There are many Southern delights that come easily to the mind — fried chicken (often with waffles), biscuits and gravy, barbecue and fried green tomatoes. But there’s one staple of the South often overlooked… the humble pimento cheese.
While there are many different stories as to its origins, there is no argument about the spread being a popular Southern dish. It’s served up at The Masters in Augusta, GA each year. It’s traditionally a blend of shredded cheese (American or Cheddar), mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, pimentos and usually salt and pepper. There are variations on the theme, of course, and Arkansas has more than its fair share of restaurants who serve up their own versions.
Some of the best:
The Capital Bar and Grill inside The Capital Hotel in downtown Little Rock serves its up fresh made with housemade soda crackers. You can also have yours traditionally between slices of bread made right on-site, or you can have it slathered on a cheeseburger. Any way you have it, you’re going to like the mild Cheddar and mayo version of this popular treat.
In Mountain View, get your pimento cheese sandwich at Wood’s Soda Fountain. The old pharmacy still serves up hand-dipped and stirred homemade shakes and ice cream desserts. The folks at Wood’s grill their pimento cheese for a nice melty experience.
The Crumpet Tea Room in Bentonvillle serves its pimento cheese sandwiches daintily in an English garden themed setting… a nice tea-time sandwich.
Down in Sheridan, the place to get your pimento cheese is Gibb’s Grocery. This family-owned green-painted building is geared at hunters heading out for the deer woods and early morning fishing folk. The pimento cheese is made up from good American cheese and it’s stored in a casserole dish in the cooler until it’s ordered up. Get yours toasted.
Wynne has its own great pimento cheese sandwich that stands out… Colby’s Cafe offers its own Pimento Melt. It’s pimento cheese, lettuce, tomato and bacon on wheat bread, and it’s quite popular.
Stuttgart’s Country Gossip carries a creamy version of the classic. It comes with tiny bits of bell pepper in it for a light bit of crunch, and it’s served on your choice of bread with a slice of lettuce. There’s a bit of a tang to it, too.
In Little Rock, you can find an artsy version of the pimento cheese sandwich at Best Impressions. The upscale and relaxed restaurant inside the Arkansas Arts Center serves its golden delicious spread on wheatberry bread for a textural treat.
If you’re looking for a gourmet experience, check out Diane’s Gourmet in Little Rock. Diane’s offers take-and-make foods for the epicurean in your family. You can pick up a pint and make your own finger sandwiches at home.
Of all places, Taziki’s Greek Cafe’s locations in Arkansas offer pimento cheese. Instead of being served on bread, it’s served as a dip with pita chips.
One of the newest eateries in North Little Rock, Dogtown Coffee and Cookery has an unusually strong pimento cheese served up with lettuce and tomato. The spread has a garlicky flavor and is made with a finely shredded sharp cheese that gives it an almost smooth texture.