Long-held recipes secret to success for this Bentonville cafe
Posted: July 29, 2012 at 6 a.m.
Recipes served at the original Bud’s Family Style Chicken in Bentonville date back to 1969.
Harold “Bud” Jensen started serving pressure-cooked fried chicken in small quantities from the stockroom of his grocery store in Sac City, Iowa. As demand grew, he added a delicatessen and bakery and, with the help of his mother and wife, created homemade side items to complement the chicken.
The Jensens eventually moved to Bentonville, where Bud opened the home-style restaurant in 1983. The move proved to be a success, leading to additional locations in Rogers, Springdale, Siloam Springs and Neosho, Mo.
Allured by the growth potential of Northwest Arkansas, Jensen elected to put away the tongs and moved into the real estate and construction business. It wasn’t until a few years after Jensen’s death in 2002 that Bud’s Family Style Chicken
made its return. Keith Jensen, the founder’s son, corralled the family and re-enlisted several of the original employees to serve Bud’s chicken and sides once again. “We cook it the way we like to eat it,” he said. The biscuits are handdropped, the gravy is rich and creamy, the corn is buttery and the green beans are mixed with bacon. Chicken can be ordered by
the piece, as a plate or all-you- can-eat. The latter option pro- vides home-style sides including mashed potatoes and cream gravy, seasoned green beans, coleslaw, biscuits, corn and the signature bean soup as an appe- tizer.
“We like to bring food out to the table right away, and the bean soup is a great starter,” Jensen said.
Bud’s also offers all-you-can- eat servings of its lightly breaded catfish fillets and boneless barbe- cue pork ribs. Additional menu items include grilled chicken breasts in hickory or mesquite flavors, home-style chicken and noodles, barbecue pulled pork and an egg salad sandwich.
A soup-and-salad bar is avail- able to add to any meal or as an all-you-can-eat option.
Daily lunch specials are posted on Facebook at the beginning of each week. Called “Bud’s Belly Buster” specials, these start at $5.99 and include homemade la- sagna, chicken-fried beef steak, hamburger steak with a baked potato, and Mom’s Meatloaf. The special plates often include a choice of side or two, as well as a hot roll or biscuit.
Dessert choices include plain, cherry or blueberry cheesecake; bread pudding with caramel pecan sauce; fudge brownie a la mode; and the house specialty — “sheet-pan pie.”
Catering, family-pack carryout meals and banquet-room private dining also are available. Bud’s also helps guests celebrate birthdays with a complimentary brownie delivered by the staff with a fire siren and song.
Bud’s Family Style Chicken is located at 2505 S. Walton Boulevard in Kimberly Plaza in Bentonville. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. seven days a week. More information is available online at budsbestchicken.com or by calling (479) 464-8042.