Lovin' the Hoppin' John

Lovin' the Hoppin' John

The utterly delicious 1-pound burger and French fried sweet potatoes at Cafe Delta Soul in Fayetteville. Yeah, it's not featured in the review, but who cares? It's a scrumptious hunk of beef with fried sweet potatoes and dipping sauce so good they could serve as dessert.

Cafe Delta Soul earns its exclamation points

By Rachel Birdsell
TFW Contributing Writer

Party of: One
Time: 1:30 p.m.

Preamble Ramble

I learned about Cafe Delta Soul’s recent opening via Facebook. I figured I needed to give it a try because they were touting “Delta Soul cooking like you have never experienced!!” I think it was the use of the double exclamation points that convinced me.
Besides, I feel it’s my duty to be the guinea pig for all of you. Now that I’ve thrown that offer on the table, if there’s a particular restaurant you want me to go to test for you, send me an e-mail at rabirdsell@gmail.com.

Food for Thought

It was tough to decide what to try first, but I went with the catfish and a side of Hoppin’ John. I placed my order, and 10 minutes later, I had a plate of three catfish fillets, hush puppies, fries and a bowl of Hoppin’ John.
I thought when I ordered it, I would get a small bowl. A side dish-sized bowl. This thing was at least six inches across. I could have easily had a bowl of Hoppin’ John and a side dish as a complete meal.
But back to the catfish. The catfish was some of the best I’ve ever eaten. It wasn’t greasy. It wasn’t dried out. It wasn’t bland. It didn’t taste like month-old grease. It was damn near perfect.
The hush puppies were also very, very good, but only if you like black pepper. If you don’t like it, you’ll hate them because there was a lot of it in them.
The French fries were probably frozen, but they were skin-on fries, so they weren’t as bad as the mealy, crinkly cut fries a lot of places serve.
I immediately fell in love with the Hoppin’ John. Their version is filled with ham, smoked sausage and shrimp. With a little Louisiana hot sauce on it, it was hard to keep my moans of appreciation G-rated.

Bottoms Up

I had the sweet tea, which came in a Mason jar, much like another soul food restaurant in town. Maybe it’s a soul food tradition? There’s a full bar available, Coke products and Kool-Aid. It’s the only restaurant I’ve ever been in that serves Kool-Aid.

The Sporkcast

(on a scale of 1-5 sporks)

Atmosphere: 2.4 extremely stark-white sporks. I wouldn’t say that the decor is hospital room-like, but that’s only because hospital rooms have a little more warmth than the atmosphere at Cafe Delta Soul.
There are two or three beer signs on the walls, a big television and that’s it. The walls are huge blank canvases that I’m hoping that management will soon fill with something. Anything. Kid’s artwork. Doodles on napkins. Used receipts. Please, Delta Soul people … put something on the walls.
I was totally digging the blues playing in the background, though.
Food: 4.8 deep-fried sporks. From what I experienced, I’d like to go back and try everything on the menu. It was that good.
My one quibble? The hot sauce is served in a small bowl, and it’s very difficult to get the right amount of hot sauce on your food without it being in the bottle.
You can attempt to eat their Mega Burger, which is a whopping six pounds! That’s like the size of a baby! If you eat it in less than 30 minutes, it’s free. If not, it’ll set you back 25 beans.
If you become a fan of Delta Soul’s Facebook page, you’ll be privy to their daily specials.
Staff: 6.5 sporks with little welcome signs taped to them. I know I’m supposed to hand out no more than 5 sporks, but these people were amazing.
Not only was I was welcomed to the restaurant and taken very well care of throughout my meal, but I also had the door opened for me when I was leaving. I fully expected the guy to hug me and say, “Tell your Mama I asked, ‘How’s she been?’”
Dollars spent: Around $15. The prices on the menu seem to be a little random. My catfish meal was $10. The ginormous bowl of Hoppin’ John was only $2.50.
The chicken wing appetizers seemed overpriced — $11 for 6 wings just seems a little much. The menu did state they were “jumbo wings” so maybe they’re wings from Three Mile Island chickens.
Chance of Returning: There’s no doubt I’ll be back for more Delta Soul. In fact, I don’t have any plans for lunch today, and it’s getting close to that time …

Restaurant: Cafe Delta Soul

Location: 2630 Citizens Drive Suite 11
Fayetteville, AR, 72703

Hours: Monday — 5 to 10 p.m.; Tuesday through Saturday —11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday — 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Categories: Food
Tags: featured