Restaurant Review: Hop N Wich

I was sold after the Witch Droppings.

The hush puppies were worth every penny, and we had no shame asking for extra cinnamon honey butter. The Italian Beauty was the nail in the coffin.

Yes, we’re here to fully recommend Conway’s newest bedrock eatery, Hop n Wich.

Located in the heart of downtown of our county seat, this sandwich-heavy joint adds exactly what the ultra-walkable locale needed: A clean, friendly restaurant with possibilities galore. But don’t take our word for it.

“That grill cheese was pretty good,” said Sawyer, my 9-year old.

Don’t let his exquisite kid’s meal palate fool you. He also destroyed all of my fries. This is a kid who usually walks away from his own. Not this time.

It was the microcosm of a joint that took over the area’s old Salvation Army location at the corner of Laurel Street and Third Ave. Hop n Wich didn’t try to out-fancy one of its neighbors (Rivertown Bistro) or go all-in on the Southern flair like another (Pickled Cucumber). It also didn’t try to compete with the super-quick option of a third (Jo Hibachi).

Instead, it succeeded in rolling up many of the best parts of those places into one open-concept dining room.

The exclamation point to the whole thing is the 14-seat bar nestled right up on the 14-screen (seriously) connected TV wall hung just above 24 beer taps featuring everything from your standard high-sale domestics right on down to a few local brewery choices. And while football game days do change the atmosphere here some – Hop n Wich has 10 different wing flavors, after all – the ultimate selling point is that menu.

Here are some the items that jumped off the menu.

The Pimento Cheese Burger is topped with not only its namesake, but also bacon, a fried green tomato and the restaurant’s homemade comeback sauce. (Many of the sandwiches and apps here come with that last part. Don’t replace it. Just trust us.)

The Gyro My Hero is dressed similarly to what you’d expect to find at your standard Greek festival. But believe us when we tell you it’s a massive serving with a side of your choice and worth every penny of the $12.49 price tag.

While we didn’t go all in and hit up one of the entrees, such as the Cajun BBQ Shrimp & Grits, Grilled Salmon or Poutine, what we did notice is that the most expensive one of the bunchShrimp and Grits Hop N Wich (the Short Rib) was all of just $16.62. That’s nothing for a “larger” meal.

But how about what my lunch partner and I drove home?

The hush puppies, well, let’s just say those got destroyed. They didn’t have a chance. As an aside, they were brought to the table so fast we had to give them 4-5 minutes just to make sure we didn’t fry off our taste buds. We can live with that level of speed.

The Witch Droppings could be a mean on a good day. Long story short, they’re a compilation of crab, cream cheese and jalapeño breaded with a panko mixture and fried to perfection. Again, comeback sauce. All the comeback sauce.

The Italian Beauty is holds true to its name. It’s fried eggplant, mozzarella, pesto, roasted red pepper, mixed greens and tomato. No meat? No problem. The eggplant comes across as a similar to a thinner chicken patty, and with just as much flavor. Even if you’re the most steadfast of carnivore, you won’t find this sucker lacking.

If none of that is your jam, you can always go with Sawyer’s pick. He definitely loved his grilled cheese. And my fries.

Hop n Wich, ON THE QUICK
Address: 1029 3rd Avenue, Conway
Phone: 843.488.9959

(Photos: Gyro Burger & Low Country Shrimp and Grits from Hop n Wich’s facebook page)