Conway Foodies Bid Warm Welcome to WunderHaus

 

WunderHaus, the brick-and-mortar brainchild of Conway locals and siblings Auguste Forrester and Jacqueline Smith and their spouses Kacy and Jason, opened December 2017 with big shoes to fill, thanks to the early success of its food truck predecessor, WunderBus.

The Forresters and Smiths are off to a good start with a bank full of five-star reviews and good will from the community after transforming one of Conway’s most forsaken downtown corners from a kitschy gas station into a rustic, bavarian oasis. I had to check it out for myself.

WunderHaus pays homage to its Arkansas roots with extensive partnerships with small farm families (and local breweries) that give a Southern spin to traditional Eastern European cuisine.

My beau and I started lunch with coffee, served bold in a French press by none other than Auguste Forrester himself. He gladly took us through the menu, and we decided on the daily special of chicken and dumplings and the Vlad Poutine to share.

The dumplings were the perfect texture and definitely the star of the afternoon. Each spoonful of shredded chicken had a sweet hint of fennel – a vegetable I’ve been trying to master in my own kitchen – that begged you to eat another bite. Though the portion was generous, I felt sad to know that the spoonfuls would eventually end.

Forrester playfully warned that because the restaurant sources most ingredients from local farms, their menu is always changing to match the season.

“We have a regular who comes in three days a week and orders the Peter Rabbit (a roasted vegetable hash) every time,” Forrester says. “It is always fresh and always a different mix of vegetables, but it is always delicious.”

The Vlad Poutine was plated beautifully – a very colorful dish. The braised pork shoulder, which was served on a bed of roasted potatoes and covered in beer cheese sauce, melted in your mouth. A tangy spring mix salad balanced the meal. We cleared this plate, too.

When Forrester suggested the German chocolate cake for dessert, we refilled our delicate coffee cups and asked nicely for a slice. The large rich wedge was topped sweetly with Nutella buttercream frosting and candied hazelnuts. I don’t know how much I would have been able to eat without the coffee.

The entire meal cost me $32, and it was a five-star experience. The atmosphere is classy and comfortable, the locally sourced food delicious and the service outstanding. Dinner prices do hike a bit, but rest assured that you’re supporting your local economy to the fullest.

Be an early adopter; pay WunderHaus a visit.

WunderHaus is open Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 5 p.m. The restaurant also serves beer and wine.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that WunderHaus was open on Sundays. The restaurant is closed on Sundays, except for special occasions.

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