We all need a place to call home; a proverbial hearth that simultaneous garners sanctuary, familiarity, and inspiration alongside the people we love and cherish.  Home is not simply a place, but rather a state of mind and, at times, even of taste, touch, and smell.  The fragrance of freshly brewed coffee, frying bacon, and cigarette smoke transcends me to my childhood and the home kitchen of my grandma Dighero as she poetically maneuvers through her standard, grease laden daily breakfast.  No matter when:  childhood, adolescence, adulthood….I could count on those three intermingled perfumes to make me feel safe, and perpetually hopeful. 

eat artsplace web2I’m asked on a weekly basis:  where’s your favorite restaurant, who makes the best burger, what’s your favorite beer, where do you go for a drink?  I typically derive answers based on the party questioning, and my answers to the independent questions alter day to day, depending on my mood.  However, the sum of all of those inquiries together lead me to one, undeniable location in Fayetteville:  Arts Place Bar and Grill.  {Notice, there is no “E” at the end of grill}

Dark, brooding, smoky, embellished with sounds of pool balls “clacking” intermittently beneath laughter, “rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb” muttering, and the unmistakable “sizzle” of burgers on a flat top grill.  Ahhh, this is home…this is where I come to make business deals, to celebrate the lives of contemporaries, to mourn the loss of important family, to be alone, to be part of a crowd, to break-up, to fall in love, and to, most importantly of all, drink a beer and devour the best cheeseburger on the planet.

There’s really nothing stylized about the Art’s Place burger; it’s an archetype of perfection, but one should never expect something groundbreaking or cutting edge.  The beef patty is fried in front of you, behind the bar on a flat top grill that has been seasoned with whiskey, bar brawls, and a million lonely hearts, then stratified with mayo, sliced tomato, cold iceberg lettuce, and thick sliced white onions…be sure to ask for extra crispy fries; and don’t be offended if the pretty girl sitting next you at the bar pays you little mind, because she is, well, you’ll just have to see for yourself.

Art’s Place is a lot of things to a lot of people, myself included; but at the very least it’s an important part of the edible culture of Fayetteville, Arkansas.  It may not be your idea of home, sanctuary, inspiration…but I guarantee it’ll be the best burger you’ve had in a very, long time. 

Guest Written by Case Dighero for Experience Fayetteville

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