The War Eagle Mill is located in the rolling hills that make up Hobbs State Park. It’s a working grist mill, grinding out flour and other products via a water wheel outside, methodically turned by the river flowing swiftly by. On the bottom floor of the mill is the working part; step through the door and you can see the millstones turning, grinding the way mills all over the country used to. Go up a flight of wooden stairs and you find yourself in a small gift shop on the second floor, selling War Eagle memorabilia and also bags of flour, pancake mix and various other cooking products produced right there in the mill itself. Up another flight and you’ll find yourself on the third, and top, floor and in a cozy little nook called the Bean Palace.
The day I went to War Eagle Mill, it was a sort of grey day, a lightly misting early fall day. After driving about fifteen minutes down old country roads that wound through dense forests and up and down steep hills, I came around a corner to spot the picturesque mill, right next to a genuine wood plank bridge over the river. I stepped out of the car and looked across a huge grassy field to one side. A car clattered over the old plank bridge. All was totally still; all I could hear was the running water, the creaking water wheel and the soft patter of rain falling on the trees. Instantly, my blood pressure dropped and I was suffused with a deep feeling of peace. When I entered the Bean Palace itself, I found myself in one of the coziest spots I’ve ever been in. The room was warm, the wood paneling a deep amber, wonderful smells wafting out of the kitchen. I took a deep breath and found a seat by the window, where I could see the river and the wheel methodically turning. Pure zen.
Then came the food. The waffles are made with ingredients produced by the mill, of course. I’ve never been a huge waffle fan, so let’s just say that these are by far the best waffles I’ve ever had. They have a wonderful texture, chewier and more flavorful than typical waffles. I suppose it’s the first thing I’ve ever had made with buckwheat. The flavor isn’t overwhelming, just barely sweet by itself and a little like good, homemade bread. Oh, and the cheese grits . . . I don’t like grits either, but these are incredible. A sort of, surprisingly crunchy, rice grain makes up the body of the food, but it’s mixed with a load of melted cheese.
All in all, this is probably the second best breakfast I’ve ever had in my life. It comes in second only to a homemade meal of breakfast burritos I had while staying with a family in Mexico back in high school. And I really can’t tell you just how wonderful the experience is. The whole atmosphere is just one of peace and quiet. It’s one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever been. After I ate, I found myself a seat under the bridge and just watched the water roll by and listened the softly falling rain, the slowly turning waterwheel and the occasional clunking of the planks above. I don’t just love the food here; I love the place itself. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – a delicious, hearty breakfast is only part of the appeal of this picturesque, peaceful spot in the Arkansas woods. 4 stars.
Next time, there’s one other menu item at the Bean Palace to talk about; I had to go back a second time for it. One typically doesn’t have a dessert like this one at breakfast.