by Kat Robinson
Can you think of a single cheap eats restaurant that’s making just about everything from scratch? I can think of one — and you might be a little surprised by it. After all, it’s just a little Fort Smith joint at the corner of Zero and Highway 71B, just a little place by the name of Lewis Family Restaurant.
I told you about it before — about the remarkable pecan waffles they serve up along with my photographer’s attempt to consume the Inferno Burger. I’ve been meaning to get back there since, but my busy road schedule has kept me away.
Didn’t matter — they remembered me when I came through the door. Go figure.
I was actually looking for lunch and some chess pie — which is supposed to be some of the best chess pie in the state. But I missed out on it. “When it gets hot, people don’t like to eat and they don’t order pie,” our waitress told us. I could get behind that. What they did have to offer, though, was coconut meringue and pecan. Fair enough.
Anyone, for that matter, can take shaved beef and put it on a bun with peppers and onions and a little cheese and call it a Philly Cheesesteak. But here, that beef is prepared in-house and is still juicy. The peppers and onions are sautéed just barely to the point of glossy sweet goodness.
The bun, though. That bun. They make their own buns and bready products at Lewis Family Restaurant — yet another thing they don’t HAVE to do but manage to do anyway. It’s so soft. It reminds me of Krystal’s buns when they were still good. The bun’s consistency is meant for beef, for slider meat and whathaveyou. And it’s pliant. In this long form, it
But I didn’t start writing to tell you all about the sandwich. It’s really all about the pie. And though I missed out on chess pie, the Coconut Meringue I experienced was worth it. The meringue was light and sweet with so much coconut in it I wasn’t sure how it could stand. The custard was creamy and rich, with visible shreds of coconut throughout. The crust was a nice blind-baked pastry, crumbly in all the right places. The custard had a flavor to it, reminiscent of maple syrup but stronger even with the flavor of honey, and maybe even a little salt.
If you’re looking for it, Lewis Family Restaurant is on the south side of Zero Street across from the Wal-Mart Supercenter. It’s open 6 a.m.-3 p.m. every day. (479) 646-4309.