Cheese Dip Trail

Did you know Arkansas is believed to be the birthplace of cheese dip? Little Rock lawyer and filmmaker Nick Rogers has done his research and believes it to be. He tracked the background of the spicy concoction to see if it could be “the dish” for which Arkansas could be famous. Rogers discovered the original Mexico Chiquito restaurant, though it was named Little Mexico at the time, opened in Hot Springs in 1935 and introduced cheese dip. This predates Rotel by at least 10 years. Mexico Chiquito is still alive and kicking in Arkansas with both full-service and drive-through locations. Cheese dip is served pretty much in every nook and cranny restaurant of The Natural State.  Here are some suggestions.

  1. Mexico Chiquito

    Little Rock
    Arkansas-based Tex-Mex chain; where cheese dip was invented; serving Central Arkansas since 1935; created after a visit to Mexico, based on American and Mexican cheeses; spice mix, which gives the dip its distinctive flavor, includes paprika, cumin and others
  2. Dizzy's Gypsy Bistro

    Little Rock
    Pastas, Cajun dishes, Southern favorites and salads, all with large portions and reasonable prices; quirky, eclectic and somewhat elegant menu. La Petite Roche, winner of the professional category in the 2010 World's Champion Cheese Dip Festival; a "green" restaurant that has to-go containers made of corn stalk and starch or sugarcane; recycled roll towels, simple cleaners, environmentally friendly detergents, energy efficient lighting; recycling of cooking oil
  3. Chip's Barbecue

    Little Rock
    A Little Rock tradition since 1961; various barbecue sauces to choose from, hickory-smoked meats; chili, hamburgers, sandwiches, salads, soups. In addition to barbecue, Chips is known for the homemade pies and spicy cheese. GROUPS: off-premises catering available
  4. The Flying Burrito Company I

    Fayetteville
    A burrito bar specializing in huge burritos and margaritas; also on the menu are tacos, nachos, taco salads, four types of salsa and two varieties of cheese dip; kid's menu, full bar, patio dining
  5. Izzy's

    Little Rock
    "Healthy food for healthy people since 1985;" continental cuisine; cheese dip made with fresh tomatoes, spices and real cheese; salads, pasta, known for their hand-rolled, award-winning tamales, brick oven pizzas, burgers, pasta, soups and sandwiches; includes gluten free and vegan; lemon ice box pies, bread pudding
  6. Loca Luna Bold Arkansas Bistro

    Little Rock
    Nationally recognized, award-winning restaurant with an eclectic, upscale menu of American gourmet cuisine named "Nouveau Schizophrenic;" international food with a Southern twist includes white cheese dip with roasted green chilies and spinach; grilled meats, fresh seafood, pastas, wood-fired, brick-oven pizzas; sandwiches soups, pot roast, chicken fried steak, home-style vegetables, chicken and dumplings; homemade desserts, Sunday brunch Selected "One of the “Best Neighborhood Restaurants in America” by Bon Appétit Magazine; featured on Rachael Ray’s “Tasty Travels;” Named by Southern Living as "A rising star." GROUPS: catering available on and off premises for 30 or more
  7. Pancho's Mexican Restaurant

    West Memphis
    A trip to Mexico led to the opening of the first Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant in West Memphis. Family-owned since its inception in 1956, the tradition continues with original recipes including their “addictive” cheese dip.
  8. Cow Pen Restaurant

    Lake Village
    Menu features Mexican, seafood, Italian and steaks; the restaurant is popular for its cheese dip and the Cow Pen special, a rib eye with homemade Cow Pen Sauce. Sunday lunch buffet specials feature old-fashioned Southern cooking with seasonal vegetables straight from the Farmer’s Market. GROUPS: banquet room available
  9. Stoby's

    Conway
    Menu includes homemade yellow cheese dip made even more famous when American Idol Kris Allen named it his favorite when appearing on the television show; spicy white cheese dip; soups, sandwiches, salads, homemade desserts including Possum Pie; becomes a grill in the evenings. Named in March 2009 Esquire Magazine as one of the best breakfast places in America.
  10. Browning's Mexican Grill

    Little Rock
    Legendary Little Rock Mexican restaurant established in 1946; live music Thurs-Sat evenings; family friendly; weekend brunch; traditional hot sauce, cheese dip, punch and Saltillo plate and a few other select items from the original menu; handmade tamales, cheeseburgers; rest of the menu is Tex-Mex. Also includes updated versions of salsa and cheese dip.
  11. Cheers in the Heights

    Little Rock
    Popular neighborhood restaurant; since 1979; eclectic menu includes salads, soups, burgers, cheese dip; American and Cajun cuisine, variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, burgers, seafood, Italian, vegetarian; outdoor dining available
  12. Papa Joe's Country Store & Cafe

    England
    Homemade salsa, cheese dip and chips made from family recipes handed down through generations; appetizers, salads, soups, award-winning chili; steaks, seafood, chicken, burgers; array of homemade desserts may include chocolate, coconut or caramel pies, fried pies, Reeses Peanut Butter Cake, white chocolate strawberry cake, Italian creme cake, strawberry creme torte, Oreo cake; breakfast served during duck hunting season; primary dining room seats up to 160; private party rooms seats up to 40
  13. Taco Mama

    Hot Springs
    Classic, authentic Mexican food; made daily with fresh ingredients; fajitas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, hand-rolled tamales; nachos, queso dip, bean and queso dip with chorizo, Mexican green chile cheeseburger; salads; flan, cake, pie; drink specialties
  14. Casa Manana Rock

    Little Rock
    Authentic Mexican; white dip with queso anejo and queso Chihuahua; salads, soups, egg dishes, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, Chile Relleno, tamales; fish and shrimp specialties; stews; flan, Los Dorditos desserts
  15. Juanita's Mexican Cafe & Bar

    Little Rock
    Award-winning Mexican cuisine; 1st place Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Best Cheese Dip; live music, bar; extensive lunch and dinner menus; yellow cheese dip made with three cheeses and mesa white cheese dip, a favorite from the old Blue Mesa Grill.
  16. Faby's

    Conway
    Tortillas made from scratch daily; dips, salsa; tortilla soup; burritos; fried stuffed avocado; culce de leche, sopapillas; white cheese dip which can also be ordered as fajita queso, topped with beef or chicken. Menu also includes a variety of Italian dishes
  17. Nick's Bar-B-Q & Catfish

    Carlisle
    Barbecue chicken, pork and beef; seafood; catfish with all the trimmings; homemade fried green tomatoes, onion rings; cheese dip and salsa, salads; homemade fried pies (including coconut) and cobblers for dessert.
  18. Buffalo Grill Riverdale

    Little Rock
    American cuisine; nachos, homemade salsa, and chips; classic yellow cheese dip, chili cheese dip, Tortilla Flats; steaks, burgers, salads, variety of sandwiches; outdoor dining available; in business since 1981
  19. Godsey's Downtown Grill

    Jonesboro
    Large variety of burgers, sandwiches, wood-fired oven pizzas, several dips including Ro-tel, steaks, seafood, huge array of appetizers, salads, pasta, side orders, home cooking such as country fried steak, turnip greens; homemade desserts; catering available
  20. Marlo's Taco Shack

    Fayetteville
    Popular local hangout; cheese dip, picante sauce, vegetarian, tacos, nachos, taco burgers,
  21. Sparky's Roadhouse Cafe

    Eureka Springs
    Features an eclectic menu and decor; Mexican dishes include six different salsas, queso rojo, nachos; continental offerings include French, Persian, Spanish; steaks, seafood, sandwiches, burgers, vegetarian, salads, don't miss the bowling lane and pins on the ceiling;
  22. Taco Pronto

    Hot Springs
    Local Tex Mex tradition since the late '60s; cheese dip, nachos, burritos, tacos, combos, salsa; cheese crisps (crispy fried flour tortilla topped with shredded cheese, salsa, and jalapeños then heated until the cheese is melted).