by Holly Andersen. Posted on February 24, 2016

We love Fayetteville, AR! With a funky community that has supported the growth of small businesses over the last decade, Fayetteville, AR is the place to be! All the wonderful coffee shops, restaurants, clothing boutiques, musicians, and artists inspired us to bring fabulous frames to the area and so we opened Uptown Eyes!

keep funky mugIn support of our amazing community, we wanted to share some of our favorite citizens and what they think about Fayetteville too! We will be featuring various people, families, groups and organizations on this blog, hopefully biweekly! Stay tuned and you may learn a bit more about this funky, fabulous town and the wonderful people that make it what it is…the best place to live!

If you love acoustic music with a mix of folk, rock, pop, country and bluegrass, you gotta love Route 358! Derrick Mears, a long time songwriter, has entertained crowds across the country; Missouri, Kansas, Washington, L.A., Nashville, and of course here in Northwest Arkansas. In the spring of 2015, the rest of his talented family joined in and formed Route 358. We were thrilled to have them agree to be our first group to interview for our Eye Love Fayetteville blog!


What do you do?
I (Derrick) am a professor in the Curriculum and Instruction department at the University of Arkansas and Jodi is a school administrator in the Rogers School District. Our daughter Jade and her husband Grant are elementary education majors at the U of A as well. Grant is also a Membership Manager and Jade is the Aquatics Coordinator at the Fayetteville Athletic Club. When we are not at our “day jobs” the four of us also make up the Folk/Americana band “Route 358” and play shows all around the Northwest Arkansas Area.

What is your favorite thing to do in Fayetteville?
Obviously, our favorite thing to do around town is play music at all of the different venues ranging from Dickson Street to Southtown to Springdale, Rogers, Bella Vista and beyond. We jokingly refer to ourselves as the band that has sampled just about anything in the NWA area that is brewed or distilled as we have played at just about every brewery, cidery and winery in the area! The other thing we love is the trail system! We love to hike with our dogs and ride our bikes on the trails. They are one of the most wonderful features of our town.

Where is your favorite place to eat in Fayetteville and what do you order?
We are all vegetarians so we love to try out various restaurants around town. You can’t beat Hammontrees for a grilled cheese sandwich, Mellow Mushroom for a great pizza and Bordino’s for that special night out.

What is something you are proud of?
We are proud of our band. I (Derrick) have been a songwriter for years and performed at venues and marketed music to L.A., Nashville and other music hubs. But in April 2015 the rest of the Mears crew joined me to form Route 358 and we are proud of the music we have built together. We are so grateful and appreciative of the venues and fans that have allowed us to share our music and supported us as continue to travel on our journey. Route 358 is about a journey. The name comes from the concept of the four of us being on a journey (Route) together (3, 5 & 8 are our birth months).

How does Fayetteville make you feel?
We lived in Fayetteville from 2002-2004 while I (Derrick) attended school. Leaving the area for ten years and living in the Pacific Northwest gave us such an appreciation for all that Fayetteville has to offer. It is also so great to be a professor back at the university I attended and to see Jade and Grant progress as U of A Students. It is a great place to live and be!

What do you do in Fayetteville to maintain health and wellness?
We used to live in Bellingham, WA a town which was named “Trail City USA” a few years back. The system we have here in Northwest Arkansas is hands down probably the most well maintained and most extensive I have seen and in my opinion is “Trail City USA”. We love to use the trails and fortunately live in town and are close enough to walk to Dickson street to see events using the trail system.

Links to Route 358

Website: Route 358
Instagram: Route 358
YouTube:  Alone Tonight