South Central Regional Recipe Winner
Suzanne Raiford, Owner and Chef
Daisy’s Lunchbox (Searcy, Arkansas)
Recipe: Strawberry Almond Shortcake Roll
Named for the loyal dog that ushered her son through childhood cancer treatments with loving attention and adoration, Daisy’s Lunchbox is a long-time dream-come-true for owner and chef Suzanne Raiford. With a cinnamon roll on every plate, Daisy’s Lunchbox is a destination diner, a meeting place and a home away from home for many.
While people drive from all over Arkansas for the legendary cinnamon rolls, Raiford’s standout Strawberry Almond Shortcake Roll is the perfect mashup of jelly roll and strawberry shortcake. The roll is made with a thin cake made using Gold Medal™ SuperMoist™ White Cake Mix, sweet and creamy filling and strawberries. This showstopping dessert is nostalgic and fresh all at once – and it’s already a hit among regulars.
One of two South Central winners in the Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest, Raiford was inspired to enter by her Sysco representative, Marvin Loyd, and “one of Sysco’s dieticians also encouraged me to enter after she had a piece of my cake,” she adds.
In addition to other scrumptious dessert items such as pies, cupcakes and cookies, Daisy’s Lunchbox also features homemade rolls, buns and bread plus two hot lunch specials per day, made-to-order salads, gourmet burgers and one-of-a-kind sandwiches. Raiford shares that “it brings me so much happiness to cook for people.”
“We are a meeting place for people to come together to renew friendships, meet family and new friends. We love our customers and treat them like family,” says Raiford. “We have been known to open the back door on any given day and pass out free cinnamon rolls and cookies.”
Daisy’s Lunchbox is also a haven for artists: Artists of all stripes come together monthly to paint murals in the paved alley outside the restaurant’s back door, complete with live music, twinkling lights and great food. What was once a dirt alley is now a destination.
To support local shops that benefit the homeless, foster children and “fur babies,” Raiford seeks out mismatched serving plates and bowls from thrift stores to decorate the café like a home – even the guest bathroom gets compliments!
As a Regional Recipe Winner in the Neighborhood to Nation contest, Raiford will receive $5,000 as well as $1,000 to share with a local nonprofit. She has chosen the Imagine and Believe Foundation, a foster care boutique that supplies foster families in her community to come in and get clothing, bedding, toiletries and more for their foster children.
Address: 311 N. Spruce, Searcy, Arkansas