Keepin' it fresh

Bentonville location to receive a complete interior refinishing

Posted: May 9, 2014 at 6 a.m.

Village Inn Restaurants have established a long-standing reputation for its housemade pies and made-to-order breakfasts.

These days, the nationwide chain is making its mark with made-from-scratch items that include hand-patted burgers, hand-battered cod fillets and freshly prepared salads.

The breakfast menu is also grown beyond the familiar diner fare and also features made-from-scratch crepes, Savory Skillet Meals and eggs Benedict.

Breakfast is offered all day and features cooked-to-order classics including French toast, Belgian waffles, omelets, fresh-baked biscuits, huevos rancheros and made-from-scratch buttermilk pancakes.

"We are the only national restaurant to make our own pancake batter from scratch, not from a mix," Walker said.

Village Inn was founded in 1958 and operates approximately 200 restaurants throughout the country, three of which are located in Arkansas and owned by hospitality specialist George Babb.

Babb opened his first Village Inn restaurant in Fayetteville in 1994. He also owns locations in Bentonville and Fort Smith.

Babb was recently recognized as Franchisee of the Year, winning the honor for the second time. Winners are chosen based on guest surveys, mystery shopper reviews, sales increases and corporate reviews. Winners also demonstrate a "passion to serve, willingness to embrace change and relentless improvement" as instilled by the Village Inn brand.

The Bentonville store will embody that spirit with a complete interior redesign. The refinishing will deliver new chairs, tables and lighting, among other upgrades.

"We want to keep our restaurants fresh and keep it comfortable for our customers. It's all about providing the best experience for our customers," marketing specialist Alice Walker said.

The Bentonville location will close Sunday, Mother's Day, at 3:30 p.m. The redesigned store will reopen 6 a.m. the following Wednesday.

Customers that come to celebrate Mother's Day at the Fayetteville, Bentonville or Fort Smith locations will also be presented a special gift.

"We don't have a special menu, like we have done in the past, but George is buying roses for all the mothers that come in to dine," Walker said.

Another sweet gift of generosity is offered 10 a.m.-10 p.m. every Wednesday. All guests who dine in and order a meal will be offered a free slice of pie. Current selections for Pie Rush Wednesday include double-crust fruit, white chocolate key lime or apple cherry lattice.

The made-from-scratch pies have high-quality ingredients mixed with homemade care and layered into freshly prepared crusts.

As an added convenience, whole pies can be ordered online to be picked up at the Fayetteville and Bentonville stores.

At villageinn.com, guests can also view the entire menu, pie selection, join the eCLUB and complete a survey.

The menu served daily at Village Inn include fresh salads such as the chicken Caesar, Cobb, chef and Southwest salad. The seasonal salad is grilled chicken and fresh fruit with almonds slices and poppy seed dressing.

Sandwiches include as French beef dip, marbled-rye Reuben, albacore tuna melt and chicken ranch club.

Specialty burgers are served on grilled brioche and can be topped with just about anything -- choices include fried onion rings, sliced avocado, pickled jalapenos, a fried egg and beef chili.

Comfort food offerings include a classic chicken pot pie with a flaky pie crust or Shepherd's pie topped with Parmesan-crusted mashed potatoes.

"When you dine at Village Inn, you get meals made with fresh ingredients as if you made it in your own kitchen," Walker said.

Homestyle meals such as smothered chicken or chopped steak include two sides, a cup of soup and a side salad. Additional options include chicken-fried steak, grilled center-cut pork chops or a top sirloin steak grilled in garlic.

Seafood entrees include golden-fried shrimp, grilled fish of the day or fish and chips. Unlimited hand-battered, fried cod with seasoned fries, coleslaw and tarter sauce is served 5-9 p.m. on Fridays.

For health-conscious patrons, Village Inn has several menu items labeled with less than 550 calories. A separate breakfast menu presents more than 30 items for a build-your-own breakfast of four popular items, including eggs, country potatoes, meats, crepes, waffles or oatmeal.

There is also a Pick 2 Lunch My Way Combo that offers select sandwiches, salads and soups; and the My Incredible V.I.B. which lets guests create a meal from more than 30 selections.

NAN Dining Guide Cover on 05/09/2014

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