Fort Smith, AR

Another Fort Smith Restaurant Vanished, What Happens Next?

Cameron Eittreim
Photo byCameron Eittreim/Author

The restaurant scene in Fort Smith is constantly changing, which is both good and bad. Because you find places that you truly enjoy frequenting only to have them close. Bob & Wanda's Wagon Wheel Cafe has been a Towson Avenue institution for over a decade. But the restaurant fell on hard times and the original owners let it go.

After going through a transition period with a new owner the restaurant has officially become a vacant building. All that remains is the sign for Bob & Wanda's Wagon Wheel Cafe, a dream that was once a thriving eatery but is now no more. Throughout the transitional period of the last owners, the restaurant lost its quality reputation, eventually, the dining room and staff were a mere shadow of what once was.

The food that the original Wagon Wheel restaurant served was not the fanciest, it wasn't couture chef cuisine, but it was good down-home cooking that was easy on the belly and the wallet. Whenever you'd come into the Wagon Wheel you were always greeted by smiles. Wanda and the staff kept the place running smoothly and you never had to wait long to have your drink refilled.

Sometimes just stopping by for a simple omelet and a cup of joe was enough for me, the atmosphere was always friendly. And this was the type of restaurant that you could take the kids to after a long day at sports practice. There were times when we wanted to have a burger or a chicken fried steak and it always tasted better than the last time.
Photo byCameron Eittreim / Author

Going there with my dad for a cup of coffee and an omelet before we went to the hardware store was always a great time. The food was excellent and it hit the spot, and the menu didn't need to be extended to offer you a great dining experience. The location of the restaurant space that's currently for rent now is still a great spot.

It's located right on the busy stretch of Towson Avenue. There are a number of other well-known restaurants on Towson Avenue but the fact that the Wagon Wheel was so well-known definitely makes this an appealing location. Looking through the windows of the restaurant you can see that a lot of the original decor is still there.

The inside of the dining room had a cozy wood paneling that made it appealing to dine as a family. The wait staff was always friendly here and the place was one of the best places in town to get a simple bite to eat. Bob and Wanda's was the type of place that you could eat when you wanted something that tasted as if it came out of your own kitchen.

The real question is what restaurant will take the place of the vacant location? The dining room was not the largest but it's suitable for a similar type of restaurant. Unfortunately, it appears that a lot of the cooking equipment is gone from the location but the original rustic charm is still there. There are so many great places to eat in Fort Smith that it can seem overwhelming.

But even I want to see another place that offers delicious home cooking. We will miss Bob and Wanda's Wagon Wheel but I'm sure there will be another great restaurant that will take its place. The food and the culture were always great but there will be more special memories made here in the future. Towson Avenue offers a great amount of shopping and dining choices and it's almost the hidden gem of the Fort Smith community.

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I own Greenwood Janitorial and The Voice of Greenwood and I enjoy traveling all around the country and this beautiful state. Bylines in Taste of Home, Lifewire, and more.

Greenwood, Arkansas

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