Let’s Eat: Mama K’s is more than OK!


Julie, Kyle and Kylie Orr run Mama K’s, named after Kyle’s mother. ROB ROEDEL

Kyle and Julie Orr opened Mama K’s in the Lono community — in the southern part of Hot Spring County — in October 2014.

“We saw a need for a restaurant in this area,” Julie said. “We looked at one location, but the deal fell through, so we decided to build instead. Our family and friends contributed to our recipes. We also love to explore new ideas.”

Kyle and Julie are at the restaurant every day and enjoy meeting their growing list of guests from across Arkansas and the United States. Their daughter, Kylie, also works in the establishment, which is named after Kyle’s mother, Kay. On the day of my visit, Mama Kay called in her lunch order as usual. This family has a heart for serving others and is always quick to offer genuine smiles and kindness to guests.

The interior of the charming, simple structure has a warm feel. The walls are adorned with trophy buck mounts and huge bass mounts. There is also a nice collection of antique soft drink bottles on a display shelf. Be sure to ask Kyle, Julie and Kylie who has harvested the best deer.

Fabulous daily specials are offered, including chicken-fried steak, chicken-fried chicken, ribs, chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, frog legs and much more. Thursday’s special is always Mama K’s choice. One of the restaurant’s busiest days is Saturday, when charcoal-grilled ribeye and sirloin steaks are featured.

My meal at Mama K’s started off with a Fender Bender, a large bed of steak fries topped with tangy baked beans, fresh coleslaw and perfect chopped, smoked pork. I’ve had a few fender benders in my time, but never one that made me as happy as Mama K’s version. The restaurant also serves a larger version of the dish named the Train Wreck.

Mama K’s uses a unique cornmeal breading on the USDA pond-raised catfish served with all the trimmings. ROB ROEDEL

Next, Kylie brought me a beautiful, USDA pond-raised catfish dinner. Mama K’s unique cornmeal breading provided a nice crunch. The catfish was a winner, as were the homemade hush puppies, coleslaw, brown beans and french fries. I ate both the catfish fillets, as I simply couldn’t stop.

Don’t miss Mama K’s chicken-fried chicken. The seasoned piece of golden, southern Grant County heaven was accompanied by real mashed potatoes, fresh sautéed squash and a yeast roll. The chicken and potatoes were coated with white gravy. Julie told me that they try to source vegetables from local residents’ gardens during the growing seasons. I wanted to high-five her for supporting their neighbors and then go high-five Kyle, as the squash was outstanding.

For dessert, I was treated to a huge piece of Chocolate Lasagna, the featured dessert when I visited. The creamy, sweet treat featured layers and layers of chocolate pudding, whipped cream and a chocolate cookie crust. Other featured desserts range from homemade pies to banana pudding to fresh-baked cakes.