Oark General Store and Cafe

You know by now that finding out of the way spots to eat becomes #1 priority when we travel.
When we started travelling by motorcycle, we knew that interstates or major highways were out.  Why would we travel on such a boring road with all those eighteen wheelers?   So, we did a little ciphering and concluded that:
1)Interstates took the place of back roads.
2)Back roads were typically less travelled.
3)Back roads were usually curvier.
4)Motorcycles love curvy roads.
5)Curvy, back roads lead to small towns.
6)Small towns have hometown cafes.
7)Hometown cafes ALWAYS have pie.
8)We love pie.
Which leads us to the Oark Café.
oark general store
Like I mentioned in my last post, the Oark Store is the longest continuous-operating store in the state of Arkansas.  Since 1890, it has been serving this small community with a variety of services.
Getting to the café is not hard.  You just have to know where to turn.
First, take the Pig Trail (Hwy. 23)
pig trailpig trail, oark
to Hwy 215 just north of Cass.
road to oark
Follow 215 along the Mulberry River
road to oark rock retaining wall, road to oark pig trail, oark
until you reach the intersection of Hwy 215 and Hwy 103.  Turn left and stay on 215 until you see the store.
One of the things I love about this store is the LACK of change.  This is important to me probably because I don’t like change.  My simple reasoning is this:   if a store has stayed in business for over 100 years, they must be doing something right.  Why change?  It appears the owners feel the same way.  I’m happy.
Ok, let’s go inside.
Maybe other people do this too, but I always notice the floors of old buildings.  Think about all the different types of people who have walked across this wood over the last century.  The worn paths, dents, and stains are stories within stories.
oark general store
We were with a group of eating motorcycle enthusiasts this day, so the place was hopping.

The little strip in the middle is the road through town
One of the locals tells us a story.  It was a whopper of a tale if I remember correctly.
oark local
The decor is right up my alley.
We arrived around 1:00, so the pie selection was slim.
But, being the pie connoisseurs that we are, we ordered our pie first and then our meal.
oarkThis is oatmeal pie–one I have never tried and, although it was good, my favorite is buttermilk and they were out.  Note to self:  get a move on girl and get there earlier!
The special of the day was catfish but I opted for a hamburger and fries.  Honestly, I’ve gotten several different meals here and they’ve all been tasty.
While you’re in the neighborhood, head on down to the swingin’ bridge.  Leaving the café, turn right and travel about a mile or so along the river.  It’s very hard to see so start slowing down when you begin to see the river close to the road.  (If you run out of pavement, you’ve gone to far.)
There is a sign but that is also very hard to see.
swinging bridge oark
Before you start across the bridge, you might want to sit and ponder a minute about life, love or even pie.
A swinging bridge is just that.  A bridge that swings.  It’s connected by cables to two trees on both sides of the river.  As soon as you step one foot on it, it begins to move up and down and make all kinds of creakity sounds.
swinging bridge oark
The bridge is still used by the locals and, although they are not visible in this picture, there are trucks parked in the field so they can park and hitch a ride with someone across the river.
Being the smart girls that we are, we sent the guys out first to test the bridge.
swinging bridge oark swinging bridge oark
They deem it safe and we hitch up our big girl britches and venture out
swingin bridge oark
Of course, as soon as we get in the middle, some Yayhoo  runs on the bridge and starts jumping up and down causing the bridge to move in a most unnatural manner and me to scream uncontrollably saying words I didn’t even know I knew.  As he is laughing, I am making yet another note to self:  Plot revenge.
swinging bridge oark
We made it!
So, if you find yourself on the Pig Trail someday, take a detour and head to Oark for breakfast, lunch or dinner with pie served at every meal.  You won’t be sorry and you’ll discover and experience a piece of unique Arkansas history.
oark store