The Best Places To Eat in Fayetteville, AR

So I've spent the past 7 months in Fayetteville, Arkansas... and through this I've found some amazing restaurants, cafés, food trucks, and even local drive-throughs. Sure, there are miles of land full of restaurants I have yet to discover in Fayetteville, but these are just a handful of me, my family, and my friends' favorite spots.

If you're looking for a low key but entertaining happy hour...

Although sitting right in the middle of the Fayetteville Square, Axis Lounge is a highly underrated modern Mexican inspired tapas bar. Super cool re-inventions on traditional Mexican food--like quesadillas that resemble mozzarella sticks more than normal quesadillas--and even cooler cocktails. It has a really unique kinda woodsy-kinda modern atmosphere, as well. To top it off, right in the middle of the restaurant they offer virtual reality for a small fee-- just in case dinner and drinks aren't enough fun for you. Great for dinner, lunch, a mid-day charcuterie snack, or happy hour.

If you're looking to satisfy those late night munchies...

One of my favorite things about the Fayetteville foodie scene is the surprisingly large presence of food trucks. From little "districts" with a variety of trucks to random individual ones on the side of the highway, you can count on passing by one almost everywhere you drive. The Dickson Street food trucks, collectively known as "Shulertown," are particularly iconic in Fayetteville. They're open Thursday-Sunday 8 pm - 3 am, and make the best late-night snack... or meal. If I'm being honest I tried a lot of Pad Thai over the past year (Thai food is a big thing in Fayetteville), and the best (and cheapest) version I've had by far, was at the Blazin' Asian food truck in Shulertown. Another hot spot on Dickson Street for a late night snack is Plomos Quesadillas - it's not a food truck, but it's located down an alley in a tiny hallway by The Bearded Goat clothing store.

If you're looking for authentic mediterranean food...

Along with Thai food, Greek/Middle-Eastern cuisine also has a huge presence in the Fayetteville area, and the absolute best place I've found for it is Petra Cafe. It's a teeny-tiny room (probably enough seating for 10 people at a time) and has the most amazing Middle-Eastern food (my favorite cuisine ever so this means a lot coming from me). It's unfortunately only open for lunch, however, but it is really cheap and you definitely get major bang for your buck. Oh, and their Turkish coffee is a must-buy. If Petra happens to be too packed, Taste of Thai just so happens to be located right next door and is one of the best Thai restaurants in Fayetteville.

If you're looking for a traditional brunch spot...

Fayetteville is definitely more "hipster" and trendy than a lot of places, especially in Arkansas, but Bordinos or Emelia's Kitchen offer great traditional brunch options. Bordinos is a little more upscale and has the cutest outdoor area for when the weather is nice. Emelia's is a mediterranean restaurant that boasts a more traditional/old-fashioned vibe, but has an incredible omelet selection and overall great brunch/lunch options (both mediterranean and American).

If you're looking for a more unique and trendy brunch spot...

I could go on and on about brunch places in Fayetteville, but these are two that particularly stick out to me for their unconventionality. Prelude is a TINY restaurant that doesn't take reservations and is usually packed from the time they open until they close. If you go there, be prepared to wait at least an hour before getting seated, but believe me when I say it's worth it. All of their food is incredible, but they're especially known for their crazy delicious and fun pancake stacks.
Nomads is probably the most trendy of all the brunch spots in Fayetteville. The only downside for me is that you order at the front instead of being waited on, but they definitely provide an experience no matter what. It's such a fun, lively restaurant with extremely unconventional food and cocktails. The walls are covered in murals and graffiti, hip hop music is usually blaring, they serve fruity pebble rimmed brightly-colored mimosas, and most of the time the owner is going around with a champagne gun...shooting champagne into customer's mouths (with consent of course). Yeah. It's a GOOD time.


If you're looking for an easy lunch spot...

Hugo's is an underground (literally- it's in a basement) restaurant known for their burgers and bar food. It makes for a great quick lunch if you're out shopping in the Square or if you want somewhere to camp out for a while and watch the Razorbacks on game day. It's a very well known restaurant in Fayetteville, so you can usually expect for it to be jam-packed and always a fun time.

If you're looking for vegetarian/vegan options...

There are a ton of vegan-oriented restaurants in NWA, and almost every restaurant I've been to has options on the menu for vegans/vegetarians, but one of my favorite spots that has a vast variety of options is Farmer's Table Cafe. This is a great place for anyone following any diet, too, although they definitely flaunt a more earthy-vibe, and their menu reflects it. Some of my favorite vegan options are their mushroom sausage, tofu scramble hash, and their coconut-almond pancakes. Their menu is pretty big, so even picky eaters can usually find something they'll like. I love this restaurant because everything is farm-to-table and they really strive to support local farms/businesses in the area. Plus they have Kombucha on tap!

If you're looking for a smoothie/juice bar...

Okay... I have an obsession with Mamaka. There's no hiding the fact that I love all things juices/smoothies and especially smoothie bowls. This tiny surf shop inspired smoothie bar is not only the cutest little hangout in Fayetteville, but also the home to the BEST smoothie bowls I've ever had in my entire life (no joke). There's something about these insanely thick bowls that makes them so decadent, heavenly, and almost impossible to recreate at home. Plus their homemade granola is addicting. They have smoothies, smoothie bowls, Pressed Juicery juices, and some killer coconut infused coffee. They also have a great selection of flavors ranging from traditional acai to dessert-like creations, like salted caramel. And the best part? It's all processed-sugar free.

If you're looking for a drive through option on the way out of town...

On the way out of town... or literally whenever... Mangos is a must. This little brightly colored drive through taco shop sells insanely cheap authentic street tacos (among many other things). I'm talking 3 fire street tacos for $4 or a huge serving of homemade guac for $5 (unlike the usual $9 at a Mexican restaurant). I don't know what else to say about this place except stress that if you haven't gone, go. Now.

If you're looking for a nicer lunch place for a big group of people...

Cheers is a somewhat new restaurant that opened up inside the old post office (hence OPO) right in the middle of the Square. Its central location makes it a fun place for a big group of people to get together, and there's plenty of seating and space inside. It's also great for dinner, but for some reason its interior and menu give me more lunch vibes... but nice lunch vibes. If you don't know what to get, order the chopped salmon salad. Just saying.

If you're looking for a morning coffee shop... and might want brunch/lunch later...

Arsaga's Coffee Roasters has tons of locations all over Fayetteville, but this is technically the "main" one. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but is more popularly known for their brunch. The only issue is is that there usually is a wait, so the best thing to do is go for coffee in the morning, put your name on the list, and enjoy some coffee on the porch while you wait for a table. The food is damn good, but also a little more artisanal and trendy than a traditional brunch place.

If you're looking for a mid-day pick me up...

This is the other food-serving Arsaga's location in Fayetteville. They have a full coffee menu, lots of tasty pastries, and about 10 fancy toasts that change by the season. These toasts aren't just normal toasts though, they're THICK slabs of sourdough topped with crazy combinations and feature a wide variety of flavors for everyone to enjoy something. Also, if you want to be boring and get plain avocado toast out of all of the amazing choices (no shame... I love their avocado toast) definitely get it on one of their homemade bagels. It ups the toast game by a thousand.

And finally...

If you're looking for dinner options...

Some of the places I've mentioned above like Bordinos, Axis, and Cheers also serve dinner, but I personally like these options for dinner a little more than the others. Leverett Lounge, Project 7 Kitchen, and Theo's are all modern-American style restaurants, each with a unique atmosphere--and all with great food. Leverett Lounge is a super small room attached to the Sit and Spin laundromat (it's actually really cool, trust me). Theo's has a beautiful patio and lounge area over looking Dickson Street and downtown Fayetteville. Project 7 Kitchen offers small plates inspired by modern twists on middle eastern, European, and American classics. Tula is a brand new modern-Mexican restaurant that opened up in the Square. It has bigger plates and a broader menu than Axis Lounge, so in my opinion it's a better dinner option.

Oh... and if you want sushi... SUSHI 101. 

So that's it... Among many other amazing restaurants, these are some of my favorites.

Cecilia A. 


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