While there aren’t a lot of restaurants in downtown Conway, we sure do have a few good ones. Crady’s is a personal fave for a relaxing lunch and amazing pie. I also consider Rivertown Bistro one of the best restaurants in the MB area (hopefully a return trip will be in store soon!). We just recently tried out the Crafty Rooster, a bar that caters to the local university crowd and serves up a great selection of craft brews and bar food. And it won’t be the last time!
From the outside, the place doesn’t look like much. Actually, you can’t even really tell what the inside is like without going in. Being a college bar, it could definitely go either way. Once we stepped inside, I was pleasantly surprised with what was behind the tinted windows and door. The bar area was clean and well-lit. The place was, of course, decorated with teal for the CCU crowd.
As we sat down, we noticed the huge list of draft beers and the list of seasonal specials. Many of the brews were local, from the NC area, but the whole country was represented. While there were a few breweries that I have heard of before, like Rouge and the typical national brands, the list also consisted of some great independent beer makers I haven’t heard of.
(As an aside, I am really more into beer than wine at this moment in time. I think the whole thing started with our trip to Ostuni and trying the amazing local beer there. While America has some great wine, it costs a lot. The craft brewing scene is blowing up, giving me more choices than I can shake a stick at. Add in the affordability of beer and the positive impact on local economies…you can’t loose.)
I started off with one of the pumpkin ales, the Ballast Point Pumpkin Down to be exact. This California brew was a really nice, rich pumpkin ale that wasn’t too overpowering. There were some notes of pumpkin and spices, but it didn’t get cloying or too strong to enjoy with food. The chef got the Mama’s Little Yella Pils from North Carolina’s Oskar Blues brewery. That was a nice light pilsner style that was a perfect accompaniment to basically anything. There were some nice light fruity undertones that set it apart from other Czech-style Pilsners I’ve tried before.
To accompany this, we got the cheese fries. Talk about delish! These babies were homemade fries topped with copious amounts of cheese and crumbled bacon. Instead of the usual ketchup, the Crafty Rooster serves them with ranch dressing. What I really appreciated about this appetizer, other than the price ($4!!!), is the fact that ALL of the fries had cheese on them. Not just the top, all of the fries! I know that I’m not the only one out there that hates getting cheese fries where only the top layer of fries is cheesy!
From there, we moved on to the main meal: BURGERS. This definitely tops my list of one of the best burgers I’ve had so far since I have moved to MB. The bun is super soft, yet surprisingly holds up to the bulk of the burger and the toppings. There was a copious amount of cheese freshly melted on top, a bit of lettuce, tomato and some red onion. Then the burger-perfectly cooked to a bloody rare! It’s not often that I’ve gotten a burger exactly how I like it cooked, but this one was spot on. The taste was excellent, too. A touch more of salt and it would have been perfect. This was served with homemade potato chips. I loved the fact their condiment selection included A1 sauce since I love it but probably wouldn’t have thought to ask for it!
Since we got there before Happy Hour ended at 7, the beers were one dollar off and we got the cheese fries for only $4. Then the burgers came to $8.99 each, which was a great price for the quality. I’ll definitely be back in the very near future to try more of their tasty bar food, like the Grilled Cheese BLT and of course more of the beer!
Crafty Rooster Bar and Grill
1125 Third Ave