Gameday Guide: Where to Eat When Traveling to Watch the Hogs

This week is the first home SEC game for the Razorbacks, which means a ton of you will be making the trip up to Fayetteville to watch the game and take in some of the surroundings. If you do not travel up there frequently, picking a good spot to eat (or drink) can be a bit daunting with all of the options. It is equally difficult for those of you who make the trip for every game to find something new to eat.
So we partnered with our Northwest Arkansas brand, NWAeats, for a gameday guide to eating in Fayetteville. Fayetteville, and NWA as a whole, have many more amazing local spots to eat, these are just some of our favorites. Get out and explore the rapidly growing culinary scene.
Pre/Post Game Meal – These spots reflect some of the best all around spots in Fayetteville, if you do not get up much check these out.
Hugo’s – There is really no place that is more classic Fayetteville than Hugo’s. Hugo’s has been tucked away in a basement off the downtown square since 1977 and really is the quintessential dive bar. You will find some amazing burgers, surprisingly awesome crepes, and a good selection of craft beers.
Apple Blossom – If you do not spend much time in NWA, you will quickly realize that the concept of breweries with great food hasn’t caught on much. The one exception is Apple Blossom. They keep a solid food menu, and whatever you do, grab dessert. Also, their quality beer is still poorly distributed around the state, so enjoy some things you have not tasted.
Wood Stone – Amazing Neapolitan pizza is still hard to find in NWA, however Wood Stone makes it worth the stop with their fantastic toppings. I almost always grab a Korean BBQ pizza while in town.
Deluxe Burger – If you come from Little Rock, Deluxe Burger’s high end burger style will feel a lot like Big Orange. The menu also throws in some quality dogs as well for a great overall stop.
Khana Indian Grill – Fayetteville is full of amazing diversity in the food scene, Khana is a good example. You will find great authentic Indian food that still very approachable for people who do not eat a lot of Indian.

Something New – Every year there is a wave of new restaurants that popup, which is great for those of us who are in the area frequently. Here are some of favorite new eats.
Bocca Italian – Bocca opened quietly over the summer and has quickly grown into the best Italian in town. They cook almost everything in the wood fire oven where you will find much more than pizza on the menu. Keep an eye out for some special aged steaks they are rolling out this weekend.
Kraken Killer Seafood – Kraken’s seafood steamed in a bag concept is not new, but the execution is solid. You can pick a variety of seafoods, spices, and heat levels along with addons. Make sure you get some Krak fries to start though, these are fantastic.
Con Quesos – Con Quesos brings really good tacos that are a great change of pace from the typical tex-mex. You will find unique flavors like chicken tikka masala, jerk chicken, and brisket that you are not likely to find anywhere else on a taco. Their dips are equally as special and amazing, designed to be a celebration of cheese dip hailing from Arkansas.
Big Sexy/Yacht Club – Food trucks are thriving in NWA in ways we could only dream in the rest of the state. Big Sexy, parked at the Yacht Club food truck park is the newest to the area. They bring a high end take to food trucks that is both refreshing and exciting.

Dickson Street Experience – Dickson really is one of the most underrated party streets in America. After a game like Alabama, you can bet the street will be alive and fun no matter what the outcome. Like with any party street the real experience is hopping in from bar to bar. Places like George’s Majestic and Farrell’s Lounge are sure to bring some huge crowds and a party spirit. Smoke and Barrel, Infusion, and others are going to be your cocktail stops. Then spots like Hog Haus and Dickson Street pub are going to have be your typical college town watering holes.
Don’t forget some of the slightly off-Dickson places like Maxine’s that are outstanding establishments where most of the locals are going to go. Either way, if this is your type of scene then you can’t go wrong with post game on Dickson.

Post Gameday Hangover – Win or lose, game day in Fayetteville might easily leave you a little foggy the next morning if you stay in town. Thankfully there are some great coffee and brunch options worth checking out.
Arsaga’s – Arsaga’s is really the gem of Fayetteville coffee and breakfast eats. The Depot location off Dickson is certainly the most popular spot and has a solid food lineup, be sure however to check out their new(ish) location off the square at Church and Center which offers a really outstanding toast bar.
Onyx Coffee Lab – Onyx is probably the best known coffee brand in the state, and for very good reason. Their carefully sourced and meticulously roasted beans are some of the best in the world. The Fayetteville location is a little off the typical visitor path, but worth visiting. If you are up for a short drive however I would recommend going to the new location in Bentonville.
Puritan Coffee – The Puritan owners started off working for Onyx, they keep the Onyx beans and attention to detail, but provide a bit more in terms of alcoholic beverages. Plus the Dickson Street location puts it closer to the heart of Fayetteville, so if you want Onyx but don’t feel like leaving the cozy confines of the hill, swing over to Puritan.
Farmer’s Table – Brunch is a big deal in Fayetteville, and no one does it quite like Farmer’s Table. You will find some outstanding, local sourced, breakfast dishes that are sure to shake off the night before. Get here early though because it will fill up fast.
Greenhouse Grille – Greenhouse Grille was really one of the main drivers in the Fayetteville local sustainable food movement, something they like to call conscious cuisine. Their brunch may be the best meal served, and that is saying a lot considering every meal is great.
Bordino’s – Bordino’s falls into that classic Fayetteville category, the Italian spot has been churning out quality chefs since the Houston Nutt era. Dinner here might be a bit much for game day, but swing in the next day for a classic brunch.

Head North to Bentonville – When you hear about the NWA food scene exploding, understand that it is not just happening in Fayetteville. Bentonville is quickly becoming the culinary gem of the state. There are very few bad places, but here are some of our favorites to stop in and eat.
Oven and Tap – Everything at Oven and Tap is centered around their wood burning oven. They use all local ingredients to make up some really outstanding dishes that somehow turn out even more amazing when cooked around 1,000°.
Pressroom – Pressroom started life as a coffee focused local fixture crammed into a historic downtown building. This year they made the short trip on the other side of the square to a beautiful new building that allowed the place to expand the culinary and bar side. The result is one of Bentonville’s best restaurants.
Tusk and Trotter – Tusk and Trotter was not the first restaurant to locate to the square, but they were the ones who kicked off the culinary growth. Chef and owner Rob Nelson has created one of the most unique meat-centric menus that continues to push boundaries on what you expect from this type of spot.
River Grille – If there is a culinary Godfather in the Bentonville food scene, it is probably River Grille. The 16 year old restaurant was around before the food scene exploded in Bentonville and has given way to a number of outstanding chefs. It is also no where close to the square, which keeps it a local secret worth checking out.
Butcher and Pint – The Bentonville butcher shop went through a number of iterations before Little Rock’s own Travis McConnell (Butcher and Public) moved up earlier this year as part of a large rebranding effort. The space just completed the transition a few weeks ago and brings an outstanding food menu based around McConnell’s legendary butchery talents set inside a newly designed sports bar and tap room building.
Foxhole Public House – Fayetteville has some great bars, but if you love quality craft cocktails then nothing in NWA compares to Foxhole. Owned by the same folks who started Pink House Alchemy, which most good bars across the state use extensively, Foxhole is really good at the classic cocktails as well as modern twists. You can also pick up coffee in the morning, steamed buns for dinner, or better yet hit up the taco truck next door, Señor Hogg’s, for some of the best street tacos around.

Greg Henderson
Author: Greg Henderson

Owner/Publisher - Rock City Eats, Rock City Life, Rock City Times

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