The Grapevine Restaurant

Prime Rib That's Worth The Drive
by W.C. Jameson

Special to the Log Cabin

Highway 22 has long been one of my favorite drives in the Natural State, with images of some of it's scenic countryside worthy of being placed on book covers or calendars.

These kinds of thoughts were in my mind as son Will and I wound along this route on our way into the western Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma. On entering the quiet town of Paris around dinnertime, I was inspired to visit old friend Steve Williams and ask him for directions to a good cheeseburger joint.

We found Steve busy at his place of business, and after a few pleasantries he asked us about our dinner plans. I inquired about cheeseburgers and he in turn asked us if we liked prime rib. When we admitted we did, he invited us to dinner at the Grapevine Restaurant. The Grapevine, said Steve is legendary in these parts. After one meal of prime rib I can understand why.

The Grapevine Restaurant is located near the eastern edge of town on the north side of Highway 22. The somewhat unpretentious building provides no indication of the fine fare found within.

After being joined by Steve's wife, Chris, we dined on some of the best prime rib I've ever encountered in Arkansas. Succulent, juicy, high-quality beef and stock accompanied by a great salad and baked potato, this meal was considerably better than similar ones I've dined on in some of Little Rock's poshier restaurants. And the price was less than half of what I paid in the Rock City.

The next time I'm in the mood for prime rib, I am going to make the approximately 90-mile drive to this pleasant town of about 4,000 friendly souls. One caution: Since the prime rib is a special and not on the menu, call a head and ask about it before making the trip.
(* GRAPEVINE NOTE: We serve prime rib every Friday and Saturday evening)

On the other hand, you won't be disappointed with other items on the Grapevine's menu. In addition to prime rib, this restaurant is also well known throughout the area for the variety of smoked meats offered including brisket, ham steak, pork ribs, and chicken. The French dip sandwich appears to be a local favorite and the regular chef's salad is big enough to feed three people.

Waitresses at the Grapevine were friendly, cheerful, efficient and attentive without being intrusive. The dinner crowd at the restaurant on this particular Friday night was an ebullient bunch and as a newcomer I got the feeling everyone knew everyone else and that meals at the Grapevine were considered to be special occasions which included lots of visiting with friends, catching up on local goings-on, pleasant conversations, and eating scrumptious food. I came away not only with the satisfaction of a fine meal but with the notion that Paris is a very friendly place.

The Grapevine is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The telephone number is 479-963-2413.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: W.C. Jameson is an associate professor of geography at the University of Central Arkansas and an author. His column on Foods and Restaurants appears Tuesdays in the Log Cabin Democrat.)


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