EATS & DRINKS
By Priscilla Willis
Fayetteville Restaurant Week
Eat, drink, repeat. Fayetteville Restaurant Week, sponsored by Experience Fayetteville, is back and better than ever. It only happens once a year, so get ready for seven days of dining out! The week-long culinary event is an excellent time to expand your dining repertoire, try new places or revisit old favorites. Want a romantic spot? A trailside location? Ready to explore a different cuisine? Discover them all during Fayetteville Restaurant Week from Feb. 25 to March 2.
We love our barbecue in Arkansas, and while you most likely already have your go-to, there’s no better time than restaurant week to give Girls Gone BBQ a try!
Owner and pitmistress Dana Neely’s Arkansas Delta heritage fuels her desire to share her passion for hickory-smoked meats, tangy Delta-Q sauces and Eastern Arkansas staples with the Fayetteville community. Neely’s “Inclusive BBQ” caters to carnivores, pescatarians, vegetarians, vegans and those with alpha-gal syndrome food allergies, which Neely is affected by.
During Fayetteville Restaurant Week, Girls Gone BBQ is offering a free Nana Puddin’ when ordering one of their three inclusive “sammiches” accompanied by one side: the Delta Melta ($15), Smoked Chicken Sammich ($10.50), and the Girls Gone Veggie or Vegan ($10.50).
Photo courtesy of Girls Gone BBQ
This year, Experience Fayetteville expects to have more than 100 participating restaurants offering diners a wide variety of options from casual and family-friendly establishments to upscale and fine dining. Fayetteville’s favorite restaurants showcase their best offerings with prix fixe menus at fantastic prices. A complete list of participating restaurants and their menus or specials are listed on Experience Fayetteville’s website. Join the email list to receive updates and additions as the date approaches.
Restaurant Week Goals:
Try a new barbecue place
Try this farm-to-trailer food truck
You’ve never heard of Margaret’s Food Truck? Well, it’s time to change that. Margaret’s is a small business based on sustainability and sourcing the most local ingredients possible. Chef and owner Juan Rey applies technique and passion to create wholesome meals for patrons and, in the process, connect them to where their food is sourced and the farmers who grow it.
To encourage more people to “go green” and contribute to the food chain, Margaret’s also offers a community compost drop-off site for their neighbors in South Fayetteville.
Margaret’s Fayetteville Restaurant Week specials include:
12-Bean Chili ($11), locally sourced beef and a slice of cornbread made with War Eagle Mill stone-ground corn
BEC ($14), a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich made with locally sourced bacon, egg and Margaret’s pimento cheese on a homemade chive buttermilk biscuit with a side of local greens and house-made hot sauce
Congee ($10), an aromatic rice porridge cooked with garlic, ginger and mushroom soy sauce topped with a choice of filling (pork, beef or veggies), soft scrambled eggs and house-made hot sauce
Photos courtesy of Margaret’s Food Truck
Try Pesto’s by Lance — the new and improved Pesto’s Café
Change is good! But it’s always hard to take over a popular dining establishment that previously had to close its doors. Fortunately for us, chef Lance Corbin and his wife, Sally, were up for the challenge, and their reimagined Pesto’s by Lance, which opened in mid-2023, far exceeds expectations.
Previously, Corbin served as executive chef at the well-known Mama Leone’s restaurant in Sarasota, Florida. His accolades at Mama Leone’s include being voted Restaurant of the Year four times by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and receiving the Florida Kids’ Choice award for all-natural scratch cooking in 2009.
Pesto’s by Lance sparkles after being lightly renovated while thoughtfully maintaining the classic Tuscan-inspired décor. In addition, Corbin imparts his culinary experience and the use of only the freshest ingredients to the authentic Italian menu and continues to offer dishes beloved by loyal patrons. Weeknights feature live acoustic music, adding to the intimate ambiance.
For Fayetteville Restaurant Week, Pesto’s by Lance has the following specials:
Featuring his Al Forno dishes as the recommended entrée, choose the Lasagna, Manicotti or Cannelloni accompanied by a salad (Caesar or House) and house-made bruschetta
Chianti by the bottle ($20)
Dessert Sampler ($20), an ample platter of bite-size desserts, including Cannoli, Cheesecake, Spumoni and Tiramisu — where else can you try all these delectable desserts?
Photos courtesy of Pesto’s by Lance
Treat yourself to a fine dining experience
Ella’s Table is the restaurant at the historic Inn at Carnall Hall, which graces the University of Arkansas’ Old Main Lawn at the corner of Arkansas Avenue and Maple Street. If you’ve never been, Fayetteville Restaurant Week is the perfect time to experience the upscale American cuisine at Ella’s Table and appreciate the stately Colonial Revival-style building constructed in 1905 as the college’s first dormitory for women. In 2003, following renovation and historic preservation, Inn at Carnall Hall reopened with 50 rooms and is a Historic Hotels of America member.
For Fayetteville Restaurant Week, Ella’s Table features a three-course menu at lunch ($20) and dinner ($35). The menu was not yet available at the time of print, but you can expect a wonderful meal and pleasing ambiance that blends modern décor with nostalgia.
Inn at Carnall Hall’s support of the Razorbacks and U of A athletics program is deeply ingrained in its culture. On game days, Lambeth Lounge is a popular place to meet up with friends before heading to the stadium and, afterward, for celebrating (or cooling off) with a cold brew or craft cocktail before savoring the award-winning cuisine at Ella’s Table.
Photos courtesy of Ella’s Table
Get true scratch kitchen cooking at Mockingbird Kitchen
Chef Chrissy Sanderson shared her passion and culinary training widely in Northwest Arkansas, from Bordino’s to the culinary classes at NorthWest Arkansas Community College, before opening Mockingbird Kitchen so that we could feast on her innovative New American dishes. Think your favorite comfort foods with a twist. Everything, from the ketchup to the pickles, is made from scratch using local products and seasonal ingredients.
For Fayetteville Restaurant Week, Mockingbird Kitchen features a special three-course menu ($40) at lunch and dinner (not available for brunch). Choose a starter, either Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad or Stuffed Mushrooms; select an entrée, either Penne Pesto and Veggie or Fish and Grits; and top it off with either Mockingbird Pie or Buttermilk Crème Brûlée for dessert. Tough choices, I know.
Photo courtesy of Mockingbird Kitchen
Fish and Grits
Try Slim Chickens for a taste of “life-changing chicken”
Northwest Arkansas is chicken central, and many believe that the best of the best is Fayetteville’s own Slim Chickens. Slim Chickens’ slogan is “life-changing chicken,” a claim they can make because all their chicken is made fresh with each order. Arkansas natives Tom Gordon and Greg Smart co-founded Slim Chickens in 2003 and started franchising a decade later. Slim Chickens continues to spread the chicken love with nearly 250 stores in 32 states and the United Kingdom. Give it a try!