The new Hop N Wich in downtown Conway changes up the beer and sandwich mindset
Hop N Wich sounds like a spin on some trending game from Harry Potter, but it’s actually a new restaurant you need to sit yourself down in when you are in downtown Conway. The name actually celebrates two of its showpieces: craft beer (hop) and sandwiches (wich), but this isn’t your typical deli that serves beer.
The sleek, modern façade, a balance of black paint and woodplank, adds some sex appeal to the corner of Third Avenue and Laurel Street. Inside features natural design elements from the outside, including an ivy-covered wall, two faux cherry blossom trees flanking the front entrance, and a massive, long, exposed blonde brick wall that towers behind the bar. Ceilings soar in Hop N Wich, which features a second-story loft level that wraps around half of the building and is lined with two-tops. The main floor is laid out with four-tops, booths, and stool seating that runs the length of the bar. And the bar wall is a showstopper, with 14 ongoing flat screen TVs and industrial floating shelves stocked with potted plants and conversation-starting trinkets.
But there’s more to talk about than the delicious surroundings. There are the nearly 30 local and national craft beers on tap or poured from the bottle and the lunch and dinner menu is loaded with worthy options. On our visit to Hop N Wich one Sunday “funday,” we started with a round of local lagers and the Spicy Queso Dip with tortilla chips. More starters include their spinach and artichoke dip, the buffalo chicken dip, chargrilled oysters on the half-shell, pierogis, bacon cheese fries, Main. St. Spring Rolls stuffed with short rib and mac and cheese, and more.
My hubby went with their build-your-own-salads, which are ginormous – your choice of greens, toppings, and proteins, and finished with one of their homemade dressings. He loved this fresh, hearty sidekick to his pint of beer. I had to put the wich into my lunch with the Lox BLT, layers of smoked salmon lox and everything aioli with the traditional bacon, lettuce, and tomato in a buttery bun, served with a side salad (or fries, side Caesar, cole slaw, and yellow rice). It was a refreshing twist on the everyday BLT sandwich combo.
More selections in the sandwich species are the handful of burgers, plus intriguing offers, like the Berry Delight (shaved steak, blueberry-onion jam, provolone cheese, and jalapeños), Hello Laguna (fresh turkey, smashed avocado, Swiss, lettuce, tomato, and house-made comeback sauce), and the Monte Cristo, freshly sliced bologna, Swiss, French toast, and a side of maple syrup. Note: They offer gluten-free buns, so those with gluten sensitivities can still enjoy a Hop N Wich sandwich from the menu!
Entrees that looked order-worthy on a revisit include the Poutine, fresh bread covered with shaved steak, white American, and gravy over a pile of fries; Memaw’s Chicken, two grilled chicken breasts covered in their house-made spinach and artichoke dip and crumbled bacon; and the Cajun BBQ Shrimp & Grits, sauteed shrimp tossed in Cajun barbecue sauce and poured with scallions over a homemade grit cake.
If you saved room for dessert (I took mine to go), I highly recommend their homemade peach cobbler. They even baked mine and dished it into a container, as well as a scoop of vanilla ice cream in my takeout, and when I warmed it up at home, the fruity, fresh, crumbly goodness was finished with an unexpected sweet cream cheese filling. To die for!
Beer isn’t the only thing on their drink menu. Hop N Wich also serves cocktails, martinis, and wine, as well as a list of tequila, bourbon, whiskey, and scotch varietals. Happy hour happens daily from 4 to 7 p.m., featuring discounts on grub and drinks. Check their website for a lineup of weekly events they host, including live music, trivia, and more.
I always appreciate an eatery like Hop N Wich, which didn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel in serving twists to casual favorites, but they easily give the category a breath of fresh air in its food and drink offerings, friendly service, and hip ambiance. Because of that, they’ve been hopping since they first opened their doors.
Hop n Wich
1029 Third Ave., Conway
11 a.m. to 10 p.m.,
and Friday and Saturday,
11 a.m. to 11 p.m.