What do I love about restaurants like Shep’s Farmhouse in Dumas? Simply put … everything!
Shep’s has such a diverse menu, you could eat there many weeks in a row and always find different dishes
During my visit to Shep’s, I met owners Ray Shepherd and Jennifer Bonds, along with their college-age daughter, Madison Bonds. Ray and Jennifer also are quite proud of the rest of their children: Jordan Jones, John Scott Shepherd and Sydney Shepherd.
The couple had a dream of opening a business that could employ friends and neighbors in the Dumas area. They realized their dream in 2014 when they launched Shep’s Farmhouse.
While Ray, Madison and I were talking, Jennifer was working her culinary magic. Before I knew it, a Fried
Appetizer Platter appeared at our table. The platter included fried dill pickle chips, mushrooms and banana peppers. This trio of pure happiness was made even better with homemade ranch dip accentuating the flavor of each golden bite.
My favorite appetizer, Shep’s Queso, was served with fresh, fried pork skins and corn tortilla chips. I learned the queso recipe is a closely held secret developed by Ray and his deer camp buddies.
A signature at Shep’s is the Fresh Seafood Combo. This huge plate includes four pieces of USDA fried catfish, six butterflied fried shrimp and a side of hushpuppies, along with fries, slaw and homemade tartar sauce.
Here is a tip for you: on “Fish Fridays,” Ray and Jennifer add catfish steak to the daily lunch buffet. True catfish connoisseurs often prefer this old-school cut of the state fish of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Tennessee. (Oh, before you look it up, Arkansas has only a state primitive fish: the alligator gar.)
Shep’s French-cut Bone-In Pork Chop with Brussels sprouts and loaded cauliflower is a blue-ribbon dish in my book. Thick and perfectly grilled with beautiful sear marks, the chop was as tasty as it was beautiful.
I loved the flavorful Grilled Chicken Salad that included chicken tenderloins attractively arranged atop a nice-sized bed of greens, tomatoes, cheese, cucumbers and onion and a lively Southwest dressing.
I would put strong odds on Shep’s Reuben Sandwich beating the historic Reuben served at Oaklawn. At least four thick slices of roasted corned beef, tangy and crunchy sauerkraut and Swiss cheese were placed between toasted slices of excellent rye bread. The loaded french fries with cheese dip and bacon provided a great match to the sandwich.
Jennifer has created a Korean Rice Bowl with Shrimp made with locally sourced Hills Rice. As a member of a rice farming family, this bowl made me want to shout, “Have A Rice Day!” The moist, perfectly seasoned rice was joined by Brussels sprouts and grilled Asian-spiced shrimp and drizzled with Shep’s spicy Asian sauce.
For dessert, I enjoyed the Fried Pecan Pie with homemade ice cream and a delightful caramel drizzle. Goodness, I could smell this sweet comfort dessert before it was placed in front of me. Also very good was the Tres Leche Cake with strawberry garnish.