Scenic Arkansas Highway 7 runs from Hot Springs to Russellville up the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. As you drive, you look out both sides of the car to see rolling hills; sparkling lakes; deep, lush valleys; and from late September to mid-November some of the most spectacular fall foilage you’ll see anywhere west of the Mississippi River.
But it’s in the heart of the small rural town of Jessieville, that you will find The Shack. An icon for more than 20 years, it sits directly on the highway, right across from the high school. On Friday nights, when Jessieville is playing at home, you’re probably going to wait awhile to get a table inside. Or, you can sit on one of the picnic tables on the patio and let the locals tell you about their Lions Football Team. They aren’t bashful about their bragging rights since they won the State Championships this past December.
The catfish basket is their most popular item and deservedly so. Order the regular basket if you’ve come with a good appetite. It comes with 4 farm-raised pieces, dipped in cornmeal and deep fried, french fries and cole slaw. You can also order a small basket which comes with just 2 pieces of fish and all the sides.
If you don’t like catfish, there’s plenty of other offerings on the menu. Try the Shack Burger, or for a challenge, the Double Shack Burger. Each patty is 1/3 pound of fresh 100% pure beef. They cook it just the way you like it and serve it up with American cheese, crunchy lettuce, red ripe tomatoes, sweet onion and a dill pickle slice, all on a toasted bun. Sides include tater tots (go ahead and get them with cheese), seasoned potato logs, fried okra, jalepeno bites, or nachos.
If you happen to be driving up the highway on Tuesday, stop in for a plate of Spaghetti that’s as good as your Italian Grandmother’s. A huge helping that’s covered in thick, meaty sauce and teamed with a crisp garden salad and a slice of buttered garlic bread. Choose your dressing and a glass of sweet iced tea and you’re set to go.
The Shack also offers a daily special on Thursday. The $3.99 Taco Salads bring in folks from the community by the carload. Crispy tortilla chips, layered with spicy taco meat, lettuce, tomato, black olives and sour cream. If you add the salsa to the top, you might consider asking for a milkshake to wash it down. The girls behind the counter mix them up when you order, adding real fruit and long squirts of chocolate syrup.
Sandwiches galore can be found on the menu.
In the mood for a hot dog? This one is delivered to your table piled high with chili, slaw, mustard and onions.
How about a steak sandwich? Their’s is a thick slice of beef, battered and fried, then laid on a toasted bun with lettuce and tomato.
Need something lighter? Try the grilled cheese on Texas Toast. Or better yet, go wild and get a Ham and Cheese!
Located at 7901 North Highway 7 in Jessieville, The Shack has something on it’s menu that is sure to please everyone in your family.
And don’t forget the ice cream! My kids recommend the hot fudge sundae, but I say if you’re going to cheat…cheat big. Go for the Banana Split!