The buzz along Emma Avenue is getting louder – things are happening in downtown Springdale and people are getting excited. I stopped into The Steam to have a little dinner with my family last week. It’s the newest eatery to open along the street, located in a historic line of buildings just west of the Razorback Greenway.
The interior of the restaurant – and the name of the place – pays homage to the Arkansas-Missouri railroad that runs on a track nearby. Photos of trains and a vinyl wall decal of a steam engine decorate walls, joining gears and other steam-punk-esque décor. There are electrical outlets at every booth, making it a friendly spot for a little working lunch, or just to keep you plugged in as you eat.
I ordered an Avocado, Turkey & Swiss and a small Greek salad. My dinner dates had the Pastrami on Marble Rye with a cup of tomato bisque, and the Rocco Sandwich, otherwise known as peanut butter and jelly. The portions were big enough that I ended up taking half my sandwich home with me.
If I had a half salad, I can’t imagine how large the full-size must be. There was a good mix of veggies hiding in the romaine and an unexpected (but welcome) bite of arugula. The salad dressing was nice and tangy. All their dressings and soups are made in-house.
My sandwich was on toasted sourdough, but according to the menu, you can order it warm and panini grilled if you prefer. The veggies on it were crisp and fresh. The avocado was perfectly ripe and creamy and topped a good-sized portion of turkey. My son enjoyed his Rocco, but really, it’s hard to mess up a pb&j.
My husband ordered a Pastrami and came away very impressed with their “special spicy mustard”. He mentioned it a few times, in fact. At one point he was coming up with ideas of other dishes he would use it on. Let’s just say it was inspiring. His tomato bisque was sweet and fresh, but not terribly creamy. Still, very tasty with a cheesy sandwich.
All of our sandwiches were served with potato chips and pickles, but not the traditional kosher dill spears you expect on a sandwich plate. Instead, The Steam uses bright green hamburger dill slices.
Prices are reasonable, with salads from $3.99 to $4.99 for a half portion, and $7.55 to $11.50 for a full-size. Sandwiches are $7.25 to $8.00 and burgers are $8.50 to $9.00. There’s a kid’s menu that includes the pb&j, grilled cheese, quesadilla or turkey and cheese (from $4.99 to $5.50).
The Steam has a full bar available, with several domestic brews on tap and a cider (none local, unfortunately). They also offer a handful of domestic long-necks and a couple of ciders. They’ve been posting images on Facebook of signature cocktails they offer. It could be a great option for non-college-age folks looking for an adult beverage on date night that doesn’t involve a sporting event and wings.
They are especially proud of their Bloody Mary, which won bartender, Jaymelyn Stout, an award in a local competition. It’s topped with a slice of bacon, three olives, a slice of lime, and a couple of those hamburger pickles. Despite the pickles, it was really tasty. If you think bloody marys taste too much like tomato juice, you’ll like this one – it’s light on the tomato, and the taste of Jaymelyn’s secret recipe mixer comes through nicely.
Currently, The Steam is open 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 – midnight Monday through Thursdays, and the same Fridays and Saturdays except the bar will stay open until 2:00 a.m. (kitchen will close earlier). They are planning a Sunday brunch from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., and will announce that on Facebook when it’s up and running.