Bob Pest

In a world where people eat lunch at their desks, in their cars, or not at all, the lunch experience has been seriously devalued.  Fortunately, there are restaurants like Elizabeth’s that maintain the tradition of lunch as a time for camaraderie, conversation, and fresh, delicious food.  Lunch at Elizabeth’s has become a Batesville tradition for all ages, shapes, and sizes of hungry diners.   Elizabeth’s comfortable dining room transforms lunch into a calming, relaxing experience—something you just can’t get at the drive-thru.

The luncheon menu is creative and ambitious, clearly recognizing both the healthy and the hearty appetite.  A dozen salads are featured, ranging from a magnificent Tropical Chicken Salad with fresh pineapple to a generous Caesar Salad available with grilled chicken or shrimp.  The Spinach Salad, Stuffed Tomato, and Luncheon Green Salad can also be ordered with chicken or shrimp. Owner Diane White demonstrates a commitment to the freshest possible ingredients in all of her dishes, but it is especially evident in the salads.   My own favorite is the Tropical Chicken Salad, with the Spinach Salad a close second.

The luncheon menu also features a variety of sandwiches, served with potato salad, pasta salad, or chips.  Get the pasta salad; it’s awesome.  Notable among the sandwiches are a classic Reuben on toasted rye and a Grilled Chicken Quesadilla.  Diners can also design their own wraps from a more than adequate list of options.  The Broccoli and Cheddar Soup is always available and always worth the trip; a Soup of the Day is also featured in “soup season,” October through April.  Also pay attention to the unequalled homemade yeast rolls, served with honey butter and praised by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

In addition to what’s on the menu, Elizabeth’s offers daily specials.  The luncheon specials usually feature three entrée choices and four or five side dishes.  The range is impressive, from Lemon Baked Chicken to Lasagna, Beef Stroganoff, to Meat Loaf.   Lunch specials include two side dishes. Don’t overlook the side dishes, especially the Squash Casserole and Broccoli/Cauliflower Salad.

Desserts are treated with great respect by Diane White and her staff.  It will only take you eight trips to try them all.  I am stuck on “one” because I can’t bring myself to pass up an opportunity to enjoy the Blackberry Cobbler with homemade vanilla ice cream.   I am especially looking forward to the Apple Dumplings and the Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce if the restaurant ever runs out of blackberries.

Lunch is served from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00.  Elizabeth’s is usually fairly full by about 11:45 but there is seldom much of a wait for a table.  Given the quality of the food, the understated elegance of the space, and the skill and grace of the wait staff, prices are surprisingly low.

Elizabeth’s is also open for dinner Thursday through Saturday from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.  The dinner menu includes an assortment of appetizers such as Stuffed Mushrooms, Mozzarella Sticks, and Shrimp Cocktail.  Steaks, Pasta, Seafood, and Chicken dishes make up the evening entrees.  Popular choices include Chicken Alfredo, Prime Rib, Grilled Shrimp, and Sirloin Tips, marinated and served with grilled peppers and onions.  Dinners are served with a choice of two side dishes, a garden salad, and rolls. The health conscious can select the Vegetable Pasta or the Vegetable Plate, which includes a choice of three side dishes and a dinner salad.   Thursday evening‘s special is “all you can eat” Spaghetti, Salad, and Garlic Bread for a low $6.99 per person.

The restaurant hosts a number of private events during the year when it is closed to the public, so it is advisable to call for available seating before heading downtown for dinner.  Elizabeth’s has played a significant role in Main Street Batesville’s 2nd Friday Wander and Wonder Walk, occasionally featuring live music by local talents such as Danny Dozier and David Grimes, and offering dinner specials like a Cajun menu or burger night.  The restaurant displays art by local artists and hosts events by area non-profits, including Main Street Batesville and the Ozark Foothills FilmFest.

Elizabeth also offers full-service catering.  The catering menu features most restaurant favorites along with an expanded choice of appetizers, some additional salads and entrees, and a wide  selection of cookies and desserts. Elizabeth’s is located at 231 E. Main; for catering or dinner seating call 870-698-0903.