The best way to get to Bransom from Little Rock is up Highway 65, and if you pass through Greenbrier while hungry, you’re in luck. At the Wagon Wheel, freshly-baked, high-domed rolls envelop breakfast sandwiches of eggs and Petit Jean bacon; bread baskets come piled with white toast that is rich as cake; and tall meringue pies are blue-ribbon beauties.
We were taken to the Wagon Wheel by our favorite Arkansas tipsters, Tony and Donna Perrin, and while they both sang the praises of the good pies and breads, Tony was particularly enthusiastic about the chocolate gravy. Yes, chocolate gravy — with morning biscuits! Normal gravy is available, too, and it is excellent, but we had to try this extremely odd variation; and lo, it’s pretty darn good. It is not as sweet as pudding and in fact it does seem to have a savory component, but there is no denying its chocolate essence. Chocolate pudding is not for everyone, but if your taste buds want to go where few taste buds have gone before, we recommend it.
Despite its location on the road to Bransom, this is a cozy sort of place where locals hang out and discuss things over coffee every morning. We were charmed by veteran waitress Lynn Lockie who, when she came to take our order, pulled up a chair and sat down to write on her order pad. “My legs are tired,” she said. “I’m not; just my legs.” Lynn confided that a few days before, the cook had put too much corn starch in the pies, but that they were definitely up to snuff today. Yes, indeed, the tall meringues were Arkansas-excellent, and that is saying a lot, for Arkansas is one of this nation’s premier pie places.