Monday, June 21, 2010
Wilma’s Restaurant in Fayetteville is truly food for the soul!
I had some free time on my hands on Sunday while the boys were at the groomers and my husband was painting kitchen cabinets at his parents.
I wanted to explore. Find a hole-in-the-wall. Play on my computer. Do something different.
Essentially, I wanted to eat somewhere I had never been before that was DIFFERENT. And I wanted to be able to have it cozy and casual so I could write.
After 1½ hours of driving around trying to find SOMETHING unique and OPEN in Fayetteville on a Sunday at 3pm… I finally found the location!
A bright neon “open” sign beckoned me to Wilma’s Restaurant on North College.
When I first entered the restaurant I realized that it was cozy and not too crowded. A perfect spot to write! A group of friends and perhaps family were sitting at a large dining table. They were dressed in their Sunday best: crisped shirts, shiny shoes, and nicely pressed dresses with beautifully vibrant colors. They appeared happy and relaxed, as those of us tend to act when we have a Sunday afternoon open with nothing to do but relax. The only other occupied table was full of children, young teenagers, which I quickly accessed were related to the first group.
The menu was delivered and I was happy to see that it consisted of “soul food.” It vaguely dawned on me that the sign on the front of the restaurant called this out. Now I just had to decide. Would it be friend chicken? Turkey? Meatloaf? Black Eyed Peas? Silly question… of course it was going to be fried chicken. Now I had to decide again for the sides. Would it be Greens? Fried Okra? Cucumber and tomato salad? Corn on the cob? Silly question again… of course it was going to be fried okra! My second choice was cucumber and tomato salad. Done.
Something else dawned on me. This place was special.
I opened my MacBook and began typing on a guest blog post that I am working on. In a few moments, Mama Wilma came out from the kitchen and began chatting with the guests at the dining room table. I wasn’t sure if they knew each other and I am still not sure but they appeared to.
All I know is that their conversation turned to something else. The hum of a tune. Perfectly sung by Mama Wilma and accompanied by everyone at the table. It was mesmerizing and I was spellbound.
“Walking in the light, He gave us food and shelter, beautiful life and wonderful, how the light shines. The lord has been good to me. I thank him…”
My eyes misted over. I felt honored to hear something so beautifully harmonized and the words were so special since they were thanking God for the food they were eating. We hear often that food is meant to be enjoyed and to give thanks and this moment did that for them. And for me.
“He gave us food and shelter, beautiful life and wonderful, how the light shines.”
And then it was over. The clapping and humming and singing and the children’s nervous glances at me, it ended.
You would think that would be the highlight of my foodie experience. But no way. My food was delivered with the explicit instructions, “Be careful, that chicken is hot and it just came off the grease.”
But greasy it was not.
I have not had fried chicken and okra as good as this since I was a kid growing up in North Carolina. And the tomato and cucumber salad, oh my. Don’t even get me started. It was all perfect. The chicken and okra did not have an ounce of grease and the taste was like biting into a muggy southern summer day when all you have to care about is which bathing suit you are going to wear to the pool that day.
Yeah, it’s that good.
I hope you get a chance to head over to Wilma’s Restaurant for a truly dining experience. They are located at 1618 North College Avenue, across from McDonalds and next to Evelyn Hills Shopping Center (where Ozark Natural Foods is located). Hours are Monday-Thursday 11am-7:30pm; Friday-Saturday 11am-8:30pm; Sundays 12-4. Their website is under construction but click here to access their menu.
Oh, and here’s a tip: I distinctly overheard one of the members of the dinner party say that they “would be back next Sunday for some good old fashioned singing.”
So, if you’re not busy on Sunday, this may hit the spot.
Lyndi blogs about food-related adventures at www.nwafoodie.com
She writes about food because food rocks.
Her theory is that eating can be a great foodie experience even when you think there is nothing better than fast food available. No matter where you live. Northwest Arkansas is home to great deals on great foods, unique ingredients that rock, foodie adventures, and unbelievable restaurant offerings! And if she learns of something special along the way that can benefit someone else, she am eager to help!