Hidden Gems

We are very lucky to have so many great stores, restaurants, and other locations in Fayetteville.

I think we would be hard pressed to find a finer restaurant in Arkansas than Theo’s or Bordinos. I think Smoke & Barrel is one of the best bars around, and tops most in Little Rock. I think that Little Bread Co. is hands down the best bakery in the state. We have great shops like Nightbird Books, Dickson Street Bookshop, and of course, the quirky Condom Sense.

Nobody beats our parks and our fantastic bike trails.

This week, however, I thought I would do something different and encourage each of you to share your best hidden gems in Fayetteville. These are those locations that may not be as popular or trendy but never seem to disappoint. For me, I can think of three or four off the top of my head. These are the sorts of places that make me happy each and every time I enter them. Now, please help me add to this list.

1. Hammontree’s Grilled Cheese326 N West Ave, Fayetteville
I know that it is probably a cop out to include something like Hammontree’s on this list, as it isn’t exactly hidden, but I am shocked by the number of people that I talk to who still have not visited it. I understand that the concept of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches makes people question it as a dining option. However, anyone who has actually eaten there knows that they are more than just grilled cheeses. These people have mastered the art of the perfect sandwich and never disappoint. It doesn’t hurt that they are in a gorgeous new location with tons of fantastic patio seating.

2. Trailside Cafe & Tea Room546 W. Center St, Fayetteville
Another gem, Trailside Cafe is still being discovered daily. If Hammontree’s is a great go-to, Trailside is the perfect lunch spot. Their selection of lunch options is awesome. Their daily soup offerings are great and they have perfected the homemade chocolate cake. It doesn’t hurt that their prices are extremely reasonable and their service is fast. This is the perfect place to have a quick lunch or to take your time and enjoy some tea and cookies.

3. Handmade1504 N College Ave, Fayetteville
I have known about Handmade in Evelyn Hills for quite some time. However, people who have just recently moved here might not be familiar with how wonderful this store really is. Mim Wynn has created a gorgeous store with the perfect mix of upscale home decor and gifts. With representation from companies like Low Country, Dash and Albert, and Barefoot Contessa, Handmade is a must for anyone out shopping.

4. V.S. Mobley’s General Store339 N West Ave, #101, Fayetteville
No mention of shopping would be complete without at least mentioning V.S. Mobley’s. Located off Dickson, V.S. Mobleys offers a wonderful selection of home goods, gifts, and even pet products. From Dwell bedding to their fabulous tinted hydrangeas, V.S. Mobleys is a must shop for all those in Fayetteville who are looking for that perfectly unique gift option.

5. Trivia Night at Mellow Mushroom1460 E Augustine Ln, Fayetteville
I always frowned when it was suggested that we should head out to Mellow Mushroom for trivia night. It is nothing against Mellow Mushroom, which is my favorite pizza ever, but it’s the thought of trivia. However, Mellow Mushroom has perfected the art of trivia. It’s not boring, it’s not tedious. I dare to say it’s actually fun. Throw in a few beers and you have a perfect Wednesday nights with friends.

Oh and…

6. The big one: Precious Cargo2908 E Huntsville Rd, Fayetteville
Precious Cargo is my favorite go-to in Fayetteville. I have yet to enter Precious Cargo without leaving with some hidden gem of my own. The owners of Precious Cargo know their furniture and antiques and stock their store with wonderful pieces at ridiculously low prices. It’s worth scowering both floors to find all of their newest items. Since their inventory always changes, you have to visit frequently. While I’m on furniture and home decor, don’t forget to visit Daisies & Olives in Prairie Grove, which has to win the award for best flea market in the area.

So what would you add? Maybe Feltner’s or Bliss Cupcake Cafe? Maybe Gift House Antiques or French Quarter? You tell me.

Wayne Bell is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. He moved to Fayetteville in 2003 for his Masters Degree and you can almost always catch him at Little Bread Co. or Hammontree’s. For more of Wayne’s contributions, visit his author page.