It was the day after our beloved Arkansas Razorbacks won the 2012 Cotton Bowl, and we had all celebrated a little too hard. In times like this, there’s only a few things that will do to revive and replenish a man, and a big hamburger and a Bloody Mary are tops on that list. To that end, we headed down to the Purple Cow in Hot Springs, a retro-style diner done up 50’s style with shiny chrome and bright purple neon. The Purple Cow is famous for their unique purple milkshakes, and while I’m sure they’re delicious, I just couldn’t bear the thought of drinking a gooey milkshake in my subdued and slightly hungover state. We sat down, and just as we put our drink order in, Marty Robbins came on the jukebox – and I knew that everything was going to be alright.
As I sat being soothed by a combination of Marty and Mary, we put in our orders. Jess went for the Patty Melt, which has always been one of my favorite diner dishes. This version came on two large pieces of rye bread that fell prey to a common problem at the Purple Cow: the bread and buns aren’t nearly substantial enough. And while she felt that the onions could have benefited from a little longer on the grill, she was pleased with the crisp French fries that came in such a large quantity. Purple Cow’s sandwiches and burgers are normally served with chips, but it’s definitely worth the extra dollar or so that it costs to upgrade to fries. It wasn’t the best patty melt I’ve ever tried, but it was reasonably tasty and hit the spot.
For my choice, I chose the Five Alarm Burger, and the name wasn’t a joke. A thick, juicy hamburger patty with pepper jack cheese and a tangy salsa would have been good enough, but the jalapeno slices and habanero salsa served on the side really turned this burger into a spice bomb. Once again, the bun just couldn’t deal with all the toppings, and there’s really no excuse for a burger joint using bread that can’t take it. But that salsa – oh, that salsa. Spicy, but with a sweet-sour tang, it started off hot and finished even hotter. I didn’t even use the entire cup I was given, and it made that burger so hot that I had to use multiple napkins to wipe the sweat from my brow. Jess tried one bite and said it was one of the hottest things she had ever tried. Between the spiciness of the burger and the restorative powers of the Bloody Mary, I felt like an entirely new man when we left. Purple Cow is a pretty decent place to go for a good burger, and it’s an especially fun place for the kids, and they certainly helped me out after a fun night of over-indulgence.
Purple Cow is located at 4190 Higdon Ferry Road in Hot Springs, and they’re open lunch and dinner seven days a week. Enjoy!