Brenda’s Country Cafe | Sweet Ozark Eats in Arkansas

Review by: Michael Stern

Now, That’s Country!

Listen to live music on the weekends. Come for all-you-can-eat catfish on Friday. Fishing trophies decorate the walls. Regular customers occupy well-worn booths. The priced-right menu includes such downhome staples as chicken-fried steak, a pork fritter sandwich, and tater tots as an optional starch to accompany any meal. Now, that’s country — sweet Ozark eats!

Come for Breakfast

Platters and sandwiches star at lunch, but breakfast lures the locals, starting at 5am. The kitchen portions out hearty meals — 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. Light and tasty with enough substance that they do not become an endless syrup sponge, these pancakes set a high bar.

Modest-sized, tender and deeply beefy, chicken fried steak wins a blue ribbon. I rank it right up with the best of Texas and Clanton’s on old Route 66. Expert cooking encases it in a golden crust that stays crisp even under a torrent of peppery cream gravy. Have tater tots on the side, and you will enjoy an Ozark breakfast to remember. That same good gravy adorns a basic “large biscuit and gravy” breakfast. The biscuit itself (also available in a smaller version) boasts a tender, fragile crust. Fork it up by the piece and push through the gravy or dip it in the yolk of a fried egg. Better yet: Order what the menu bills as a Haystack: that’s the biscuit covered with hash browns, eggs, gravy, and melting orange cheese.

Hungry Man Breakfast

Consider the Hungry Man Breakfast. No single element is huge. It comes with only a “medium” plate-size pancake. But in this case, the pancake merely accompanies 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.

Yes, It’s a Roadfood Gem

Are you are a fan of good, old-fashioned, Roadfood town cafes? Do you treasure excellent regional food eaten alongside a clientele of locals? If so, take Highway 62 (aka U.S. Route 412) through northern Arkansas and stop at Brenda’s in Mountain Home. It’s a true country experience to remember: sweet Ozark eats, indeed.

What To Eat

Hungry Man Breakfast

Chicken-Fried Steak

Biscuits & Gravy



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