The Top 10 Local Restaurants In Searcy, Arkansas

Photo of Matthew Keyte
9 February 2017

Founded in 1838, the town of Searcy, Arkansas is still a small college town, home of Harding University. It was also the site of the Battle of Whitney’s Lane in 1862 during the American Civil War. But in spite of its small size, the restaurant scene is diverse. Here’s a rundown of places to check out, from Greek and Mexican delights to Japanese and Alaskan cuisines.

Courtesy of Slader’s Alaskan Dumpling Co

Slader's Alaskan Dumpling Co.

Restaurant, Russian
Slader's Alaskan Dumpling Co., Searcy
Slader's Alaskan Dumpling Co., Searcy | Courtesy of Slader's Alaskan Dumpling Co.
Slader’s Alaskan Dumpling Co. serves up something a bit different from the traditional Southern fare. Slader Marshall was born in Arkansas and brought up in Juneau in Alaska before returning to Arkansas as a student at Harding University. In January 2014, he set up the Dumpling Co. to serve up traditional pel’meni, a classic Alaskan dish brought to the states by Russian settlers. It consists of beef, potato, or pork dumplings with a blob of butter or sour cream on top. The restaurant has picked up plenty of press coverage focusing on the curious taste of Alaska on offer in Arkansas, and it’s become a favorite of Harding students.

Kibo Midnight Oil Coffee House

You can go to Starbucks in Searcy if you want, or you can head to the Midnight Oil Coffee House for some real coffee and local culture. Just north of the Harding University campus, the coffee house is the ideal place to relax, study and enjoy some homemade cakes and coffee. Owned by the non-profit Kibo Group who works with communities in East Africa, the coffee house uses beans roasted by RoZark Hills Coffee Roasterie in nearby Rose Bud. Among the signature coffees on offer are the café Vienna, a latte with French vanilla syrup and cinnamon, and the Valencia, a latte with chocolate and orange added for extra flavor. There’s work from local artists on the walls and regular sessions from Searcy musicians.

Kibo Midnight Oil Coffee House, 801 E Race Avenue, Searcy, AR, +1 501 268 9014

Casa Brava

Restaurant, Mexican
Casa Brava is a local favorite in Searcy and regarded as one of the best spots in town for Mexican cuisine. You’ll find the family restaurant in central Searcy just south of Harding University on East Beebe Capps Expressway. It’s also right next to the Searcy Bike Trail, making it the ideal place to eat if you’re out on a walk or cycle ride. The menu features Mexican classics like tamales, fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and burritos. Among the signature dishes are steamed shrimp with onions, tomatoes and avocado and poblano peppers stuffed with Monterey Jack cheese and then battered and deep-fried.

Whistle Stop Barbeque

Located on West Beebe Capps Expressway, the Whistle Stop Barbeque has a big reputation in Searcy and in Arkansas for the quality of their ribs and catfish. They’ve won plenty of plaudits and awards from the local press, including several ‘Best of the Best’ awards from Searcy newspaper The Daily Citizen. The extensive menu includes appetizers like BBQ cheese fries and Texas wontons, catfish mains served up with French fries, hush puppies, and tartar sauce, and the famous Whistle Stop ribs — half slabs and full slabs are available. For a real taste of the South, try the barbecue sandwiches with pulled pork, pulled chicken or sliced beef brisket.

Whistle Stop Barbeque, 2315 W Beebe Capps Expressway, Searcy, AR, +1 501 305 4227

Pasta Grill

The Pasta Grill on East Race Avenue near to the Searcy Square Shopping Center is known for its quality Italian dishes made with the very best local ingredients. Opened in August 2010 by owners Scott and Bethany Palmer, the Pasta Grill took a ‘Best of the Best’ award from The Daily Citizen for the top notch food. Among the signature dishes on offer are chicken primavera, Italian sausage piccante, fettuccine carbonara, and portabella ravioli. One other curious dish to look out for is the roasted garlic chicken cheesecake, a blend of roasted garlic chicken, peppers, onions and cream, cheddar and parmesan cheeses.

Pasta Grill, 2831 E Race Avenue, Searcy, AR, +1 501 268 8880

Fuji Steakhouse and Sushi Bar

Bar, Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
Fuji Steakhouse and Sushi Bar is the place to go in Searcy to sample some Asian cuisine. With a traditional Japanese menu, the steakhouse and sushi bar offers a huge menu packed with Japanese classics like sushi, teriyaki and hibachi combos. You’ll find the restaurant just off Highway 64, ideally placed across from the Holiday and Microtel Inns — perfect if you’re staying in town and need somewhere local. The dishes to sample include hibachi chicken, steak, salmon and shrimp, sashimi, tekka and sake don, or karashi, or for something simpler and a little less exotic, try katsu don, a dish of pork tenderloin with vegetables and eggs and rice.

FroYo Factory

Restaurant, Dessert
Just a few minutes’ walk from the Fuji Steakhouse is FroYo Factory, a unique concept restaurant that only serves up desserts in the form of frozen yogurts. You can head in and grab some dessert to take away with you or dine in, depending on your tastes. There are different flavors available that change every week, with over 40 toppings to add like syrups, fresh fruit and candied bits and pieces. Some of the most recent flavored yogurts include chocolate, espresso, pumpkin pie, orange sorbet, spiced apple pie and sea salt caramel pretzel.

Burrito Day Cafe

Burrito Day Cafe opened up in 2013 in historic downtown Searcy on East Center Avenue close to Spring Park and the Robbins Sandford Grand Hall. Burrito Day Cafe serves up quality fresh burritos and tacos for breakfast and lunch. You can build your own burritos packed with eggs, salsa, sweet potato, steak, pulled pork and enjoy with guacamole, a muffin topped with cream cheese icing or chocolate chip scones. All of the ingredients and produce used at the café is locally sourced from Arkansas farms and suppliers, and along with burritos, you can pick up nachos, quesadillas, and tacos.

The Greek House Grill

The Greek House Grill on East Beebe Capps is another favorite place to head to if you’re working on campus at Harding University. The grill serves up classic Greek and Mediterranean fare and often caters for big parties like weddings and birthdays. The menu is packed with salads, platters, gyros, flatbread dishes and soups like Greek lemon chicken. Amongst the classics on the menu like calamari, tzatziki, spanakopita and Greek flatbreads are dishes such as pork medallions served with sun-dried tomato chutney and charbroiled local Arkansas lamb with traditional mint jelly.

Greek House Grill, 1211 E Beebe Capps Expressway, Searcy, AR, +1 501 268 3202

The Rock House Restaurant

Restaurant, American, $$$
The Rock House Restaurant is a venture in Searcy that opened at the start of 2015. The restaurant is packed with music memorabilia and hosts live sessions, all the while serving up American classics like huge steaks and catfish. You can enjoy your dinner whilst perusing posters from the days when The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix were playing live across the USA. One artist that appeared live at the Rock House was the up and coming country star, Tim Hadler. On the menu are dishes like 14oz rib eye steaks, grilled and fried shrimp, blackened tilapia and Philly cheese steak sandwiches.

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