurdon area. Located right off Exit 63, it’s connected to a gas station and is right down from a little hotel. I’ve been passing by the place for years, and never realized what was inside.
That anytime breakfast can include a whole lot of things. There are a lot of big breakfasts that feature pork chops, chicken fried steak, a breakfast ribeye and even fried bologna. There’s a nice selection of omelets, a handful of breakfast sandwiches and the de rigueur biscuits and gravy.
But I need to talk to you about the hotcakes. Day I came though I was there close to nine in the morning, on my way to points much further south and west. I needed a good filling meal, and I was craving grits. So I ordered up cheese grits ($1.45, 50 cents more for the cheese) and threw in a short stack of hotcakes ($3.75).
Imagine my surprise at these pancakes. I’m used to big plate-sized hotcakes -- so many places around here are going to the nine to ten inch fluffy rounds. The size wasn’t the surprise for me. It was the taste. These hotcakes may not have been as fluffy as some, but they had a nice crispy finish. Within, they were deeply yellow, and they tasted very strongly of cornmeal. Indeed, these hotcakes were a step towards johnny cakes. They were sweet and corny and they soaked up that syrup like it was nothing. They were very buttery. I suspect they would have gone well with a little sorghum molasses. Hell if I could finish them, though. That cornmeal made them even more filling.
My cheese grits consisted of a big bowl of grits with a melted slice of American on top. Normally I wouldn’t have been impressed but it mixed in very easily and the grits had such a great texture… if you don’t eat grits it’s hard to describe, these were the home cooked sort and not the sort that comes in an instant package.
The best thing I can say for the restaurant, though, is that my coffee cup was always filled. The waitresses buzzed about continuously, making chatter with the locals and the truckers alike, friendly as all get-out. I wrote more about the experience itself over at Tie Dye Travels; drop by if you’d like to see how my visit was like going on back to my roots.
Once again, you’ll find the South Fork Restaurant at Exit 63 on Interstate 30 near Gurdon. Breakfast is served 24 hours a day, but if you want a burger or sandwich they have those too. Call if you wish, (870) 353-4363.