Dennis Byrd, our Benton-based food correspondent, reports on a Friday night road trip to Hot Springs.
Dennis and his wife were leaving Hot Springs several years ago when they noticed the sign at the Fros-T-Treat at 1020 E. Grand Ave. It advertised: “Milkshake flavor of the month — PEACH.”
It was a memory that stuck with them. Dennis stopped there last month, but there were no peach shakes.
Knowing that Arkansas peaches are now ripe, though, Dennis and his wife decided to take the chance and drive to Hot Springs on Friday night.
You guessed it.
The peach shakes were on the menu and were the perfect complement to the hamburger and fries that were consumed on a picnic table next to the Fros-T-Treat.
The Fros-T-Treat, which meets my definition of an Arkansas classic, has a flavor of the month each month. I’ve been known to stop in late in October for a pumpkin milkshake.
Where is your favorite milkshake served? And where is your favorite dairy bar in Arkansas? The answer might be the same for both questions or you might have one place you prefer for milkshakes and another for the overall dairy bar experience.
I haven’t been out to the Salem Dairy Bar on Congo Road in Saline County in years, but it was a regular stop when I was a child and my grandparents in Benton had a lakehouse on Lake Norrell. Going and coming from the lake each summer, the Salem Dairy Bar was a required stop.
And while there are three or four places that vie for the title of my favorite cheeseburger in Arkansas, the Dairyland Drive-In on Arkansas Highway 161 at Prothro Junction certainly ranks in the top three. There’s something nice about leaving downtown Little Rock, crossing the bridge into North Little Rock, taking the Prothro Junction exit off Interstate 40 and eating lunch at Dairyland while sitting at the picnic table.
For now, though, the Fros-T-Treat is calling my name over in the Spa City.
The Dairy Freeze in Hiwasse, if it’s still there, had without any doubt the best cheeseburger in the world. Period. Bar none. But my favorite milkshake comes from Whataburger in Russellville. Although the Shake Shack in Marion comes in a close second on both, not to mention they have excellent catfish on Fridays and Loretta makes the most wonderful homemade pimento cheese….
Rex, you can also get a pretty good shake at that little roadside joint between Benton and Hot Springs on 70 (I never saw a sign that gave its name).
Their shakes a big and thick (although made with soft-serve ice cream, as are about 98% of all the shakes you can find in these parts). They also have some nice flavors such as blueberry, black cherry, butterscotch, hot fudge (but no peach like the Fros-T-Treat.
Them old boys at McClard’s still make a good shake, too.
As a ol’ boy what growed up in Arkadelphia, I’m sure you often frequented Cook’s Ice Cream on Albert Pike (where Gene Lockwood’s is located now). They had a hundred flavors, and curb service. Black Walnut was on the menu of shakes, also Texas Pecan. We used to love to pull up for curb service and get the carhops to recite the entire menu of shake flavors just to amuse ourselves. Or, you could go inside and sit at one of the tables, each of which has a remote jukebox gizmo attached to the wall — six tunes for a quarter.
Salem Dairy Bar still alive and well, would put it and the Kream Kastle on the right hand side of Hwy 70 to Hot Springs up against any of them.
One of my all-time favorites is Frozen Delite in Searcy. A practically unlimited choice of flavors, in whatever combo you want, and and real burger joint food.
I’ve lived in White County all of my 50+ years and agree that Searcy’s Frozen Delite is a great place. But if you are headed north on 167, keep going til you get to Bald Knob and hit The Bulldog. Daily plate lunch specials, good burgers, above average BBQ, great catfish, good shakes and, in season, fresh strawberry and peach shortcakes that are to die for. On summer weekends, you’ll have trouble finding a place to park because of all of the boaters with Tennessee plates going to/from Greer’s Ferry.
Since you bring up the Salem Dairy Bar, I must tout their newest treat. While nobody makes a fried chocolate pie like Couch’s Barbecue in Jonesboro, the Salem Dairy Bar has come up with its own rendition of a fried pie they call the fudge fried pie. But, you better show up early or call in an order and make sure they have them, because they go fast.
Salem Dairy Bar is also famous for fried pickles, which aren’t my thing, but their burgers are the kind that come in a brown paper bag and leave a dark spot of “burger juice” on the side of the sack by the time you get it home.
Floyd: I must second what you write about the Bulldog in Bald Knob. It is one of my favorite places in Arkansas. There are few better dishes in Arkansas each May than the Bulldog’s strawberry shortcake. And it’s REAL shortcake, not those soft cow piles that they sell in the grocery store and call shortcake — Rex.
The little DQ kind of place next to josie’s in waldenburg makes a hot fudge milkshake; best ever!
I forgot to drive by and look today,but the Fros-T-Treat was closed the last time we drove by it a month or so ago. There were big signs in the window about it being closed for non-payment of taxes. I hope it’s back open by now,or opens up again soon.