Bentonville has embarked on a plan to link its downtown with other entertainment districts around town. As we explored more of the city, we found ourselves becoming jealous of how successful they have become at integrating culture and community. A short distance from downtown, we discovered the 8th Street Market district. Designed as a community-focused food hub, this urban destination brings visitors together for food and fun. With our appetites raging, we were ready for a cultural chow down.
We want to thank Visit Bentonville and the 8th Street Market businesses for hosting our visit. Rest assured all opinions are our own.
Welcoming All Visitors
Backed by substantial investments, from the Walton family, this northwest Arkansas city has become a destination that embraces non-traditional means of travel. Throughout town, we would see tons of mountain bikers. Many of them were traversing the trails that have been laid out to entice them. The natural terrain of the city is perfect for this type of transportation. The city has gone all-in at becoming the “Mountain Biking Capital of the World”. While there are a plethora of fun bike parks, city planners didn’t forget to connect the urban core. For a couple of pedestrians, seeing all of these bikers made us wish we had brought our own two-wheeled vehicles.
Getting Our Lunch On
The 8th Street Market is a food lovers paradise. A variety of cuisines means there are lots of reasons to partake in a cultural chow down. After examining our choices, we decided to sample the menu at Yeyo’s Mexican Grill. Like many of the other restaurants, Yeyo’s focuses on bringing farms to the table in a fun fashion. Created by the Rios family, this urban cantina draws in a steady stream of hungry diners. The simplistic décor reminded us of our visits south-of-the-border. We wanted to sample a variety of their flavors, so we ordered up a sampler of their Street Tacos. This ended up being a delicious way to experience a collection of the tastes found at this taqueria.
A common theme we found in Bentonville is the use of art to engage residents and visitors alike. While not part of the 8th Street Market, The Momentary serves as the local contemporary art space and is easily walkable from the market. Being a satellite site for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, this space was created from an old cheese factory. One of the newer places to enjoy regional artwork, The Momentary opened in 2020.
This new museum is primarily filled with rotating exhibits. These allow for locals to explore new displays on a regular basis. Our visit took place on what could be described as a normal “hot” summer day. Stepping inside, we found that others had discovered this cool space to escape from Mother Nature’s fury. The gallery was in process of a change to some of the rotating exhibits, but they still had one available for viewing. We found this place to be a nice addition to the nearby food hub.
After cooling off with our artistic cultural chow down, we decided to head back to the marketplace. While the majority of the shops were restaurants, there were a couple of others that we wanted to explore. One of these, that caught our attention, was Markham & Fitz. This chocolate shop is the brainchild of two University of Arkansas alumni. Following their passion for food, they have grown this small business into a flourishing enterprise. Their delectable chocolate delights are so good that they have even been featured in Oprah magazine. After sampling a wide variety of their flavors, we can attest to the creamy richness of their products.
Cultural Chow Down
Finding the 8th Street Market was definitely a pleasure for us. Once again, Bentonville was showing us how an engaged community can create a destination that is attractive to all ages. Our cultural chow down was satisfying our appetite for new experiences on a grand scale. The idea that they include a local radio station into the landscape added another fun note to our visit. Designing it like a boombox was truly a fun twist. We realized that time was passing faster than we expected, so we had to prepare to move on down the road. This was one of the times that traveling by car would help us make up some time. Of course, we still want to return and explore by bike.