Worth The Trip: The Original Fried Pie Shop (But Not For the Reason You Think)

The cheeseburger is one of the most quintessential of American foods, yet, like snowflakes, each one differs from the next; and everyone knows an out-of-the-way place that serves a good one.

So when we heard there were some savory burgers at the Original Fried Pie Shop shop in Jacksonville, we didn’t say “why?” but “why not?” and bolted to the car for a rainy day, lunchtime road trip.

When it opened more than six years ago, the shop was, as billed, a haven for crispy-on-the-outside, flavorful-on-the-inside fried pies of fruit, cream or meat. Based on confections served in Oklahoma’s Arbuckle Mountains more than 120 years ago, the pies are sold in standalone restaurants and other locations in Arkansas and Texas.

Somewhere along the way, the Original Fried Pie Shop in Jacksonville began serving burgers, even altering its sign and marquee to give the menu item some serious play.

Located at 1321 TP White Drive, on an access road not far from Little Rock Air Force Base, the Original Fried Pie Shop is a go-to lunchtime location. It was clear by the bustling clientele and an award-winning review on the wall that the shop had built a following, and the pies — seductively golden brown and running the gamut from apricot to Tex Mex — were tempting.

But we stuck with the plan and ordered the double cheeseburger basket, seasoned fries and a peanut butter shake from a diverse list of flavors.

These days burgers seem to fall into four categories: the fast-food brand most satisfying for its familiar, fast-food taste; thick-pattied, fresh-off-the grill homestyle; experimentally gourmet with some random topping like avocado or truffles; and the old-fashioned, diner-slash-dairy bar special.

Ours was a satisfying example of the latter. The patties made from ground brisket were juicy but not too, and the cheese — or buttery, melted gold as we prefer to think of it — lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, mayo, mustard and seedless bun all worked together to scratch the itch in our appetite.

The hand cut seasoned fries were sturdy and crisp and the shake — served with a conduit-sized straw and a spoon — was thick but silky and made us forget to order the water we once thought we’d want.

Don’t hate us for our fickleness, fried pies. After our visit, we know we’ll be back to sample the namesake treats, and maybe a sundae or cone too. It just so happens a burger that sticks to the blueprint in all the right ways is another, solid piece of the pie shop.

Hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday

9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday

11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday

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