- Kat Robinson
- HALF-POUNDER: Front Porch Family Diner's $7 burger.
I have to say, I am a sucker for a well cooked burger. I don’t mean to well done… I mean, when you order a burger and you get it exactly the doneness you want. That’s awesome.
The folks at the Front Porch Family Diner get that. They also get how to make a good piece of catfish and how to make the Northwest Arkansas variant of the possum pie.
We dropped in a few weeks ago on our noble search for pie and decided to have a sit-down lunch while we were at it. We’d come in a little after the main lunch rush, apparently — because for a Saturday, it was nearly vacant.
My dining companion, stymied because of his decision to stop eating land animals, chose to try the Fried Catfish Po’Boy ($9.50) and was presented with a rather large single filet that spanned his plate. It was lightly breaded, cooked just to doneness, had a lovely salt and peppering and was served up with fries and coleslaw (which I stole). It was a far larger fillet than he had anticipated and it was a lovely sandwich, being housed in a sourdough loaf that had been lightly toasted.
Still, while it was tasty it was nothing compared to my burger. What I had on my hands was a lovely medium rare patty with a nice crust to it, lightly salted and peppered. It was served up on a sourdough bun with iceberg lettuce (more for crunch than flavor), tomatoes and a plethora of grilled onions.
How many grilled onions? They covered the bottom bun and had been grilled with the burger itself. And they were tasty.
When you order yours, you’ll be asked if you want mayo or mustard; ketchup comes on the table. I skipped the ketchup because the skin-on hand cut fries were perfectly seasoned and tasty. Very nice.
So there’s the burger. As I mentioned, we were actually on a quest for pie, and found it in two sorts. I was very interested in the first, the Strawberry Chiffon Pie. I have been traveling for a while searching out pies and this was the first time I had encountered a chiffon pie on a menu. I was very excited about it.
Sadly, I wasn’t so excited about this one… it was… well, it was very gelatin-esque. It was okay and I’d clean my plate normally (if I wasn’t planning to consume more pie in the day) but it wasn’t exceptional. It had that great strawberry foam that entirely filled the shell but it was lacking something that I couldn’t put my finger on.
But the Awesome Possum… was just that, awesome. Now, it was a surprise — the possum pie represented at Stoby’s
and at Myrtie Mae’s
contain a chocolate layer, a sour cream custard layer and a whipped cream layer, and that’s what I’ve become accustomed to. But this one was different. It’s the first square pie I’ve encountered on my trip (strangely enough, I’d encounter the second later that same day at Sassy’s Red House). The bottom was crushed Pecan Sandies; there was a red line between it and the next layer of dark chocolate custard. It was topped with a pile of whipped cream… and it was fantastic.
The pecan bits worked so well with the chocolate and cream, and though it was different from what I had expected it was delicious and it’s what I’ll get next time I go.
I am concerned about the Front Porch Family Diner, though. A few hours later (when we were on pie number seven) I saw on Facebook that the place had closed early since no one was there for quite some time. Usually it’s open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. I hope it was just because folks were home watching the Razorbacks play.
You’ll find the Front Porch Family Diner on Highway 412 (East Robinson Avenue) a short distance east of Highway 71 B. (479) 751-3021 or check out the website for daily specials and such.