For whatever reason, whether it’s small size, an out-of-the-way location, or just a lack of publicity, some restaurants tend to fall under the radar with a larger audience. This series takes a look at these Underrated Places.
Where: The Original ScoopDog (5508 JFK Blvd., North Little Rock)
The Restaurant: As the summer heat approaches in Arkansas, diners desperate to beat the heat will be looking for the best ways to cool down. The Original Scoop Dog is a tiny drive-thru/outdoor eatery camped out along JFK Blvd in North Little Rock and has been offering up sweet and savory relief to Dogtowners for years. Owners Joe and Kim Yanosick have been proud business owners in this community since 1992 and have built a loyal following of customers who support their establishment year round.
The Atmosphere: Diners may enjoy their ScoopDog via drive-thru or at the provided outdoor seating. During the winter months, you’ll likely want to keep yourself in the car, but as it warms, there’s nothing finer than gathering the family for a sweet treat at an outdoor picnic table. But if you decide to keep yourself in your vehicle, the line moves quickly and you’ll never need to wait too long for your order to be filled.
The Service: Fast and friendly, always appreciative of their customers and grateful for those regulars who have supported ScoopDog for so long. Plus, they’re serving up frozen custard…and it’s hard not to be happy when that’s on the menu.
The Food: Essentially, you’re going to ScoopDog for hot dogs and frozen custard…and both are above average here. A good hot dog is a real simple pleasure, and Scoop Dog offers a handful of options to satisfy you. All dogs are constructed from “Red Hot Chicago” brand hod dogs, a quality all beef product that would satisfy even those transplants from the Windy City. Of course, they do the classic Chicago-style dog with yellow mustard, relish, sport peppers, celery salt, pickle, onion, and tomato slices. But they also pay homage to a few other cities with the Detroit Dog (chili, mustard, and cheddar cheese), the Kansas City Dog (with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut), and the Atlanta Dog (with coleslaw).
But they really shine at their frozen custard and serve it in a variety of ways. Most of their offerings are customizable, and diners construct their own selections from a long list of optional toppings and mix-ins. Perhaps the best route to go it their thick, creamy “concretes” which take vanilla or chocolate and gently blend in the toppings of your choice. Be bold and try some of their more interesting specialty concretes like the “Whoopie Pie,” “Banana Nut Bread,” or “Coffee Roast.” There’s enough options that you’ll always have something new to sample. The shakes and malts are great, too…a little thinner and more easily slurped through a straw. You may even settle on a “float” in which they scoop out some custard into root beer, Coke, or Dr. Pepper.
The Price: Everything’s reasonably priced…and you get a lot of bang for your buck. All hot dogs run you $3.35, it’s $0.75 to add a bag of chips. Based on size, your custard will cost you as little as $1.75 for junior sizes to around $5 for their specialty sundaes.
The Verdict: ScoopDog excels and keeps customers coming back simply because they do a few things, but they do them right. Fresh, flavorful custard with enough options to satisfy any sweet desire. Simple but excellent hot dogs are good enough to bring the entire family here for dinner. Get out and enjoy them while the weather cooperates with us.