Arkansas meals historian Kat Robinson’s new movie “Arkansas Dairy Bars: Neat Eats & Cool Treats” airs subsequent week on PBS

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Arkansas journey author and meals historian Kat Robinson has a brand new particular airing on PBS subsequent week specializing in 13 of the state’s 94 dairy bars. “Arkansas Dairy Bars: Neat Eats & Cool Treats” will air at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19 on Arkansas PBS. A free superior screening will likely be held tonight round sundown on the Kenda Drive-In Theatre in Marshall (Searcy County).

The Kenda Drive-In appeared like a pure place to debut the dairy particular as a result of it ties in with one of many featurettes in this system, Robinson stated. Daisy Queen dairy bar is situated a few mile west of Kenda Drive-In, and each have been in operation since 1966.

Robinson can be releasing a e-book of the identical title in September that covers all 94 of the state’s dairy bars, which she visited over a 3 week span earlier this 12 months. Robinson stated the concept for the e-book got here to her this previous January. She had dropped off some books in Sizzling Springs, and on the best way again, an ice cream craving led her to wonder if Mel’s Dairy Bar in Malvern was nonetheless in operation. It wasn’t simply working, it was packed, she stated.

“It occurred to me: that is one of the best enterprise mannequin for the pandemic proper right here.”

Dairy bars, in style spots for drive up or window service within the mid-century, are thriving proper now, Robinson stated. She present in her analysis that there have been 95 dairy bars within the state in December of 2019, and that just one has closed because the pandemic started. Dairy bars could be the favourite hub of rural communities and are sometimes named after the city’s highschool mascot, Robinson stated.

“They arrive with a facet order of nostalgia,” Robinson stated. “Most have been round because the mid-century. There’s a handful I’m masking which are a part of the revival. … These little eating places are very specialised to the place they’re,” she stated.

In southern Arkansas, Polish sausage is in style, Robinson stated. In western Arkansas a part of the native taste is the burrito deluxe — a bean and beef burrito lined with lettuce, tomato, bitter cream and salsa. It’s a well-liked merchandise at Bonnie’s Dairy Freeze in Fort Smith, a drive in dairy bar that’s been round because the ’40s. Robinson stated rooster gizzards are a well-liked merchandise at older dairy bars.

Robinson’s written a number of books about Arkansas foodways and stated this one was notably difficult. When she was researching “101 Issues To Eat in Arkansas Earlier than you Die” or “One other Slice of Arkansas Pie,” she may go to a number of eating places in a day. “There’s nobody place that has an excellent focus of dairy bars, so there’s a whole lot of driving,” she stated. The movie crew consisted of Robinson and cinematographer Jeff Dailey. They set out on the street after getting vaccinated in February and shot for 3 weeks. She got here again and began modifying the movie and writing the e-book suddenly. Robinson was previously a information producer for KTHV, however stated reducing a film collectively was a totally completely different expertise.

“It’s been an journey and a half placing it collectively,” she stated.

The filming passed off earlier than the delta surge however Robinson stated she obtained to see how COVID impacted completely different companies.

The present opens with Feltner’s Whatta-Burger. Robinson stated all kitchen staff had been masked besides when the interview was performed outdoors the kitchen.

“They’ve even talked about masks within the kitchen any further,” she stated.

The staff at Suzy Q Malt Store in Rogers created a pod system and none had been contaminated by COVID, Robinson stated. Similar for the 5 girl workers at Troy’s Drive-In in Dewitt. It was often staffed by 10, Robinson stated. “It was actually tough for them however they made it work.”

Robinson stated the movie isn’t simply concerning the meals served at dairy bars. “It’s concerning the connection,” she stated, “the tales of individuals, the human expertise and with the ability to be taught extra about their lives and why they’re nonetheless right here in any case these years.”

Kat Robinson
Susie Q Malt Store in Rogers.

Robinson’s earlier PBS particular “Make Room for Pie” was nominated for a regional Emmy in 2018. Robinson wrote two books in quarantine final 12 months “43 Tables: An Web Neighborhood Cooks Throughout Quarantine” and “A Chew of Arkansas.” She additionally labored with Arkansas PBS to create a no-contact cooking program known as “Dwelling Cooking With Kat & Pals.” The one hour particular aired in June of 2020. Yow will discover Robinson’s books right here.

The screening tonight is situated at Kenda Drive-In at 107 Westwood Dr. in Marshall. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and the movie will likely be proven round nightfall. Robinson will likely be signing her beforehand revealed books on the occasion. Yow will discover extra data and a trailer for the film right here. Featured dairy bars within the movie:

 

  • Feltner’s Whatta-Burger in Russellville.
  • Bailey’s Dairy Deal with in Sizzling Springs.
  • Dairyette in Mount Ida.
  • Susie Q Malt Store in Rogers.
  • Burge’s Hickory Smoked Turkeys & Hams in Lewisville and Little Rock.
  • Ray’s in Monticello.
  • Salem Dairy Bar in Benton.
  • Kream Kastle in Blytheville.
  • The Bulldog Restaurant in Bald Knob.
  • Hamburger Station in Paragould.
  • Troy’s Drive-In in De Witt.
  • The Authentic ScoopDog in North Little Rock.
  • Daisy Queen in Marshall.

 

Robinson is compiling a culinary tour information referencing the 94 dairy bars in Arkansas. Further details about “Arkansas Dairy Bars: Neat Eats & Cool Treats,” together with a photograph gallery of Robinson’s travels and historic dairy bars, is on the market at myarpbs.org/dairybars.

Throughout the broadcast, viewers may have the chance to make a donation to Arkansas PBS and obtain such gadgets as a DVD of this system, Robinson’s latest e-book “Arkansas Dairy Bars: Neat Eats & Cool Treats” or an Arkansas meals map T-shirt.

“Dairy Bars: Neat Eats & Cool Treats” may even air Sunday, Aug. 22, at 10:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 22, at 2 p.m. on ARPBS-4 WORLD; and Sunday, Aug. 22, at 4 p.m. on ARPBS-2 CREATE.

 

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