12 Best Restaurants in Benton, Arkansas

Last Updated on February 19, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Benton is a small city located in central Arkansas, just outside of Little Rock. With a population of only around 35,000 people, Benton may seem like an unlikely foodie destination at first glance. However, this unassuming city actually boasts a vibrant dining scene filled with delicious eateries serving up comfort food classics, creative cuisine, and ethnic specialties.

From longtime community fixtures dishing out hearty helpings of stick-to-your-ribs fare to contemporary spots putting modern twists on old favorites, Benton’s restaurants cater to a range of palates. Barbecue joints smoking brisket and ribs share the culinary spotlight with posh establishments crafting artistically plated dishes. No matter your tastes or budget, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your cravings in Benton.

To discover the best food around, check out this list of 12 of the top restaurants in Benton, Arkansas. From chef-driven fine dining to casual cafes, these are the establishments visitors and locals alike rave about.

Fifty-One Fifty

Tucked away on a side street in downtown Benton, Fifty-One Fifty offers an upscale dining experience in an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere. Chef and owner Bimal Chitrakar expertly blends his Nepali heritage and French training to create globally inspired American fare.

Standouts on the seasonally changing menu include parmesan crusted chicken topped with prosciutto and lemon caper sauce and pan seared sea scallops served atop mushroom risotto. Fifty-One Fifty also boasts an extensive cocktail menu to perfectly complement your meal. With delicate flavor combinations, artful presentations, and top-notch service, Fifty-One Fifty is ideal for date nights or special celebrations.

Address: 151 Jefferson St, Benton, AR 72015
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 5 p.m.–9 p.m.

David’s Burgers

For delicious burgers cooked to order in a fast-casual setting, head to David’s Burgers. This local favorite serves up juicy beef patties, hand-breaded chicken sandwiches, crispy fries, shakes, and more. Build your own burger creation or try one of their signature stacks like the Frito Chili Cheeseburger or Pizza Burger; all available in single, double, or triple patty options.

Known for huge portions, David’s Burgers is a top spot to refuel without breaking the bank. With two Benton locations, additional outlets in Bryant and Hot Springs, and a food truck for on-the-go service, David’s Burgers has earned a loyal following across central Arkansas.

Address: 205 Military Rd, Benton, AR 72015
Hours: Monday–Saturday, 10:30 a.m.–9 p.m.

Fisherman’s Wharf

For fresh from the Gulf seafood in a casual coastal setting, Fisherman’s Wharf is the place to go. This rustic eatery surrounded by fishing memorabilia serves up baskets overflowing with lightly breaded shrimp, fried catfish, oysters, and more.

Pair your seafood with hushpuppies, fries, or slaw and wash it down with domestic beers or frozen cocktails. Fisherman’s Wharf also plates up po’ boys, burgers, salads, and Creole specialties like jambalaya and étouffée. With quick counter service and affordable prices, it’s easy to see why Fisherman’s Wharf has been a go-to for Benton locals’ seafood fix for over 20 years.

Address: 3701 Highway 35, Benton, AR 72019
Hours: Monday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–9 p.m.

Taliano’s Italian Restaurant

Classic Italian comfort fare is the name of the game at family-owned Taliano’s Italian Restaurant. This casual trattoria balances tradition and innovation with options like classic spaghetti marinara and shrimp scampi alongside creative dishes like Italian nachos loaded with pepperoni and melted mozzarella.

Taliano’s also offers nightly specials that might include lasagna, chicken piccata, or eggplant Parmesan. Save room for dessert where options include tiramisu and seasonal cheesecakes. With friendly service, cozy ambiance, and made-from-scratch cooking, Taliano’s brings a taste of Italy to Benton.

Address: 3301 Military Rd, Benton, AR 72015
Hours: Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.–9 p.m.; Friday–Saturday 11 a.m.–10 p.m.

The Royal Food Market

The Royal Food Market offers Greek and Mediterranean flavors in a casual counter-service setting. This family-owned eatery plates up pita sandwiches overflowing with grilled meat, falafel, or veggies plus salads like tabbouleh and Greek. Daily specials might include moussaka, gyros, or Greek-style pastas.

Baklava, rice pudding, and other desserts provide a sweet finish. With affordable prices and hearty portions, Royal Food Market is a popular lunch and dinner spot. Take your food to go or dine at one of the few tables in this tiny but mighty eatery.

Address: 1712 Military Rd, Benton, AR 72015
Hours: Monday–Saturday 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

Skeeter’s Mesquite Grill

Mesquite wood smoking infuses a smoky sweetness into Skeeter’s barbecue and grilled dishes. Low and slow smoked brisket sliced to order tops the list of Texas-style barbecue options alongside ribs, sausage, pulled pork, and chicken. Skeeter’s also plates up chargrilled steaks, burgers, and daily specials like catfish. Sides run the gamut from baked potatoes to fried okra, washed down with ice cold domestic beers.

Hearty portions, wallet-friendly combos, and BYOB policy make Skeeter’s a local institution. A second location in Hot Springs plus food trucks around central Arkansas bring Skeeter’s signature flavor to the masses.

Address: 4201 East Street, Benton, AR 72019
Hours: Monday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.

Chelsea’s Corner Cafe

For classic comfort fare in cozy surroundings, Chelsea’s Corner Cafe hits the spot. This quaint eatery occupies a charming historic home just off the main drag in old town Benton. The dining rooms with fireplaces and tin ceilings provide a perfect backdrop for Chelsea’s stick-to-your-ribs cooking.

Order up fluffy pancakes, biscuits and gravy, or big burgers for lunch. At dinner, favorites include pot roast, chicken fried steak, and chicken spaghetti. Daily specials, friendly service, and pie by the slice complete the homestyle experience that makes Chelsea’s Corner Cafe feel like eating at grandma’s house.

Address: 200 E Sevier St, Benton, AR 72015
Hours: Monday–Saturday 6 a.m.–8 p.m.

MJ’s Grill

Creole flavors fused with Southern soul food staples are the foundation of MJ’s Grill’s cuisine. This Black-owned eatery plates up po’ boys, fried seafood baskets, smothered meats, and daily specials like fried catfish, smothered turkey wings, meatloaf, and more.

Sides range from mac and cheese to collard greens and yams. Wash it all down with fresh lemonade or sweet tea. Longtime owner Mary Jackson maintains quality through scratch cooking so diners can taste the love in every bite. With a welcoming vibe, righteous food, and giving spirit, MJ’s Grill nourishes body and soul.

Address: 201 West Access Road, Benton, AR 72019
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 11 a.m.–7 p.m.

Peddler’s Pub

Peddler’s Pub brings English style fish and chips, bangers and mash, steak and mushroom pie, and other U.K. favorites to Benton. This cozy pub occupies a 19th century building with dark wood, etched glass, and Anglo decor setting the scene.

Sip English and Irish beers, ciders, or whiskey while you dine then play darts or cornhole outside. Daily specials range from cottage pie and ploughman’s lunch to prime rib and enchiladas. With authentic offerings, games, trivia nights, and live music, Peddler’s Pub offers a fun, lively night out.

Address: 324 W South St, Benton, AR 72015
Hours: Monday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–12 a.m.

301 BBQ and Grill

Smoked meats take center stage at 301 BBQ and Grill. Located in a metal building just off Interstate 30, this roadside barbecue joint plates up melt-in-your-mouth brisket, fall-off-the-bone ribs, smoky links, pulled pork, and chicken wings.

Loaded baked potatoes make a hearty side to all the smoked and grilled proteins. The signature 301 Sauce adds tangy sweetness to every bite. With wallet-friendly prices, big portions, and BYOB policy, 301 BBQ and Grill is worth a detour for phenomenal barbecue in a no-frills setting.

Address: Exit 117 – 298 S Access Rd, Benton, AR 72019
Hours: Wednesday–Saturday 11 a.m.–7 p.m.

Thai Drift

For authentic Thai flavors in contemporary surroundings, look no further than Thai Drift. This chic Asian fusion bistro crafts Thai curry, noodle and rice dishes, stir fries, and more with fresh ingredients and skilled preparation. Creative cocktails made with soju, sake, and other Asian spirits complement the cuisine.

Standouts include pad Thai, crispy duck, pineapple fried rice, red curry, and Tom yum soup bursting with flavors of lemongrass, chilies, and kaffir lime. With a stylish ambiance and scrumptious fare, Thai Drift brings city-style Thai dining to Benton.

Address: 911 Military Rd, Benton, AR 72015
Hours: Monday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.–9 p.m.

The Rolling Pin

The Rolling Pin brings sweet treats, savory eats, and excellent coffee to Benton. Display cases brimming with cupcakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and other baked goods provide the backdrop for this charming cafe. Breakfast offerings include pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, and casseroles.

For lunch, try sandwiches, salads, or soup of the day. Daily specials range from pot roast to enchiladas. Save room for a slice of pie, brownie, or other dessert paired with specialty coffee drinks. From first cup to last bite, the Rolling Pin provides a perfect break in your day.

Address: 2300 Congo Rd Suite B, Benton, AR 72015
Hours: Monday–Saturday, 7 a.m.–2 p.m.

Conclusion

From barbecue joints to bistros, Benton’s dining scene has something to suit every palate. Long beloved community staples like Chelsea’s Corner Cafe and Fisherman’s Wharf anchor the culinary landscape alongside contemporary spots putting fresh twists on cuisine like Fifty-One Fifty and Thai Drift. These 12 restaurants dish up comfort food classics, ethnic fare, chef-driven plates, sweet treats, and everything in between.

On your next visit to central Arkansas, take time to explore Benton’s underrated food scene. The hardest part will be deciding where to go first, so come hungry enough to try more than one of these local gems on your flavor tour of Benton.

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