Best Restaurants in Fayetteville, AR

Fayetteville, AR attracts foodies for its many creative restaurants

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Michael Conti

If dining out is one of your favorite pastimes, you won't be disappointed in Fayetteville. This college town situated deep within the Ozark Mountains has been named one of Kiplinger's "best cities to work, live and play," and you might as well add "dine" to that list.

Penguin Ed's

Barbecue fans shouldn't miss Penguin Ed's Bar-B-Q, one of Fayetteville's most popular restaurants. It began in 1993 when the owner Ed Knight began selling barbecue from a trailer and has grown to include three locations, each serving hickory-smoked meats, pulled pork nachos, sandwiches and baked potatoes. The name Penguin Ed's stuck when Ed created a flock of paper-mâché penguins to decorate the trailer where he first sold barbecue. Customers from all over the world have since donated penguins to the restaurant, and it now has one of the largest penguin collections in the country.


Arsaga's Espresso Cafe and Roastery is another Fayetteville success story. The first Arsaga's coffeehouse opened in 1992 off the Fayetteville square, and since then has expanded into seven locations (including one at the Fayetteville Farmers Market). In 2013, Arsaga's was voted best coffee in Arkansas by readers of the Arkansas Times, thanks in part to Arsaga's on-site roasting, which ensures a good brew whether you prefer it hot or iced. In addition to coffee, Arsaga's is also known for its tasty crepes, both sweet and savory.


To impress that special someone, reserve a table at Bordinos, a high-end Italian restaurant on Dickson Street with a martini bar and extensive wine list. The lunch menu has salads, pastas, burgers and sandwiches, as well as small plates featuring crab cakes, beef tenderloin meatballs, mussels and calamari. The dinner menu is even larger, with creative pastas, lasagna, beef, game and fish.

Jose's Mexican Restaurant

Also on Dickson Street is Jose's Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, a landmark eatery that has served the community for more than 25 years. The locals frequent Jose's for its freshly made salsa and "world-famous" margaritas and fajitas. Jose's also has fun perks such as Kids Eat Free on Sundays, live music, happy hour, Tequila Tuesdays and Margarita Madness on Wednesdays.

Fayetteville Cafes

On Friday and Saturday nights, Fresco Cafe and Pub is one of Fayetteville's hotspots, with live music and creative cuisine made with local ingredients, including flatbread pizzas, paninis and nine flavors of wings. 

During the week, you can dine to live music at The Pesto Cafe, where musicians play relaxing acoustic music every Tuesday and Thursday night. The menu emphasizes Italian cuisine and pestos made with pine nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, olive oil and farm-fresh herbs. Eggplant Parmesan is a favorite among regular customers.

Discover more great food options in Fayetteville, AR.


Jessica Mozo is a freelance writer who lives in Nashville, Tenn. with her husband, Manuel, and two sons, Bryce and Brett. An Iowa native, she is a journalism graduate of Belmont Un... more

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Wed, 02/28/2018 - 21:22