I have very few reasons to revisit my past. Oversized JNCO jeans with embroidered images of drooling, schizophrenic jesters juggling dice, the ear bleed inducing sounds of Limp Bizkit, or a wizard form of David Bowie prancing around wearing spandex in The Labyrinth? No thanks, think I’ll pass. However, at times living in the past is not always a bad thing, a lesson I was recently schooled on by the fine folks at Asher Dairy Bar. On the outside, this Col. Glenn fixture may not be much to look at anymore, merely a shadow of its former self…inside, not much has seemed to have changed either. Clearly, the place has lived through many years of growth and change within the community, yet Asher Dairy Bar feels relatively untouched. Luckily, the food and shakes feel and taste as classic as ever—flavor, attentive and friendly service, and prices even your grandparents would be pleased with will never fall out of fashion.
Let’s get one thing straight, other than milkshakes, you’re probably going to Asher Dairy Bar for a burger. Sure, there’s a number of other available menu items, which you may be inclined to venture towards from time to time. But when you’re craving a thin-patty, grease ball of a burger—the kind that leaves you constantly checking over your shoulder to make sure your cardiologist doesn’t catch you in the sinful, forbidden act—Asher Dairy Bar is your place.
In all honesty, the burger offerings on Asher’s menu are a tad confusing. There’s the regular burger, the jumbo burger, the regular double burger, the jumbo double burger, the “over the hill” burger, and the “over the hill” double burger. If you’ve got 20 minutes for them to explain the whole menu, you may begin to get to the bottom of it all, but allow me to simplify: get the regular double cheeseburger.
For some reason, the regular-sized, double cheese burger seems to really hit that sweet spot of proper beef to grease proportions, adequate cheese coverage, and proper consistency and texture despite being, basically, a well-done burger. They’re thin, about an 1/8th of a pound each, but remain juicy and tender due to their lovely fatty properties. The cheese is generously portioned and the bun is soft, with a slightly toasted crisp to one side. It’s a cheeseburger seen a million times, in a million places…but it’s done right here. And at $3.19, no one is complaining about its rather commonplace components.
You could easily pass up on the fries, they’re rather underseasoned and clearly from pre-bagged, frozen potatoes. You’re better off going with the tater tots, they’re sufficiently hot and crispy and go down well after a quick swim in ketchup.
Asher Dairy Bar boasts a sizable breakfast menu that includes expected diner classics such as biscuits and gravy, French toast, omelets, and pancakes. Their self-proclaimed “famous” breakfast toaster sandwich is substantial and enough to keep an average stomach fulfilled for a good six hours. Two thick slices of Texas toast, grilled on the flat-top, two eggs, melted American cheese, and your choice of sausage, bacon, or ham. They’re not winning any Beard awards for this thing but it’s the fast, greasy comfort food you’d expect from a place of this sort. It will fill you up, and it’s rather tasty.
There’s roughly ten million burger joints in Little Rock alone…maybe a slight exaggeration, but it sometimes feels that way. But you can’t fault Asher Dairy Bar for maintaining a traditional diner/drive-in culture in our city. It’s without frills, no bells and whistles…but their prices are low enough to dispel any desire for more posh surroundings. There’s no farm-fresh fried duck eggs, truffle oil, or foie gras topping their burgers, but sometimes you just want a cheap thrill—Asher Dairy Bar’s got that an more.
(Asher Dairy Bar is located at 7105 Colonel Glenn Rd., Little Rock. 501-562-1085)