If you find yourself in the Cabot area looking for a restaurant that will satisfy a variety of tastes, look no further than Sawbucks Neighborhood Grill. It’s in an area off U.S. 67/167 that is usually congested with traffic, but don’t let that stop you.
We’d noticed Sawbucks on a trip to review another Cabot establishment and had been looking forward to trying their food. So, my mother, son and I headed out for our first visit on a weekday afternoon - before the evening rush from Little Rock to Cabot had gotten under way. The restaurant sits in a big parking lot that is also occupied by a Wal-Mart Supercenter, a gas station, several other restaurants and a handful of smaller businesses that make up a strip mall.
From the outside, it’s obvious that the restaurant was at one time a Mexican place, with tell-tale arches across the front of the building. It had since been painted a dark brown with wood added to the exterior to give it a country feel - a vibe that’s present inside as well.
There are two dining rooms separated by a wall to the left of the front door. There are booths along the right wall, then the rest of the space is filled with wooden tables and chairs, which fit well with the overall country theme. The wooden walls are decorated with nostalgic signs, old tools and other folksy items.
Diners are to be seated by a server. We stood for a few minutes, then I asked another diner if we were supposed to seat ourselves. She said they’d seat us, and in a hushed voice added, “but it might take a little while.” It wasn’t too much longer before a friendly young gal led us to a table.
We ordered drinks, then perused the menu, realizing that we were looking at a lunch menu, but it was almost 5 p.m. They serve off the lunch menu until 5, but offered to bring us the somewhat more extensive - and more expensive - dinner menu.
An appetizer seemed warranted, but there are only three choices. We selected an order of 12 Monterey Jack Shots ($5.99), balls of breaded, fried cheese, served with ranch dressing. The menu claim that they have a bit of a kick was an understatement. The cheese inside the crunchy breading wasn’t melted through, so the texture wasn’t as smooth as we’d hoped.
Other appetizer choices are BBQ nachos ($6.50) and El Paso Pickle Spears ($4.99).
We shared entrees: the butterflied shrimp dinner ($10.95) that comes with 10 shrimp, fries, slaw and hush puppies;12-ounce New York Strip that comes with two sides and Texas toast ($12.95); and a barbecue combo platter ($12.95), which is your choice of two meats (half rack of ribs, brisket, pulled pork or half a smoked chicken) and two sides.
It wasn’t long before the entrees arrived and we were all pleased by what we saw. The food was plentiful so there was more than enough for us to try everything.
The shrimp were large and fried to a golden, crispy finish. The accompanying pile of slaw on Mom’s shrimp plate was almost three times bigger than that on the barbecue platter plate, which was odd, but just meant more to go around. It seemed homemade, with cabbage grated very fine. It was delicious. The hush puppies were flavorful nuggets of crispy brown cornmeal, and the homestyle fries were hot and crispy.
The New York Strip, which I’d ordered medium-rare, was tender with a bright red center.
The ribs and pulled pork of the combo platter were smoky and delicious. The pink rib meat almost fell off the bone, and the pork, which pulled apart in shreds, was tender and pretty lean. Baked beans were smoky with a hint of sweetness, just the way welike them, and a side salad with crunchy croutons was enough for two to share.
Sawbucks also offers reasonably priced burgers, sandwiches and salads. There’s a daily lunch special Monday through Friday that’s an entree, two vegetables, Texas toast and iced tea for $7.95 (they pay the sales tax). And there’s a similar dinner deal for less than $11.
We finished up by sharing two slices of pie ($2.95 per slice). The server mentioned they had peanut butter, lemon ice box and chocolate meringue. We jumped at the chance to try the chocolate and peanut butter, but the server returned to tell us they were out of the chocolate. Lemon would have to do.
The slices were a bit small for the price, but overall we were satisfied. The peanut butter was a bit melted, but had a nice flavor. The flavorful, tangy lemon ice box had the consistency of cheesecake, with a graham cracker crust.
Our second visit, severalweeks later, was on a Monday morning a few days after I’d had foot surgery, putting the accessibility aspect of the place to the test. I was using a walker, and sort of jumped my way up the paved ramp of the parking lot, into the front door and to a table. I was tuckered out as I plopped into a sturdy wooden chair, but thankfully, the restaurant is well suited for someone with mobility limitations.
Sawbucks serves breakfast until 11 a.m. The menu has a selection of breakfast plates that include eggs, meats, biscuits, gravy, French toast and pancakes.
For $6.50, I chose the Sawbucks’ Breakfast, two eggs, two orders of bacon or sausage, one biscuit (add gravy), and hash browns or fried potatoes. Mom got the No. 3: three pancakes, bacon or sausage ($5.25), and a 16-ounce glass of milk ($2.29). My meat-loving son chose the steak and eggs ($9.95): a 10-ounce rib eye, two eggs, biscuit and gravy, and hashbrowns. We added a short stack of two pancakes to share ($2.65).
Our wait for breakfast was about 15 minutes, enough time to sip some pretty good coffee. As with our dinner, we were pleasantly surprised at the amount of food and how delicious it looked. We knew a lot of it would go home in boxes for later.
Mom’s pancakes were the size of dinner plates, and the bacon thick and crispy. My breakfast was as promised, but my bacon was fatty and undercooked. My eggs were perfectly over medium, with firm whites and a runny yolk. The gravy on my fluffy biscuit was a peppery white version that might have been from a mix, but that wasn’t a deal breaker.
My only complaint was that the golden hash browns were not golden. The underside of the pile had a few brown crunchy slivers of potato, but most in the pile were white, under seasoned and a bit undercooked. My son’s were a little better.
The steak was the requested medium-well, and after we both sampled it, I recommended he take it home for dinner. I needed him to help with the order of delicious buttermilk pancakes, and my bacon and sausage.
Sawbucks’ breakfast menu also includes omelets and sandwiches, or meat, eggs, biscuits and hash browns a la carte.
Address: 112 S. Rockwood
Hours: 6 a.m. -9 p.m. daily
Cuisine: Steaks, barbecue,
Credit cards: AE, D, MC, V
Alcoholic beverages: No
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Weekend, Pages 33 on 03/14/2013
Print Headline: Sawbucks has country feeling