In search of pizza and beer!
Oh Arkansas. You are just a different breed aren’t you?
There is definitely a difference between Okies and Arkies. My very first experience in Arkansas, to say the least, was not impressive. As we drove from Oklahoma and Arkansas we realized every where we were headed was dry. Now I don’t know if you were familiar with the words dry or damp when it comes to communities. Here in Alaska we have many dry or damp areas so I’m very familiar with the term and I really wanted out of the dry area. I wanted some breakfast and my breakfast consist of some sort of red tomato based glass filled with ice yumminess seasoning and alcohol.
I wanted my liquid salad for breakfast.
Driving across the border we did find ourselves in a little stand on the side of the road. Hoping to ask for directions to the nearest bloody mary we stopped in to also see what they had to offer for goods. The place was called Patrick’s produce. It was very cute they had all sorts of different goods that they had made and can themselves but there was one special thing that I really wanted to try. Lemon stuffed olives. It actually sounds pretty good to put inside of a bloody mary which I tend to do often. I love to buy different olives and different sour pickled or canned ingredients to put in my bloody marys at home. So we decided to buy a jar of Patrick’s produce lemon stuffed olives. Well, it’s funky. It’s tough to eat. 4 years later and I still have the jar. I’m pretty sure I can use it as a cruel joke to somebody. If you ever want to try one I can definitely send you some. Also disappointing was the clerk at the counter said the closest bloody mary was a good hour away and that we should probably head back to Oklahoma if we wanted to get a bloody mary closer.
We continued our journey. Deeper into Arkansas. Started searching for different places to get food really wanted some pizza and beer. Again it’s dry so we decided to at least look for some pizza. We finally found a place attached to a Subway. Subway and a pizza / cal-zone / I don’t even know what to call it restaurant. This is when the real impressiveness of Arkansas shows through.
109 Hwy 71 S
Waldron, AR 72958
Subway restaurant and Mama DeLuca’s Pizza
I’m looking up at the menu and I see this half sandwich half cal-zone type dish. It essentially looks like you make a pizza and your roll it up like a burrito. Then you bake it in the oven and you consume the deliciousness of a pizza burrito.
So I asked the gentleman what all is inside this pizza burrito concoction. He looks up the menu, he looks at me, he looks at the menu, he looks back at me. Then he says “oh I don’t know what that is, I don’t know how to make that. Did you want it?” Which I answered, well, yeah it actually looks pretty good I just didn’t know what was in it. Can you make it? And his response was again look up at the menu, look at me, look at the menu, look back at me. And state “I don’t know how to make that, hold on“. This is when he went into the back room.
A few minutes later an older gentleman comes out. He looks up at the menu, looks back at me, looks back at the menu, looks back at me and asks “did you want this?” Which I replied “well yeah, it looks good, can you make this?”
At this point I realize that he is the manager of this restaurant. The young man assuming that he has new maybe does not know how to make this dish. Of course the manager should know how they make it. The manager’s response was “I don’t know how to make this. Are you sure you want it?” And at this point I’m not going to change my mind now I really really want this burrito Pizza thing. Should I have stopped now? Should I have just gotten my basic Italian sub? No. I really wanted this burrito Pizza thing. Out of spite and absolute curiosity.
Now that I have ordered this pizza-wrap I am watching him build it. He brings out this laminated how-to board. And it has pictures. The first picture is a bread shell, the picture to the right of it shows sauce and different ingredients then it goes down the line adding more ingredients. Adding cheese and toppings. Kind of like what you would see on the other half of this restaurant (subway) but instead of bread. It’s more of a tortilla shaped dough.
So I’m looking at this how to from upside down because I am on the other side of the counter. This manager is looking at the menu behind his head, looks down at the laminated how to guide, looks at me, looks at the ingredients, and this cycle continues about three or four more times. That is when the manager states “I don’t know how to do this, this whole thing is backwards“.
Mind you, I can read this picture how to guide from upside down and across the counter. I understand you have your base being the tortilla the sauce being pizza sauce and the different toppings that go with this pizza sauce. He decides to try to make it down to the ounce or gram of cheese for the cheese part of the how to guide down to the ounce or gram of meat when it came to the pepperoni slices. He was very very meticulous and how he had to be on his ingredients.
Now the fun part. We have the sauce, we have the meat, we have the cheese and the mushrooms and I think I even ordered olives on it. Now he must roll it into a burrito shape and bake it in the oven. I can see his mind struggling with the concept of Folding It rolling it. Granted I have difficulties and most of my burritos just turn into large tacos because they end up on rolling on themselves. But I am not employed at a restaurant of any fashion. Then the Saving Grace…..
Walking in comes another manager. She asks the first manager if he needs any help and he says yes I’ve never made this before. Where she states I’ve never made it either. Let me see what I can do. She struggles but she does eventually roll this pizza burrito concoction together she puts it on the oven the safe tray. And she places it into the oven. Now she turns and faces Jamie and I. And States “no one’s ever order this before. You’re the first customer that’s ever ordered it“.
This is what it all starts to make sense. I truly believe people in this town do not like to try new things. Change can be scary. The second manager, since we are the first ones to ever try this burrito Pizza concoction, is going to give it to us on the house. I stated that I didn’t have a problem paying for it, but she was pretty adamant on letting us try it.
It was delicious. For however long it took for us to get our Strombolini, it was actually really good. It was hot, it was flavorful, it was delicious. If you do ever drive thru Arkansas and you happen to be hungry and not in the mood for any alcohol you should stop here. It may take a while but it’s is actually quite delicious. This will keep your hunger at bay while you continue journey on to find more liquefied meals.
North Little Rock, Arkansas. We were half expecting a lot more gay bars in the area we were staying, but there were actually only a few. The first seemed swanky and fresh. The staff, so rude. I’m sorry that we are lesbians and we ventured into the men-favored gay bar. The bar tender there actually ignored us for a while, and then eventually asked “what you want?” when he finally graced us with his presence.
Not wanting to be rude ourselves, and really just needing a drink after a long drive, we stayed. We did start making some light coversation with other patrons and the staff. They gave us warning of the dangers of LGBT in Mississippi. They told us to stear clear of Mississippi and to not be too out in public. You can read more on their inaccuarte advice in the Mississippi section.
Anyways, we finally left this place, and its not even worth mentioning their name. That and I can’t recall it. We headed to Chaps, which totally sounds gay and gear toward men. These 2 bar tenders were awesome. Friendly and informative. They knew of the bar we had left and said that they have their stressful moments and its not the usual vibe.
Chaps is a small dive in the middle of a large shopping center parking lot. They were super slow that night (we were the only customers) but they had music and great conversation. They also warned us of the homophobic tendencies of Mississippi. If we didn’t have to get up and drive super early in the morning we would have stayed at Chaps the rest of the evening. Stop in and say hello, LGBT friendly and good atmosphere.