Brenda’s Country Cafe

Small Town Café
Memorable
One of the best
Michael Stern | August 07, 2019
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Believe the full name of this restaurant. It is a genuine country cafe: live music on the weekends, all-you-can-eat catfish Friday; well-worn booths occupied by regulars; walls decorated with fishing trophies; and a priced-right menu that includes such downhome staples as chicken-fried steak, a pork fritter sandwich, and tater tots as an optional starch to accompany any meal.

There are platters and sandwiches at lunch, but it’s breakfast, starting at 5am, for which I’ll return. Portions are generous but not cartoon-large, except maybe for the pancakes, which are measured by plate-size rather than inches. A medium pancake fills a dinner plate. A large one completely eclipses it. They are good pancakes, light and tasty with enough substance that they do not become an endless syrup sponge as is the case with so many inferior diner pancakes.

Chicken-fried steak is fairly modest-sized. It is tender and deeply beefy, encased in a golden crust that stays crisp even under a mantle of peppery cream gravy. With tater tots on the side, it’s a wonderful mountain breakfast. That same good gravy is what comes on a basic “large biscuit and gravy” breakfast. The biscuit itself (also available in a smaller version) is fresh, tender, fragile-skinned, a joy to fork up by the piece and push through gravy or dip in the yolk of a fried egg. It is good enough to warrant ordering what the menu bills as a Haystack: that’s the biscuit covered with hash browns, eggs, gravy, and melting orange cheese.

No single item on the Hungry Man Breakfast is outlandishly sized — it comes with only a “medium” plate-size pancake. But in this case, the pancake is merely a sideshow to a grand meal that includes biscuits and gravy, chunky American-fried potatoes, three eggs, and a seriously oinky trio of bone-in ham, bacon, and sausage patties.

If you are a fan of good, old-fashioned, Roadfood town cafes serving excellent regional food to a clientele of mostly locals, take Highway 62 (aka U.S. Route 412) through northern Arkansas and stop at Brenda’s in Mountain Home. It’s a true and happy Ozark experience to remember.

What to Eat
Brenda’s Country Cafe, Hungry Man Breakfast
Hungry Man Breakfast
Must-Try
Missing from this Hungry Man breakfast photo: biscuits, gravy, pancake
Brenda’s Country Cafe, Chicken-Fried Steak
Chicken-Fried Steak
Must-Try
America's wiener schnitzel: chicken-fried steak (with tater tots in back)
Brenda’s Country Cafe, Biscuits & Gravy
Biscuits & Gravy
Must-Try
Rich, fluffy biscuits under a mantle of pepper-cream gravy
Brenda’s Country Cafe, Pancake
Pancake
Must-Try
Pancake isn't just immense. It's refined and flavorful.
Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
No

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