Road Trip to Arkansas!

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Heading to Fayetteville for the game? Here's what you need to know!

It’s actually fall here! Check the forecast and bring jeans and a hoodie, maybe a poncho. Right now it’s looking like the high on Saturday may not make it to 80 and it will be in the 50s with a chance of rain by the time the game is over. I had a roommate from San Antonio who considered that parka weather when it got that cold in College Station.

If you have a hotel room a little far away, go ahead and call some places in Fayetteville this week to see if any rooms freed up. This weekend is usually an event called Bikes, Blues and BBQ, so some of the bikers may not have cancelled their rooms until late.

Half of Faytown is pretty much vertical. Wear comfortable shoes and practice your drinking on uneven surfaces so as not embarrass yourself whilst tailgating. This also means parking is terrible and traffic is a nightmare, so…

Prepare to pay a lot for gameday parking. I have no idea what it runs in College Station these days, but in Fayetteville, it’s typically $30 per car. If it’s cheaper than that, go for it…but you may need climbing gear to get to the stadium. The Ozark A&M Club and Association of Former Students are hosting a tailgate here: It’s a beautiful location and they’ll bus you down the hill to the game and back up the hill afterward if you pay to park there and tailgate.

Do not expect polite Arkansas fans. (I'm sure this isn't a surprise) And the level of class declines precipitously after a day of drinking before a 6pm kick off. This is partly because a large number of Arkansas fans are tshirt fans. The state has no professional teams and no other college team that performs at the level of the U of A for competition. Arkansas only surpassed Baylor in enrollment in the last five years, yet pushes 75,000 at their games and has no need for tarps. While kind of impressive for tshirters, the side effect is that there’s just not the unity and consistency in the fan base you see at A&M. They genuinely believe they have a ton of awesome traditions though, because they can get everyone to learn one yell. Well, two, if you count getting half the stadium to yell "Arkansas" and the other to yell "Razorbacks." It’s kind of cute. Three-quarters of them don’t know the words to the fight song. No one knows all the words to the alma mater. Arkansas fans are also particularly bitter at how well we are doing in the SEC. They were the newest members of the league, stuck out on the far edge for years, and felt like they never got the respect they deserved. To have an old SWC rival come in and take that role for them was their greatest hope…but it didn’t quite work out that way. Hopefully their new Thanksgiving game with Mizzou will make them feel better about themselves, right?

I like food, so my advice on restaurants is gonna be excessive. Don’t eat at chain restaurant during your time in Fayetteville. While parking, the terrain, and fans aren’t fun, the town has some of the best local restaurants in the SEC.

Catfish Hole. Go, if you can get in. Great catfish and fixin's. No liquor license, so you know that crispy fried deliciousness is amazing if they’ve stayed in business this long in college town.

Herman’s…definitely has a liquor license but the food is still great. Simple menu, great steak.

AQ Chicken House. While in the birthplace of modern mass production of chicken (why else would the U of A "Center of Excellence in Poultry Science" parking lot be filled with Century Club decals most days?) you should eat some fried chicken, right? Emphasis on fried. A portable defibrillator may not be a bad idea.

I’m not sure why you’d come to Arkansas for BBQ, but if you just can’t shake a craving, Lucky Luke’s and Whole Hog are my favorites

As a general rule of thumb, if the restaurant is located in the parking lot of a shady motel, the food will be amazing. Examples: Pesto Café for fine Italian food and Café Rue Orleans, run by a Louisiana expat, for the best Cajun you’ll have outside of New Orleans. Awesome brunch too, hit ‘em up before you head out of town on Sunday. (For your other breakfast food needs, the Shipley’s is located on College Avenue.)

For uniquely Arkansas Italian (fried chicken and spaghetti from scratch anyone?) checkout the offerings of nearby Tontitown, settled 100 years ago by Italian immigrants. The Venesian Inn and Mary Maestri’s (now located in neighboring Springdale…don’t bring that up with the locals) offer great food.

While you’re in Tontitown, be sure to stop and sample the wine at the Tontitown Winery. They also have a very laid back and family friendly Friday night event on their patio with live music. They’re located 15-20 minutes from where Yell will be held.

Night life. Again, prepare for parking to be terrible and expensive. Dickson Street is the Fayetteville attempt to answer Northgate. (There is, however a Waffle House there. Try not to shed too many jealous tears.) Fayetteville doesn’t really have a must-visit bar like the Chicken, so honestly, they all tend to run together for me. George’s Majestic has been around so long students have grandparents who drank there, but it doesn’t do much to emphasize its iconic status. Pat Green is playing there on Friday night, but he won’t go on until 10pm. Yell or Pat Green? You decide.

Don’t knock the Fayetteville Sam’s Club parking lot as a venue for Yell, by the way. When you’re less than 30 miles from where Sam himself is buried, the Sam’s Club parking lots are quite nice.

Safe travels and see you in Fayetteville!

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