Who Dat’s Cajun Restaurant— Bald Knob, Arkansas

During class on Friday one of my participants told me that there was a local restaurant that I “HAD” to try before leaving the area. I wasn’t flying out until the morning, so I took his recommendation and went to ‘Who Dat’s’ in the nearby town of Bald Knob.

The restaurant was decorated with a wide variety of taxidermy (an Elk was staring down at me) and an assortment of funny signs and pictures—think southern kitsch, and you’ll probably be able to conjure up an accurate image.

To better understand the restaurant and the food it serves, a quote on the menu reads, “All of our recipes are created by a “Real” Cajun Chef. You don’t have to go to Louisiana to get the real deal.” Doug Stelly, the owner and chef, hails from Louisiana. He’s self-taught and has over fifty years of cooking experience.

The menu was huge with many offerings, but I opted for the ‘Bayou Platter’ which included a bit of a everything—gumbo, crawfish étouffée, fried catfish, fried shrimp, frog legs, boiled shrimp, stuffed mushrooms, snow crab legs, AND hush puppies. Even for a Northern girl like me—you ‘gotta’ have hush puppies!

I opted for this platter because of the frog’s legs and the crawfish étouffée. I tried frog leg’s years ago and I wanted to try them again, but I’d never had étouffée, even though I have heard of it.

When my meal was brought to the table, I looked at it in stunned silence. There was enough food on the plate for three people! The woman at the next table laughed and said, “It looks good!”

I agreed, “Yes—it does, but I don’t even know where to start!

My meal was excellent and I especially enjoyed the frog’s legs and the hush puppies.

Would I go back? Absolutely!

Surprise—surprise…I couldn’t finish!

Chicken and Dressing

As a northern girl, one of the traits that I’ve found most delightful when I’ve travel in the the south is the concept of southern hospitality

I trained in Searcy, Arkansas this week, and the participants went out of their way to make sure that I felt welcomed. Several of them gave me ideas for things to do or see after work, and many wrote down local restaurants for me to try. All-in-all, they made an effort to make sure that I was okay, and feeling comfortable while visiting their town. 

I’ve had people do similar things for me at other trainings, so I can only describe this as a different feeling. There was an overall feeling of hospitality, rather than hospitality from one or two individuals. 

About mid-week, one of my participants asked me if I knew what dressing was, and if I’d ever had it before.

“You mean stuffing?”

She gave me a ‘bless your heart look,’ and replied in a heavy southern accent, that I swear appeared out of nowhere, “Southern dressing is similar, but it’s not the same thing as stuffing.”


“A few of us are going to order take-out for lunch tomorrow, would you like to try it? You really should—it’s good.”

Never one to turn down the opportunity to try something new, I accepted her offer of chicken and dressing with a side of beans and cornbread.

The next day, four of us sat down to eat lunch together.  I looked down at my plate and I saw a big scoop of what looked like stuffing. However, I learned yesterday, that here, at least, it’s called dressing. 

I could have sworn that she has called it chicken and dressing, but I certainly didn’t see any chicken on my plate. 

“Did you say that this was called chicken and dressing?”

“Yes, that’s what we call it,” she said looking over at me with a slight grin.

“Where’s the chicken?”

The ‘bless your heart,’ look washed over her face(again) as she explained, “The chicken is IN the dressing.”


I enjoyed my meal, but I do have to say that it tasted just like stuffing with chicken in it! Shhh—don’t tell! ?

Downtown Searcy, Arkansas

I’m teaching in Searcy, Arkansas this week and one of my participants suggested that I should go to the downtown area to see ‘Art Alley’… so I did! I was told that the alley is constantly being re-painted, which in essence, creates an ever-changing art display for the public to admire. My favorite painting (pictured below) features a tired-looking woman who just happens to be rocking bright red lipstick and fingernails! The pink background screams of cotton candy and Pepto-Bismol, but yet, it somehow works!

Art Alley…
This is my favorite painting in the alley…
I love the colors…

A few more pictures from the downtown area…

After walking around downtown Searcy, and being totally captivated by its charm, I found out that the town will be featured on an upcoming reality show called, ‘Small Business Revolution.’ The show hosted by Ty Pennington and Amanda Brinkman will air this fall on Hulu. In addition to being featured on the show, the town won $500,000.00, which is earmarked toward the revitalization effort that has already been going on here (Just look at the movie theater pictured above!). Six small businesses have won a $25,000 each (from the total earnings), and they will given marketing advice to help grow their businesses. I feel proud of the town and I’ve only been here a week!

Check out: Small Business Revolution Video featuring the town of Searcy, Arkansas!