Jim and Aundrea Sparks had lunch at the Home Plate Café in Hot Springs Village and ended up buying the restaurant. The couple’s venture has proven successful as they have expanded four times since January of 2008.
The Sparks, who both had careers with national chain restaurants, lovingly treat customers like family in the warm and inviting establishment that is adorned with baseball collectables.
“We provide good home cooking for our customers and great service,” Jim said. “It is hard to determine what is better: our food or our service. Our restaurant is the second busiest in Garland County.”
According to Aundrea, many of the customers dine at the Home Plate Café more than once each day. “If they don’t stop by, we will call and check on them,” she said with a smile.
The menu options are plentiful, with daily lunch and dinner specials. Tuesday evenings feature theme-based offerings including French Cuisine Night, A Taste of the Orient, Oktoberfest and A Taste of New Orleans. Breakfast is also served daily.
“Our Tuesday night themes are very popular and fun,” Aundrea said. “We love to get creative with our menu and offer unique dishes to our customers.”
Aundrea’s Spinach and Artichoke Salad, which is Aundrea’s creation, includes fresh spinach, bacon, egg, cucumber, black olives, red onion, green onion, tomato, pepperocinis, Parmesan cheese and marinated artichokes. Each bite delivered unique tastes that led to another bite.
The most popular appetizers at the Home Plate Café are fried dill pickles, boneless buffalo wings and fried green tomatoes. It was a tough call, so I tried all three and was impressed with each one.
A half-slab of the café’s St. Louis BBQ Ribs was delivered with a side of beans. The fall-off-the-bone tender meaty ribs were delicious. The beans are seasoned with smoked meat resulting in a unique, smoky flavor.
Like crab cakes? Then, you must try the homemade Maryland Lump Crab Cakes. These nice-sized treats are warm and tasty with a just-right crispness on the outside. They are served with a dipping sauce that enhances the fresh crab and custom-made breading.
Home Plate Café’s most popular special on Friday and Saturday evenings is their prime rib dinner. The culinary team slow roasts, certified Angus prime rib on Friday and Saturday evenings to the delight of customers. My cut was cooked perfectly and very tender. It was served with an open-faced baked sweet potato that made the plate very attractive.
Possum Pie is served at a few Arkansas restaurants, but the team at Home Plate Café’s version is some kind of special. The pie has a light and fluffy filling on a graham cracker crumb crust. The cream cheese and chocolate-layered filling has a fluffy topping, drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce.
The Hot Apple Dumpling was a great surprise. Home Plate Café’s team wraps a peeled, cored apple that is sweetly seasoned in a delightful, homemade crust and bakes it to perfection. The dumpling is drizzled with caramel sauce and served with a scoop a vanilla ice cream.
Make a run to the Home Plate Café and score a home run with friendly service and great food. They will treat you with a home field advantage that will make you feel like a winner!