59 Diner offers “good old home cooking”


Carol Thompson and Mike Wilson opened 59 Diner at 106 First Ave. NE in Gravette towards the end of July, and the guests from Gravette and the surrounding area gave them a warm welcome.

Thompson said they were “very satisfied” and Wilson agreed the business was better than expected.

The couple spent several months remodeling the building since it had been closed for some time. They built a front counter, repainted the entire dining room, and installed trim. Three televisions have been installed and diners can follow the news or their favorite sports team while enjoying a meal.

Thompson and Wilson live in rural Sulfur Springs. Both are from northwest Arkansas and have many family ties in the area. She grew up in Decatur and graduated from high school there while her son and daughter graduated from Gravette High School. Her brother and sister-in-law, Jack and Beth Patton of Maysville, run the Gravette Farmers Market. Wilson was born in Bentonville, but his family moved to Decatur when he was still a preschooler, and he attended Decatur schools until ninth grade. His father was the police chief of Decatur during those years.

The couple have several years of experience in the restaurant business. They owned the Gallery Cafe in Decatur from 2012 until they sold it to one of their employees in 2020. Thompson worked there as a waitress a few years before buying the cafe. They worked long hours at the Gallery and managed a team of 15 people and found little free time for themselves.

Selling the Decatur cafe and buying the location in Gravette was appealing as they have a smaller building to maintain, a shorter commute to work, and they work fewer hours. The opening hours of 59 Diner are from 10:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and from 10:45 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed from Monday to Wednesday.

The menu at 59 Diner emphasizes what the owners describe as “good old home cooking”. Their popular platters include rib eye steak, fried shrimp, country fried steak, grilled chicken, pork chops, and chicken strip dishes. All are served with a salad, vegetables, a choice of potatoes and a bun. Other choices for dinner are the chef’s salad, grilled or crispy chicken salad, and a supreme de tater – a baked potato loaded with peppers, onions, mushrooms, grated cheese and a choice of turkey, ham or bacon.

A variety of sandwiches are available for those who want to eat a little lighter. Sandwiches on offer include Cubano, Fondant Patties, BLT, Chicken Cheesesteak and Cheesesteak, Grilled Cheese, Reuben, Chicken Fried Chicken, Chicken Fried Steak, Grilled Chicken and Ham and Club of Turkey. They serve burgers, cheeseburgers with a variety of cheeses available, bacon cheeseburgers, Swiss mushroom and bacon burgers, American wagyu and turkey burgers. All burgers are served with fries.

Diners wanting an accompaniment to their choice of main meal can order from a side menu that includes fries, chive fries, fried mushrooms, tater tots, fried pickles, cheese curds , a side salad, baked potatoes and mashed potatoes with sauce. Young people are not forgotten. They can order from a kids’ menu that includes burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, corn dogs, chicken bites, and a grilled pizza sandwich, all served with cheezits or fries.

A variety of soft drinks, tea and coffee are served and, if there is room for dessert, the dessert case usually contains blackberry or peach cobbler, cheesecake and several flavors of pies.

The operation of 59 Diner is a family affair. Thompson and Wilson are assisted by several family members, and the family invites everyone in the area to come in, get to know each other and enjoy a good meal.

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Questions or take away? Call (479) 787-8822.

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