The East End Café has been a local landmark to the residents of the close-knit community of East End for about 20 years. It is known for its homemade offerings and excellent, hometown-style service.
Owner Todd Taylor is a seasoned 32-year restaurant veteran who has owned other eateries in central Arkansas and managed locations of many large, national chain franchises. He acquired the East End Café in 2012.
“We strive to deliver homemade food based on dishes that only come from fresh ingredients,” Taylor said. “We hand-bread our fried foods with our own batter and seasonings. Some of our menu items are based on favorites at my previous restaurants and others are East End originals.”
The café offers a potpourri of daily specials for lunch that are served with your choice of two vegetables that include corn, hand-battered onion rings, pinto beans, mashed potatoes, green beans, great northern beans, black-eyed peas, french fries, tater tots, fried okra, fried squash, rice pilaf, macaroni and cheese, baked potato and coleslaw. Dinner specials are offered on Thursday (steak), Friday (fried catfish) and Saturday (steak and salmon).
“We have some people that eat here three times a day,” said Ricci Arnold, the restaurant manager. The café is a community gathering place for residents of East End and surrounding communities. A customer started a community “library” at the café where patrons swap books. Arnold said that the East End Café has hosted several fundraisers for residents in need, concerts and even weddings. The venue will seat 150 for meals.
Breakfast is served from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. daily, so Taylor wanted me to try the Western Omelet. It was served with two sausage patties, cheese-covered hash browns and toast. The omelet was delightful and loaded with bacon, sausage, chopped bell peppers, onions and cheese.
Salads are very popular at the East End Café. I tried the Grilled Chicken Salad that features mesquite-seasoned chicken breast, diced tomato, black olives, mushrooms and cheddar cheese on a bed of fresh lettuce. The chicken and other ingredients blended to deliver a healthy, filling salad that was quite good.
The East End Cheeseburger is an East End Café staple. The half-pound patty is a must-try for hamburger lovers. The thick, juicy patty is filled with flavor. It was served with the café’s hand-breaded onion rings.
The farm-raised USDA catfish filets were dressed in the East End Café’s cornmeal-based breading and cooked perfectly on the outside with a golden crunch. The inside was hot and moist.
The hand-battered Chicken Fried Chicken was finger-licking great. The team at East End Café hand-cut their chicken breasts and hand-bread the pieces, which results in the perfect fried chicken breast. It is topped with white gravy that accents the wonderful flavor of the chicken. My plate included mashed potatoes and gravy, a nice fluffy roll and green beans with bacon.
A relatively new treat at the East End Café is homemade fried pies. Apple, chocolate and peach are available. Arnold brought a chocolate version to the table for me to sample. First, it was huge and second, it looked and smelled amazing. Then, I took a bite. It was as good and warm as a hug from your grandma. The crust was perfectly golden and the chocolate filling was warm and very flavorful.
A variety of other homemade pies and treats are made daily.
The slogan at the East End Café is “come as friends, leave as family.” The team at the café stand by the slogan, and you will also leave with the memory of a great meal and friendly service that is second to none.
Dining recommendations? Contact Rob Roedel at firstname.lastname@example.org