Little Acorn a golden nugget in Spanish Fork
Most of the traveling I do ends up being for softball tournaments.
And when on the road for a tourney, one of my favorite things is seeking out off-the-beaten-path dining experiences. When in a new town or in a different part of the country altogether, give me some unique local diner over traditional franchises every time.
One of my favorite experiences last year in a small town outside Orlando, Florida, for example, was finding a quirky little Italian restaurant for us to eat at on the drive back to the hotel following our final tournament game. To me, those types of opportunities typically enhance the overall experiences of traveling.
A couple teammates and I were just beginning a softball roadtrip to Prescott, Arizona, on a recent Thursday evening, and were looking to catch dinner before traveling too far. So, we once again faced the question: Pick up something at a tried-and-true fast-food joint and get back on the road as quickly as possible, or try something completely different? We opted for the latter.
So it was that we found ourselves at the Little Acorn drive-in and restaurant near the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon. From the outside, the Little Acorn looked a little run down and dilapidated, but it had that kind of old-fashioned appeal, you know, where what really matters is what is served inside.
Orders are placed at the counter, and the young servers who helped us were extremely helpful and friendly, patiently explaining some of the diner’s favorite menu items. After ordering, we found a booth and sat down to await our orders.
The inside exhibits a bit quirky atmosphere as well. There’s a combination of booths and tables inside — as well as a handful of picnic tables outside which would probably offer a nice atmosphere in the fall and spring, but not so much on a sweltering July evening. The inside walls were painted in a reddish tone, with some light blue, and some paintings on the wall. There was one table for two in a kind of faux porch display. We weren’t sure if that was just for show or if anybody actually sits there to eat. But it added to the offbeat ambiance.
The first thing to arrive were the pair of shakes we ordered, one caramel and one strawberry. The shakes were over the rim and already melting when they arrived, so we were forced into immediate action eating enough of the delicious mixture with spoons to get it below the rim so it wouldn’t spill over onto the table. Our regular food arrived during this whole escapade, but we were still unable to turn our attention to the main course until enough of the shakes had been devoured to make it feasible.
The three main course items we sampled were the Country Sandwich, the Jalapeno Burger and the Shadow Fighter.
The Shadow Fighter is a signature sandwich and one of the main things the Little Acorn is known for. It features a hamburger patty, ham, onions, pickles, tomato, lettuce, cheese and a special sauce all on sliced homemade sandwich bread. Definitely a worthy order.
The Jalapeno Burger includes the hamburger patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayonnaise and lots of jalapenos. It is all served on a sesame seed bun, and was also a great combo.
The Country Sandwich was also served on homemade bread. It contained a beef patty, thin-sliced pastrami, pickles, onions, fry sauce, lettuce and tomato. Another winning combination of flavors.
The French fries were good, but the onion rings rose to the level of being superb. The battered outsides were fried to a perfect level of crispy with moist, delicious onion inside. The rings didn’t fall apart in your hands and you could actually bite your way cleanly through the ring without making a mess.
The fry sauce also deserves its own shoutout. It’s also a level above the norm.
The Little Acorn clearly is a popular family destination. On our visit, there happened to be one young girl that just sat and screamed for for an extended period as her parents calmly ignored her and continued on with their meal. I guess you could say that the quality of the meal made them oblivious to all outside distractions.
“There’s too many kids in here,” grumbled one of my teammates. Then again, he is the one most likely to utter the phrase, “Get off my lawn” when it comes to unruly children (or opposing players), so one shouldn’t read too much into that.
As far as unique dining experiences, Little Acorn certainly offered one. It’s definitely a cut above fast food and my teammates and I agreed that we would readily drop by if we were in the area again.