Leonard Zechiedrich has loved cars since before he could walk. Not only did he follow in his father’s footsteps to become a public school teacher, but he chose to follow him into the garage as well- coming by his love of all things mechanical honestly. “My dad was a car guy and still is,” Leonard says. “I think I was two when I got my first motorcycle. He was a teacher too, and on snow days we would spend the day in the garage. Those are some of my favorite memories.”
“My junior year in high school, my dad found a 1967 Porsche 911 in boxes and brought it home and he and I worked on it and put it together. It just kept evolving as we worked on it. It made me sad, but I had to sell it off when I was in college.” Clearly, his passion for the Porsche has not faded.
Mr. Z, as his high school students affectionately call him, brought his show winning, bright green 1984 Porsche 930 Turbo aptly dubbed “The Green Machine” over to Eureka Springs to meet up with us at his favorite restaurant, Sparky’s Roadhouse, and chat a bit about this project car.
“This car embodies everything that I like about the Porsche 911. I picked the parts that I wanted from many different year models to build the perfect street car. It took me ten years to build- my daughter, Brooklyn, was one when I started. It took me so long because I was busy having my three children. But when I look at it, it’s just such a neat car- the steering wheel is from 1971, the tail is from 1974, the engine is from 98. I love it because I got to pick all my favorite flavors from all these different models,” Leonard tells us.
“Someone told me once that owning one of these cars is like owning a tiger…you’re pretty sure it’s not going to kill you. When you are driving these cars, you really have to pay attention. That’s what I love about them- the focus required to operate them well makes them fun.”
Leonard is one of the founders of Porsche palooza, a Porsche club gathering that takes place annually in Eureka Springs. He tells of how he and his friends loaded up in their classic Porsches in Fort Smith, cruised over the mountain on old Hwy 71 and spent the weekend in Eureka Springs cruising over the awesome roads in this area. It started as just three of them…grew to five…and then ten. “Then someone suggested that we should invite the local Porsche club. So in 2004, we invited the club and waited for some people to show up and it was 50 cars…then 100…and last year there were 327 cars in attendance.”
“We always eat in these types of restaurants when we come. I picked Sparky’s because it is such a unique atmosphere- this is just Eureka Springs to me.”
Sparky’s Roadhouse boasts an eclectic menu with items ranging from enchiladas to a vegetarian Persian plate, but whatever you do make sure you try Dave’s garlicky cheese fries! These fries feature “Dave’s garlicky concoction and jack cheese” and are cooked to absolute perfection- don’t forget to ask for an extra side of their homemade ranch dressing for dipping.
Sparky’s has been around since 1994 and is known for their enchiladas. After one bite of Bobo’s Chicken enchiladas, it’s easy to understand why. Made with super tender, slow roasted chicken and topped with Sparky’s homemade enchilada sauce, I had every intention of stopping after a few bites to save room to try The Wally Burger.
Those intentions went right out the window.
After hearing that Sparky’s gets their ground beef fresh from the butcher just out their back door, we had to give one of their award winning burgers a try. We opted for the Wally Burger- a ½ lb patty with grilled onions, sauteed mushrooms and swiss cheese on a ciabatta bun. It was everything I’d imagined- juicy, flavorful and perfectly cooked.
Sparky’s is a well known staple of the Eureka Springs food scene, and after partaking of just a few of the items on their menu, it’s no wonder. The super cool, Americana atmosphere coupled with delicious food and amazing service make it a definite addition to your “must try” list when in Northwest Arkansas!.