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ACS BLOG
on the record

8.5.2021

Arkansas dairy bars tour to be featuredin new Arkansas PBS film; screening set for Aug. 12

by
Kody Ford

A popular mid-century sight all across America, dairy bars – restaurants where customers order ice cream and burgers outdoors through a window – are thriving. Food historian, author and enthusiastic foodie Kat Robinson visits these iconic restaurants around the state in the new special “Arkansas Dairy Bars: Neat Eats & Cool Treats” Thursday, Aug. 19, at 7 p.m. on Arkansas PBS. A free, advance screening of the film will be held Thursday, Aug. 12, at the Kenda Drive-In in Marshall.

“Dairy bars – by their own natural construction – are likely the best prepared restaurants for pandemic times,” Robinson said. “I hope to share ways to enjoy Arkansas cuisine safely while encouraging diners to patronize these mom-and-pop establishments that are feeding communities.

“I traveled across this marvelous state to introduce viewers to all the folks from these locations, share what we found to eat and show how these establishments have been able to survive all these years.”

The public is invited to see the film before it airs in a free, nostalgic screening at the Kenda Drive-In, 107 Westwood Dr., Marshall, Thursday, Aug. 12. Gates will open at 6:30 p.m., and the film will be shown at sundown around 8:30 p.m. Robinson will be signing her previously published books during the event, and attendees can enjoy games, Arkansas PBS prizes and free refreshments.

Whether viewers are nostalgic for the dairy bars of their youth or looking for a new dinner destination, "Arkansas Dairy Bars: Neat Eats & Cool Treats" will whet the appetite with visits to:

  • Feltner’s Whatta-Burger in Russellville
  • Bailey’s Dairy Treat in Hot Springs
  • Dairyette in Mount Ida
  • Susie Q Malt Shop in Rogers
  • Burge’s Hickory Smoked Turkeys & Hams in Lewisville and Little Rock
  • Ray’s in Monticello
  • Salem Dairy Bar in Benton
  • Kream Kastle in Blytheville
  • The Bulldog Restaurant in Bald Knob
  • Hamburger Station in Paragould
  • Troy’s Drive-In in De Witt
  • The Original ScoopDog in North Little Rock
  • Daisy Queen in Marshall

Robinson is compiling a culinary tour guide referencing the 94 dairy bars in Arkansas. Additional information about “Arkansas Dairy Bars: Neat Eats & Cool Treats,” including a photo gallery of Robinson’s travels and historic dairy bars, is available at myarpbs.org/dairybars. During the broadcast, viewers will have the opportunity to make a donation to Arkansas PBS and receive such items as a DVD of the program, Robinson’s newest book “Arkansas Dairy Bars: Neat Eats & Cool Treats” or an Arkansas food map T-shirt. “Dairy Bars: Neat Eats & Cool Treats” will also air Sunday, Aug. 22, at 10:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 22, at 2 p.m. on ARPBS-4 WORLD; and Sunday, Aug. 22, at 4 p.m. on ARPBS-2 CREATE.

About the host

Kat Robinson is a Little Rock-based travel writer and Arkansas’s food historian. She is the host of the Emmy-nominated Arkansas PBS documentary "Make Room For Pie: A Delicious Slice of The Natural State" and a committee member for the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. Robinson is the author of 101 Things to Eat in Arkansas Before You Die, 102 More Things to Eat in Arkansas Before You Die and Arkansas Food: The A to Z of Eating in The Natural State and more. In her latest release, A Bite of Arkansas: A Cookbook of Natural State Delights (2021), Robinson shares the recipes from her life, from breakfasts as a child to dishes she has explored as an adult. She has also compiled the comprehensive travel guide for pie lovers, Another Slice of Arkansas Pie: A Guide to the Best Restaurants, Bakeries, Truck Stops and Food Trucks for Delectable Bites in The Natural State (2018). She is the Arkansas fellow and curator to the National Food and Beverage Foundation, a guest editor for the University of Arkansas publication Arkansauce: The Journal of Arkansas Foodways and the 2011 Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism Henry Award winner for Media Support. Her work has appeared in regional and national publications including Food Network, Forbes Travel Guide, Serious Eats and AAA Magazines, among others. Her expertise in food research and Arkansas restaurants has been cited by Saveur, Eater, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and the Southern Foodways Alliance's Gravy podcast. More information is available on her website, TieDyeTravels.com.

About Arkansas PBS

Arkansas PBS, Arkansas’s only statewide public media network, enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. Arkansas PBS delivers daily, essential, local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers through multiple digital platforms, including livestreaming at myarpbs.org/watchlive, on-demand services and YouTube TV, and the distinct channels Arkansas PBS, Arkansas PBS Create, Arkansas PBS KIDS, Arkansas PBS WORLD and Arkansas PBS AIRS on SAP. Members with Arkansas PBS Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. Arkansas PBS depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at myarkansaspbs.org. Arkansas PBS is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), KETZ (El Dorado) and KETS (Lee Mountain).

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