Michael Isgrig, who has been in the grocery business for 30 years, has reopened The Hop, the classic drive-in on Cantrell Road. Isgrig and his son, Chris, who is graduating college, will manage the restaurant, at 7706 Cantrell Road. The new phone number is 225-6212.
Isgrig’s family has been making and selling a barbecue sauce — from an old farm recipe — for more than 100 years that will be sold there, along with homemade barbecue and a Reuben sandwich that, Isgrig says, is his wife’s recipe. The rest of the familiar Hop menu will still be available.
Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
UPDATE: MAMA BEA’S BIG BURGERS Mama Bea’s has expanded eastward, to the spot where Say McIntosh used to cook in Midtown, and the place was drawing a good-sized crowd when we visited recently. There’s a national burger chain that brags that they don’t start on your burger until you order it, and you can rest assured it’s true here, in a way that you’re going to have to wait longer than you’d probably like at lunch. Order onion rings, like we did, and expect an even longer wait. Still, the jumbo burger with hot cheese is pretty good — 6 ounces of meat and all the fixes on a buttered and grilled bun (which stayed together, another plus). The homemade onion rings with a thick batter were pretty good too, if a little small in circumference. We also enjoyed a large cup of pink lemonade. Our meal ran a little more than $8 including tax, which is up there for a burger — and the burger was good, but not in the “great” category of homemade. They were still working on the drive-in portion when we visited. 12th and University. No alcohol. CC $ 225-2495 LD Mon.-Sat.
UPDATE: 65th STREET DINER You don’t have to be a working stiff in the Little Rock industrial district to appreciate this simple down-home restaurant. It’s just off I-30, an easy run from downtown, and cafeteria-style service moves your meal right along (though you can order burgers and other items from the grill). A meat and two vegetables, with a choice of puffy home-made rolls or honest-to-goodness cornbread (no sugar), costs only $6.50, tax included. We had a tricycle-tire-sized crusty slab of chicken-fried steak with some peppery cream gravy that was as good as we’ve had in months. Side vegetables were bland, at least our choices of spinach and carrots. All was forgiven with dessert. They are all made in-house -– pies, cakes and cookies –- and we recommend two without reservation. The apple dumpling is a whole apple, wrapped in flaky pastry and baked in a caramel glaze. The pecan pie was old school -– lots of sweet and crunchy pecans on top of a perfectly set up filling of rich goo. Next time: Italian cream cake. The menu changes daily. They’ll put you on a fax list if you ask. 3201 W. 65th St. CC $ 562-7800 BL Mon.-Sat.