My quest for pie has taken me all over Arkansas this year. I've been to the furthest reaches of the state, yet I knew I still had to make a few stops. I needed to get back to Jonesboro to go back to Ann's Restaurant. I recall it always had the greatest pies.
But Ann's Restaurant isn't in Fountain Square any more. Instead, signs directed me to Gina's Place. I was apprehensive, but I wanted to find out if there was any good pie at the new restaurant. I learned a bit more.
The decor hasn't changed a whole lot since I last darkened the door 13 years ago, before I left town to head home to Little Rock. It's still counter service, and there are still family photos all over the place. There are still more food items than can be counted quickly, and there's still a massive wipe board containing all the different items you can have on your plate lunch any particular day. They're still offering cold plates with four items ($4.99) including their creamy pimento cheese, chicken salad, tuna salad, potato salad, green bean salad, red bean salad, orange Jello salad, tossed salad, cole slaw, cottage cheese and peaches amongst the choices) and they're still doing massive plate lunch specials — $6 for a meat and three veg, $5 for meat and two veg and veggie specials, too. On that particular Thursday they had a huge list of items. The meats were fried ham, chicken and gravy with dressing and cranberry sauce and spaghetti with meat sauce. The veggie options were creamed potatoes with gravy, green beans, lima beans, kernel corn, butter beans, dressing, soup beans, English peas, buttered potatoes, fried okra, purple hill peas, turnip greens, cabbage and just about everything on the cold salad menu.
But I wasn't there for lunch. I'd already had a burger at the Dairy Shack in Waldenburg and a piece of pie in Harrisburg and I still had several more pieces of pie to try that day. So I ordered up a piece of peanut butter pie — because that's the sort of thing I used to get all the time at Ann's. I was hoping it was just as good.
So it turns out, Gina's Place is run by the same people that ran Ann's Restaurant, serving up the same food they've had since the early 80s. The name change is just a few months old. Everything I missed really was still there.
So. The Peanut Butter Pie. Turns out, it's one of the richest peanut butter pies I have found everywhere — served up on a homemade crust made from peanut butter sandwich cookies, filled with a mousse-y peanut butter custard and topped with whipped cream, peanuts and chocolate chips. It's a meal in a pie, with all that filling peanut butter within. It's not too thick but it is quite fluffy and somehow it just kills the appetite. Better than any Reece's Peanut Butter Cup you're going to get, and it's just $2.75.
You'll find Gina's Place in Fountain Square over by the old Wal-Mart Supercenter (I believe Jonesboro was the first city anywhere to get two Supercenters.... the other is out by the bypass) on Highland. Check out the website or call (870) 910-3900.