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Purple Cow

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Writer’s note:  In 1995, just after moving back to Hot Springs, I met the now late Dr. Edward Cooper and we soon became great friends.  We both loved good restaurants and we specifically spoke of the Purple Cow in Little Rock.  Because we loved PC’s concept and their food, we had more than one conversation about opening a “purple-cow-look-alike” in the Spa City.  Jobs, family and other commitments never let us pursue this hobby/opportunity; however, I can just see Edward smiling from Heaven that Hot Springs now has “our” Purple Cow. 

B-bop-ba-dee-bop-ba-boom-boom-boom….think of Fonzie’s hangout, but even better!  Purple Cow is a blast from the 50’s past.  It’s not just a malt shop (but they have great malts), it’s not just a hamburger joint (but they have great burgers), it’s not just a sandwich place, or just a salad stop, or even just a cool place to hang out.  Purple Cow is all of that and is the ultimate in casual fare!

I’m really not sure whether you should start with a malt or shake, or end with one.  Maybe both?  Purple Cow has about twenty flavors including Mint Chocolate Chip and the ever popular Purple Vanilla…the purple ice cream is actually made to PC’s specifications from Arkansas’ own Yarnell.  And/or consider the Sampler Platter starter…Fried Pickles, Herb Fried Mushrooms, Cheese Sticks and Potato Wedges (like JoJo potatoes).  Ask for the Habanera dipping sauce if you like some zip.
Purple Cow’s food is very fresh and everything on their menu is made from scratch.  I was impressed with their attention to detail in the kitchen.  They rotate chefs from Little Rock to insure consistency of quality.  Cow has many interesting homemade soup/chili options and some great entrée salads such as a fab Cobb Salad or their Santa Fe Salad…seasoned grilled chicken breast on mixed greens with black beans, pepper jack cheese, tomato, onion, peppers, BBQ vinaigrette and fresh tortilla strips.  The Chicken Salad Platter is homemade and delicious.
The Classic Hamburger/Cheeseburger is one of the mainstay menu items and is quite good.  The Turkey Burger is also very good for a healthier option.  One of my favorites, speaking of healthier options, is the Portabella Mushroom “burger”…a whole portabella mushroom grilled in soy and balsamic with grilled (of course purple) onions, red, yellow, and green peppers topped with provolone cheese and served on a bun.  Or, be bad with a Rodeo Burger…bacon, BBQ sauce and cheese.  And of course Purple Cow has one of the best Chili Dogs in town, the dog from Petit Jean, Arkansas.  The fries here are just about perfect.
As you would expect, the desserts are marvelous.  The Big Classic Banana Split is just like you remember, as is the Drug Store Hot Fudge Sundae.  My favorite is the Caramel Cashew Coffee Sundae… Cappuccino Chip ice cream topped with warm caramel, cashews, whipped cream and a cherry.  The Purple Ice Cream Pie is fun too.  You can even create your own Sundae from numerous ice cream flavors and toppings.
Of course you have the same “new opening jitters”…cold buns, slow service and more that seems to hit most, but owners Todd and Philip, along with operations head Allan, are committed to quality that will win the day.
Purple Cow is open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays with a fantastic breakfast menu including The Cheesiest Grits, topped with pepper jack…yum!  They have a separate take-out entrance and serving area for to-go orders.  Cow can definitely accommodate vegetarians and vegans.  They serve as many sustainable local products as possible.  You will like the music they play when you’re there and they offer beer/wine/bloody marys/mimosas and other bar favorites.
No  bull.  I wouldn’t steer you wrong!  Don’t knock the servers over when you tip them.  I’m going to milk these cow jokes, just because I cud.  …groan…these cow puns are udderly terrible.  I’ll stop now…herd enough?  Get on the mooove and hoof it to the Cow….The Purple Cow!
8:51pm  The Fonz for President