Cotham’s Mercantile

Review by: Jane & Michael Stern

Sadly, the original Cotham’s Mercantile, perched on stilts above a slow-flowing river in Scott, burnt down in 2017. But the Little Rock location still thrives and continues to serve what made Cotham’s a destination dear to the heart of adventurous eaters: fine plate lunch and huge hamburgers.

Customers come for hearty noonday meals built around catfish, chicken-fried steak, or chicken-fried chicken smothered with white gravy, and such daily specials as chicken & dumplings (Tuesday), Southern-fried chicken (Thursday), and pork chops (Friday). Side dishes include corn fritters, hush puppies, collard greens, mac & cheese, and blackeyed peas.

There are salads and sandwiches, too, but the king of this menu is known as a Hubcap Cheeseburger. It is an immense circle of cooked ground beef – close to a foot in diameter and a half-inch thick – that comes in a bun that nearly fits, dressed with a salad’s worth of mustard, lettuce, tomato slices, pickles, and hoops of onion. Incredibly, it is possible to lift it with two hands from plate to mouth. The outlandish specialty has earned such renown that the store’s push-pin map of the United States has no room left for any more pins to show where Hupcap-loving customers have come from; business cards from visitors around the globe are tacked up all around it. Extremely hungry groups can order a quadruple hubcap burger for all of $25.99.

Desserts include a variety of Arkansas fried pies: apple, peach, cherry, chocolate, and apricot.

What To Eat

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Hubcap Hamburger

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Fried Chicken

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Chicken Fried Steak

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Fried Pie

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Onion Rings

DISH

Cotham’s Mercantile Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Cotham’s Mercantile?

2 Responses to “Cotham’s Mercantile”

bweiner
bweiner

September 10th, 2012

Cotham’s absolutely lived up to the hype, and then some. We went expecting a delicious burger and left receiving so much more.

First, the eating experience at Cotham’s is second to none. It’s not often you have the opportunity to eat in a dive this far off the beaten path and actually eat food. For those unfamiliar, Cotham’s is located in an old general store from the first half of the 20th century.

As for the food, the Hubcap burger delivered on every expectation. It’s made with incredibly well-seasoned meat, every bit as juicy as the pictures depict. And what’s a good burger without a little grease?

However, to our surprise, the menu at Cotham’s is incredibly deep and versatile. We tried the various appetizers: corn fritters, onion rings, fried tomatoes, etc. They were all top-notch. After our waitress figured out we were from out-of-town (which didn’t take long) she started bringing us items to try that we didn’t order. The chicken-fried steak was a treat for an unsuspecting northerner. Perhaps the biggest surprise and maybe best dish we tried was the highly recommended catfish, lightly breaded and deliciously seasoned.

At the end of the meal, Cotham’s took the experience from amazing to truly legendary, when we devoured multiple slices of their amazing fried pie. Apple and chocolate were definitely the winners. Anyone who is a fan of roadfood MUST find a way to get themselves to Cotham’s.

Reply

Jane & Michael Stern
Jane & Michael Stern

March 13th, 2008

My husband came here when he was at a military training school, and he loved it so much that we made a special stop on our cross-country trip to another duty station. It doesn’t look like much on the outside, or the inside for that matter, but the food is great.

We all got the hubcap burgers with either fries or the fried green tomatoes. The burger is probably the best-tasting burger we have ever eaten. The atmosphere is homey, but you have to look past the nicknacks to really appreciate it. It isn’t exactly dirty, but it’s so old that it’s hard to tell.

My teen son still talks about going back some day, and we will definitely make it a “must stop” on our way back west.

Reply

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