Terri Lynn’s Remains a Hidden Gem, Even After 60 Years of Business

BBQ is part of the restaurant’s name, but the owner tends to persuade newcomers to give his other sandwiches a go before trying the barbecue.

I’ve had the barbecue, it’s pretty good don’t get me wrong, but I think we can all agree to disagree since we all have our own favorite barbecue spot. That is why Aaron Hether does not focus on selling his barbecue, and if I was you I would listen to him since he used to work for the CIA. Seriously, this guy is making some of the best sandwiches in Little Rock, but didn’t get into the business until he decided to build a smoker and slang smoked meats at a food festival in Alaska more than a decade ago.

If you have never stepped foot inside of Terri-Lynn’s then you’re missing out on delicious sandwiches, made of in-house smoked meats, and homemade chocolate or pecan pie.

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The Reuben, oh my…this hit the spot. Expect to get a bit messy eating this sandwich, but it’s delicious so you’ll forgive yourself. Hether brines corned beef brisket for 10-14 days in his own brine mixture and cooks it in beer. The sandwich has a nice balance between the coleslaw, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and the tanginess of the horseradish mustard mayo combo. Served between toasted rye bread, it’s a burst of flavors. Now you get why I said messy, I hope you also get why it’s delicious. Calling on all Reuben lovers, do yourself a favor and get this sandwich!

Not only does Hether steer new customers toward his sandwiches, plot twist, he makes his own tamales. It took him about a year and a half to master his recipe, but why he started making them is quite interesting. After a tamales supplier out of Dumas fell ill, her son attempted to take over. It took just one midnight delivery for Hether to say “I’m done.” No way was he going to meet at all hours of the night to buy tamales. Needless to say, he has proudly been serving his own homemade tamales ever since and they are pretty great. Try them, you will not be disappointed.

What came as a shock, I’m the first person to ever sit down with Hether in the 13 years since he and his wife, Kristin, took over. I guess you don’t really need paid for ads or fancy websites when some your customers have been coming in for the past 40 years. At one point there were three locations, but just the Rodney Parham location remains.

Customers are like family – no really –  when I stopped in for lunch I noticed almost everyone knew each other’s name. “I have so many people say it’s just like Cheers, people come in and everybody knows your name,” Hether said.

It’s not uncommon for regulars to order off-menu. Hether’s secret menu are combinations regulars have come up with. One sandwich named, the Lulu, named after its creator is a French dip with pepper jack cheese, sautéed onions and ranch dressing made from scratch.

Don’t walk out the door without grabbing a piece of pie. Whether it’s sur place as the French say or you save it for later, it’s the perfect top off to a great experience. One of the minor changes made when the Hethers took over was making pies, not buying frozen ones. The chocolate pie is to die for, I had no room left to try the pecan but I’m willing to bet it’s amazing. Not too rich, just right.

This go-to lunch spot began as a local grocery store with a deli section in 1959. As it flourished, the deli became the focus. This October marks Terri-Lynn’s 60th year in business.

Terri-Lynn’s BBQ and Delicatessen is located at 10102 Rodney Parham Rd. and is open Tuesday-Friday 10:30 to 3:30 p.m. for lunch and on Saturdays from 10:30 to 5 p.m.

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Terri Lynn’s Remains a Hidden Gem, Even After 60 Years of Business