RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — Originally opened in 1947, Old South Restaurant is the oldest restaurant in Russellville and it’s one that’s rich with history.
Since its opening on Main Street all those years ago, very little has changed. From the building's retro exterior to the interior décor and menu itself, walking through the doors of Old South is like stepping back in time.
“Everybody feels like they’re coming home when they walk in the doors. It brings back memories,” explained co-owner Zack Summit.
He and his father and co-owner Dale Summitt have taken pride in that feeling of hospitality.
While their longevity in the community has cemented this iconic joint as a local favorite, their claim to fame originates from something a little different.
Old South is famously known for hosting “two presidents and a king”— a reference to when Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, dined here.
To this day you can still sit at the same booth that Elvis famously sat at.
“We’ve probably got the biggest menu in town,” Zack proudly claimed.
Whether you’re craving breakfast or dinner, you’re in luck. The full menu is served all day.
The menu is HUGE. You’ll find classic diner staples such as burgers, chicken fried steak, and salads. But Old South also offers many unique dishes such as a deep-fried meatloaf sandwich and a BLT using fried green tomatoes.
Old South serves a rich chocolate gravy, a southern novelty that’s increasingly tough to find on restaurant menus. Owners of Old South said it is the hardest item on the menu to make, but one that keeps people coming back for more.
While there are plenty of heavier options, the salads are also quite popular. Locals love the special “Old South Dressing”, a salad dressing made using a top-secret recipe that the original owner created in the 1940s.
Old South Restaurant is located at 1330 East Main Street in Russellville. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.