Pros: Excellent catfish and homemade rolls
Cons: Menu lacking variety; lack of cleanliness
At the suggestion of a friend, my husband, three kids, and I recently visited the Ole Feed House restaurant located in Springdale, Arkansas. Normally, I wouldn?t write a restaurant review unless the experience was either so notable I just had to share, or so devastating that I felt the need to warn other potential victims to stay away. In this case, it was neither.
So why the review?
Chalk it up to the "so close" factor. The Ole Feed House just misses the mark at being a first class family style eatery. With an all you can eat buffet consisting of such southern favorites as fried catfish, beef brisket, barbecue ribs, seafood, and fried chicken, how could they go wrong? Well, hold on to your proverbial hat, because I?m about to tell you the "rest of the story".
First things first
This wouldn?t be a decent restaurant review if I didn?t tell you a little about location, menu choices, ambiance, and cost. The Ole Feed house is located just off I 540 on Sunset Ave. (Hwy. 412) in Springdale. As the name suggests, the architecture both inside and out resembles on old farm house. As you walk in the door, you immediately grab a tray and utensils and fall in line behind the other folks who got there before you did. It?s a self serve buffet, so you can load your plate with as much as you think you can manage to carry to your table without spilling it on other diners.
What?s for dinner? Like most all you can eat buffets, to much really. Here?s a quick run down:
Salads: green salad, slaw, several varieties of pickles, crab salad
Veggies: pinto beans, baked beans, corn-on-the-cob, fried okra, a soupy looking green bean casserole, seafood gumbo, french fries
Meats: fried and baked chicken, deviled crab, fried catfish fillets, fried and boiled shrimp, beef brisket, barbecued ribs, fried scallops, fried clams. For a substantial added price, you could have all the crab legs you wanted..
Breads: Hushpuppies and yeast rolls
Desserts: Homemade cinnamon rolls and green Jell-O (a nod to St. Patrick?s day)
Beverages: Soft drinks, ice tea, and water. No wine or other alcoholic drinks.
How much did all of this cost? Adult plates were $12.95 each with an added $6.00 for each child four to eleven. Not bad really, but notice we didn?t eat any crab legs. For that privilege, you would need to add an additional $7.00 per adult and $3.00 per each child.
So Why the Ambivalence?
Overall, the food was mediocre at best. I think between the five of us, we tried a little bit of everything offered. We all agreed that the fried catfish and homemade cinnamon and yeast rolls were excellent, but that?s not much of a meal. The vegetables were mushy, the chicken greasy, the boiled shrimp soft-you get the picture. Both the dessert and beverage choices were limited, which was disappointing.
Very little service from wait staff was required, but we were assisted in finding a table and our tea glasses frequently replenished. My one complaint here is that we were led to a small room off the main dining area that was occupied by people attending a large family gathering. We were the only "outsiders" in the room and that was a bit uncomfortable.
Still, with all of that considered, I would have given the restaurant at least three stars. After all, we ate our fill and left a lot less hungry than when we got there. However, the lack of cleanliness deserves the low, two star rating that I?m bestowing. The silverware available at the beginning of the line was coated with dried food. We had to go back after we?d been seated to grab a few clean forks. Additionally, I had to sort through the plates before I found a couple of clean ones for my daughter and me. A quick visit to the ladies? room revealed dirty walls and toilets that looked as if they?d somehow missed Spring cleaning for several years in a row.
All in all
My family is not likely to pay a return visit to the Ole Feed House unless some changes are made. Although the catfish was above average, the rest of the offerings coupled with the lack of cleanliness were a real turn-off. As I mentioned earlier in this review, the Ole Feed House just misses the mark. A little more attention to detail in cleanliness and menu selection would make a world of difference. The potential is there, but almost is just not good enough. To be fair, though, the place was packed on the night we visited and this is usual for Friday and Saturday nights. Apparently, there is a large majority who don?t agree with our assessment.
The Ole Feed House
4224 W. Sunset Ave.
PH: (501) 756-0042
Reservations not available