Dipped: Our Central Arkansas favorites | Rock Candy

Dipped: Our Central Arkansas favorites



A FAVORITE:  Sparkys Queso Rojo is full of spice.
  • Kat Robinson
  • A FAVORITE: Sparky's Queso Rojo is full of spice.
We didn't talk about this a few weeks ago, but we should have — the Natives Guide to Cheese Dip here in Central Arkansas. That's right — a quick and handy guide to different cheese dips and quesos, some of the best you'll find in the place where cheese dip was born.

Because of space (and the idea that the cheese dip needed to be obtained in Central Arkansas), some of the entries had to be dropped. On the jump — what's not on the Natives Guide page.

Did we miss your favorite?

The other entries:

CHIP-N-DIP:  At The Cowpen.
Cow Pen. Yellow. Your best deal in cheese dip in southeast Arkansas, The Cow Pen offers a trio of six ounce dip-ables and a hand basket of chips called Chip and Dip for $6.95 ($3.95 for individual size). The cheese dip is Rotel variety but creamy and nicely spiced. Salsa is a little sweet and the bean dip is garlicky. Highway 82 Bridge (Lake Village). (870) 265-9992. thecowpen.com

A MEAL IN A BOWL:  Fabys Fajita Queso/
Faby’s. Non-traditional queso fundido. Thick enough to eat with a fork, this queso is the sort of hot cheese sauce you want on a cold day. Great on its own, it reaches a new level of greatness in fajita queso with chunks of beef or chicken. Get it with a stuffed avocado. Two locations: 2915 Dave Ward, (501) 329-5151. 1023 Front Street, (501) 513-1199. Hours vary. CC. No alcohol.

Godsey’s Grill. Non-traditional yellow. Godsey’s actually sells a traditional Rotel and Velveeta dip, along with about eight other dips. We prefer getting the Drunken Chicken dip with smoked chicken or the Chicken Enchilada dip that comes so heavy on the spices you won’t be able to tell there’s Velveeta under the surface on those homemade potato chips. 226 South Main St. (Jonesboro). (870) 336-1988. godseysgrill.com. Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. CC. Full bar/private club.

Maria’s. Yellow and white. The smooth mild creamy Queso Blanco could be the best in Fort Smith, with

SMOKED QUESO:  Mean Pig puts smoked Angus beef in its cheese dip.
  • Kat Robinson
  • SMOKED QUESO: Mean Pig puts smoked Angus beef in its cheese dip.
lovely complex flavors of Queso Asadero and, we suspect, some Jack cheese too. Better than the Chile “Coin” Queso offered by about two hairs. Locations in Fort Smith, Rogers, Bentonville and elsewhere. mariasmexicanrestaurant.biz.

Mean Pig BBQ. Non-traditional yellow. The barbecue joint best known for its Shut Up Sauce has one of the better quesos in the state — a deep yellow dip inundated with shredded smoked beef brisket throughout, served with a zip-top bag of tortilla chips on a big plate. Might as well be a meal. 3096 Bill Foster Highway in Cabot. (501) 941-5489. themeanpigbbq.com. Closed Sunday and Monday.

River Rock Grill. Yellow. Part of a dip trio, the chefs at

DIP TRIO:  Cheese dip with guacamole and salsa at River Rock Grill.
  • Kat Robinson
  • DIP TRIO: Cheese dip with guacamole and salsa at River Rock Grill.
River Rock Grill at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute atop Petit Jean Mountain have created the closest dip to the famed Mexico Chiquito cheese dip we’ve seen anywhere. The salsa is chunky and spicy, the guacamole fresh and the chips thin. Just hope the place is open when you go. 1 Rockefeller Drive (Morrilton). (501) 727-5435. livethelegacy.org/river-rock-grille. Fri.-Sat. 5-9 p.m. CC. Full bar/private club.

SEE IT STRETCH:  The Queso Flamada at Rolandos.
Rolando’s. Non-traditional white. The Queso Flamado at Rolando’s is not only thick and hot, it’s on fire. With or without chorizo, this Monterey Jack cheese confection has amazing pull — not just for its fabulous flavor but for the lengths you can pull the stringy cheese. Three locations: 210 Central Avenue (Hot Springs), (501) 318-6054. 223 Garrison Avenue (Fort Smith), (479) 573-0404. 224 South 2nd St. (Rogers), (479) 621-1002. rolandosrestaurante.com. Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Senor Tequila. White. This cloying, almost sticky queso likes to grab your chip. With excellent cling, it’s the perfect pungent dip for mixing with the restaurant’s lightly spicy cilantro-heavy salsa. Also good on the enchiladas. Multiple locations. Various Hours. CC. Full bar with margaritas.

Sparky’s Roadhouse Café. Non-traditional yellow. You can’t really call Sparky’s dip a yellow dip — it’s actually Queso Rojo, a blend of cheese and spices so concentrated it actually appears an orangish-red, even redder the longer it sits. Sweet, salty, cheesy, complicated, it’s a philosopher’s dream of a deep queso with multiple gifts for the tongue. 147 E. Van Buren (Eureka Springs), (479) 253-6001. sparkysroadhouse.com. Tue.-Thu. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. CC. Full bar.

Taco Villa. Yellow. The old college favorite keeps winning more fans, thanks to consistent low prices and a family attitude. The smooth yellow cheese dip has a strong garlic flavor; thick tortilla chips are always on hand for dipping. Also good on the apple sticks, strangely enough. 420 East 4th Street (Russellville). (479) 968-1191. Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Cash or check. No alcohol.

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