We have all been taught not to eat our dessert before our meal. But at the Red Rooster Bistro in Alma, even your grandmother would recommend you order your pie before you choose an entree. The pie case is stocked daily with an outstanding, amazing variety of choices but - the table next to you could get the last slice that's calling your name.
The entrees are every bit as delicious as the pies, but pie does tend to take a starring role. The selections, written on a giant, square, floor-to-ceiling chalkboard on the south wall of the restaurant, fill it from side to side and top to bottom.
Yes, there are apple, cherry, peach, coconut, banana and strawberry but also Toll House, pecan cream cheese, millionaire, key lime, egg custard and Reese's, Butterfinger and Heath Bar pies. These make up maybe half the choices, offered by the slice or the whole pie.
"Scratch" baking creates the key ingredient in the Red Rooster Bistro's roster of mouth-watering sandwiches. Everything from the Dagwood to Grilled German Sausage sandwich to the Rooster Burger should be ordered on "Rooster Bread," a square, baked-daily bun of rich buttery taste with a light but crunchy texture. The buns also are sliced and made into garlic bread to accompany specialty salads and cubed for seasoned salad croutons at the generous salad bar. Customers carry out extra orders of Rooster bread; some stop by just to pick up an order to add to a meal at home.
It's a close connection to home-style cooking and comfort-food tastes that have hooked the regulars on the Red Rooster Bistro. Owner Brenda Gregory's very caring staff includes some of her own family, who tend every diner with care. Scattered throughout the dining room are large dining tables and chairs to accommodate big groups. The kitchen can get a ball team "in and out between games," Gregory said.
On Sundays when almost no one's mama can assemble a big lunch any more, the Red Rooster Bistro offers classic, fondly remembered Sunday lunches such as skillet-fried chicken with mashed potatoes and real gravy and an assortment of fresh vegetables.
Diners who prefer cake can choose from carrot cake, fresh apple cake and strawberry short cake, in season. Barbecue by Dobbin Osburn is a recent addition to the already-huge menu, for dining in or take-out. Osburn offers sliced and chopped brisket and pulled pork sandwiches or racks of ribs. There's also a loaded baked potato topped with your choice of meat and barbecue sauce. The perfect addition would be extra Rooster Bread buns, a selection of real fried pies and soft-serve ice cream.
Red Rooster Bistro is located at 221 U.S. 71 North, just south of Interstate 40, Alma, Ark.
Open 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday ; 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays. 479-430-7518