Over the past few months, Batesville has witnessed a number of restaurant closings, including the Cheeseburger Grill  and Claudel’s.  The current economic situation is obviously a major reason for these closings.  Fortunately, and not surprisingly, Elizabeth’s Restaurant, in the heart of the downtown historic business district, has withstood the economic pressures to maintain its high level of quality lunch and dinner offerings at reasonable prices.  In fact, the restaurant has added a Sunday Buffet Brunch which has received high ratings on the Urbanspoon customer reviews website. Elizabeth’s was a recipient of two awards from the Eye on Independence magazine food competition, receiving both the Best Service and Best Place for a Romantic Dinner honors and narrowly missing Best Desserts. Owner Diane White and her outstanding staff deserved both awards for maintaining a consistent level of quality food and stellar service.

The luncheon menu at Elizabeth’s 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. In an article I wrote a few years ago I raved about the Tropical Chicken Salad, mostly because both the fruit and the chicken are always incredibly fresh.  Nothing has happened to diminish my enthusiasm.

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 packed 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. I also have to admit to a serious fondness for the homemade yeast rolls, served with honey butter at every meal.  Luncheon specials usually feature several entrée selections and a choice of two side dishes from four or five options. Frequent choices include Lemon Baked Chicken (a local favorite), Lasagna, Beef Stroganoff, and Meat Loaf. Don’t overlook the side dishes, especially the Broccoli/Cauliflower Salad—we all need to eat more cruciferous vegetables.

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 include a choice of three side dishes and a dinner salad.

Diane White and her staff take great pride in their desserts. Whether you order the Blackberry Cobbler, the Apple Dumplings, the Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce, or any of the other selections, you’ll be glad you saved room for dessert. The coffee is also excellent and you’ll never have to wait long for a refill.

Elizabeth’s offers full-service catering. The catering menu features most restaurant items 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 Street; for catering or dinner reservations call 870-698-0903. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch from 11:00 to 3:00. Elizabeth’s is usually pretty full by about 11:45, but there is seldom much of a wait.  Dinner is served on Thursday to Saturday evenings from 5:00 to 9:00; Thursday nights offer an ALL YOU CAN EAT Spaghetti Special for $6.99 per person including spaghetti, garlic bread, and salad. The Sunday Buffet Brunch is served from 11:00 until 2:00. The restaurant hosts a number of private events during the year, so it makes sense to call before making a long drive downtown.  Elizabeth’s has played an important and continues to play a major role in the revival of the downtown business district, frequently featuring live music by local troubadours Danny Dozier or David Grimes.  The restaurant displays art by local artists and hosts events for area non-profits, including Main Street Batesville and the Ozark Foothills FilmFest .

Elizabeth’s is proof that fine food does not have to be expensive and that a relatively small town can support the kind of “white tablecloth” restaurant that usually flourishes in larger communities. Count your blessings and enjoy your meal. You’ll be back.  See you there!