The Dive, found at 305 East Oak, has been apparently finished for weeks and weeks. In fact, speculation has abounded over whether or not it would ever actually open, mostly due to Conway’s dearth of non-chain restaurants. But, fellow Conwegians rejoice, it’s finally serving, and the wait was worth it.
The Dive advertises itself as Southern comfort food with an emphasis on house-smoked meats, and after perusing the menu, that’s about right. They offer both sandwich plates and meat platters, along with a small variety of other items such as salads. For my main, I selected a Sweet Tea Fried Chicken Sandwich and fries ($8), along with a side salad. My spouse ordered house-smoked pork with potato salad and roasted potatoes ($12).
When my salad arrived, I’ll admit to a moment of concern. It’s a rare non-chain restaurant that serves iceberg lettuce anymore, yet here was a plate full of it. That said, it was crisp and generously portioned, with cheese and croutons.
Not much later, our food arrived. My sandwich appeared quite indulgent, but I’ll admit to not expecting much beyond a basic piece of fried chicken on a bun. Ladies and gentlemen, I was wrong. When I bit into my sandwich, the flavors in the crispy fried onions and thick, juicy chicken exploded in my mouth. Presumably some of that flavor was from the sweet tea component. I have no idea how those two things came together, but it is a winner—I rarely finish an entire meal, but I happily finished my entire sandwich. The fries were thin and basic, but seasoned in a way that elevated them to quite good.
My spouse’s meal was equally pleasing. The pork was tender and juicy, seasoned well but not overly, and the potato salad was the best kind, made with sour cream and a little green onion. The roasted potatoes weren’t particularly exciting, but they were adequate. I’d go with green beans or sweet potato casserole in its place were I ordering a platter.
I’ve heard mixed reports regarding wait times, and there was a large group there when we arrived that didn’t get served until well after our plates were delivered. It also took quite awhile for our check to be picked up, despite only four tables being occupied. That said, our waitress was very friendly and attentive, and the bill was certainly reasonable. I’m certain they’ll get the timing worked out in the coming weeks.
If you’ve been waiting, wait no more. Open from 11am-9pm.