Take a ride to the Crazy Donkey Grill


The Hurd family has turned a vision into reality in the east Arkansas town of Palestine that includes the Crazy Donkey Grill, a wonderful dining destination.

The family has been in the construction business for years, which led to Joshua Hurd craftingcustom furniture from reclaimed wood. His wife, Brandy, designs the internationally popular items. They were looking for a retail space to display their furniture in Palestine, which resulted in the vision to revive an entire block of buildings. Joshua’s dad and mom, Randy and Ladonna, quickly fell in love with the vision and the project. The family’s “labor of love” resulted in a custom furniture store, a boutique clothing store, a sporting goods store and the restaurant named the Crazy Donkey Grill.

The restaurant is named after Domino, one of the family’s mini-donkeys at their Tiny Hurd Ranch. They call him Crazy Donkey because he often is, well, crazy.

“We wanted to create a small-town environment to provide a great place to shop, relax and have a great meal,” Randy said.

The artichoke spinach dip, cheese dip and salsa are very good, as are the tortilla chips that are prepared fresh in-house. The fried mushrooms are golden-brown pieces of fried goodness that are great dipped in the house-made ranch dressing.

The Boondocks Steak

The Boondocks Steak is a 16-ounce rib-eye that the Hurds season with a secret blend of spices. The steak was tender and tasted great. It was served with grilled asparagus, vegetables, a house salad and a baked potato.

I sampled the Downsouth Pork Chop, which is a bone-in, thick-cut pork chop, lightly seasoned, grilled and placed on a bed of yummy rice. It was served with smashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and a roll. I love bone-in pork chops, and this one did not disappoint.

The Farm Chicken

The Farm Chicken featured a stunning presentation of two grilled chicken breasts topped with sautéed mushrooms and melted cheese. The taste matched the attractiveness of the dish. It was served with rice, grilled asparagus and sautéed vegetables.

The diverse menu includes fried rice with grilled chicken or steak, egg and California vegetables served with house-made Yum Yum sauce. They don’t call it the Crazy Donkey for nothing. The fried rice is as good as any I have ever had and the sauce, well, Yum Yum doesn’t do it justice. I’d call it Crazy Yum Yum.

There is an entire page of Mexican selections ranging from nachos, fajitas, quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos, burritos and carnitas.

Strawberry Cheesecake Pizza

A local radio personality told me that the entrée pizzas at the Crazy Donkey are the best in the area. I sampled the chocolate chip and strawberry cheesecake dessert pizzas and give his recommendation two thumbs up.

Lee Miller is the manager of the restaurant, which features a Delta feel with exposed beams, and friendly hospitality that makes a guest feel welcome.

The Hurd Herd, owners of the Crazy Donkey Grill.

Randy’s mother, Della Hurd, lends a hand by preparing the homemade cookies and brownies Ladonna’s mom, Annie Sue Latham, prepares an out-of-this-world coconut cake that guests rave about. I tried each of them and you can trust me, these are mama-made good!

The Hurds would never bray, but they should because they have created something special in Palestine, and the Crazy Donkey Grill is a crown jewel of their love of community.



Dining recommendations? Contact Rob Roedel at rroedel@aecc.com