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5 Dishes You Need to Know

5 Dishes You Need to Know

Some dishes more than others keep sneaking back into my old memory bank. Simply put, I really enjoy them, so I thought you might like to be made aware of their greatness, just in case you have yet to try… Carne Asada con Frijoles at Rosalinda’s You could make […]

Recent Eats: Vino’s, Layla’s, Ohia Poke, & Franke’s

Recent Eats: Vino’s, Layla’s, Ohia Poke, & Franke’s

Thoughts from my recent eating around Little Rock… I checked out the new Ohia Poke, located on 220 W 6th Street, for a very early lunch on Friday. I say “very early” because Ohia actually opens at 10 a.m., which is pretty cool. Anyways, I […]

Top 10 Dishes at The Pantry

Top 10 Dishes at The Pantry

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who has a bad word to say about The Pantry, which is no small feat in the restaurant business. The restaurant and its sister, The Pantry Crest, are beloved, mainly for their consistent, quality food, friendly service, and inviting atmosphere. Over the past 5+ years, I’ve eaten at The Pantry numerous times, which is why it’s one of the few restaurants I even feel comfortable enough to form a Top 10 Dishes list on.

Enough of the chit chat. Let’s get to it…

10. Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Crazy enough, I’m not the biggest fan of the Bacon-Wrapped Dates. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy them … but guess who REALLY loves them? My wife. She orders this appetizer all of the time, and not including the dates on this post is just bad for marriage stability.

9. Nuremburger

I don’t eat it often but this is a damn good (and very underrated) burger.  A brat patty is topped with sauerkraut and bacon and finished off with some whole grain mustard. It rich, decadent, and just a nice alternative to the classic beef burger most of us order 99% of the time.


8. Red Cabbage

I know what you’re thinking, “WTF?!?!? Shalin?” It’s just red cabbage. Yes, it’s just a small pile of lowly red cabbage. But it’s perfect and goes with just about anything on the menu. Heck, I’ve ordered a side of cabbage and just eaten it with a beer. I’m a huge fan of restaurants that nail the small stuff, and The Pantry does just that with the red cabbage.

7. House Made Ricotta

Yes, another appetizer makes the list. Truth be told, I could do a “Top 10 Appetizers at The Pantry” post and I think most folks would be cool with that. Speaking of cool …  the creamy ricotta with a pool of olive oil is such a nice way to start any meal at The Pantry.

6. Truffled Deviled Eggs

They’re just so darn cute and tasty. No meal is complete without an order of these things, unless of course, you hate deviled eggs, in which case, you’re a horrible person.

5. Grilled Romaine Hearts

Aren’t you proud of me for working a salad into the mix? Other than the charred lettuce, there’s really nothing healthy about this salad, probably because it’s covered in dressing and shaved Parm. Top it with shrimp or salmon and you’ve got yourself a full meal. Just save room for dessert.

Grilled Romaine

4. Lasagna

This is the best lasagna in town, and that’s saying something because I really enjoy Capeo’s lasagna. The hearty Bolognase is outstanding, but the bechamel is what puts it over the top. I almost never order this dish, but my kids do, and I usually sneak in a few bites … which is all I need.

3. Cheesecake

No way in hell I’m putting a dessert #1, but The Pantry’s cheesecake is good enough to make my Top 3. And it’s definitely in the discussion for best restaurant dessert in Little Rock, mainly because of that thick graham crack crust and bruleed top.


2. Jäger Schnitzel

This is comfort food at its finest …. the pork loin (always get it fried) with thick, mushroom brown gravy over a serving of spaetzle is like a big food hug.

Jäger Schnitzel

1. The Pantry’s Board

At $21.95, The Pantry’s Board is not only an excellent value, but it’s just plain awesome. Filled with house made meats like smoked turkey, Hungarian sausage, bratwurst, pecan-smoked pork belly, country terrine, and liver pâté, along with an assortment of breads, cheeses, and pickled vegetables, The Pantry’s Board is a must-order.

The Pantry’s Board
My Food Weekend in New Orleans

My Food Weekend in New Orleans

I finally went to New Orleans … for the first time ever. Can you believe it? After years of procrastination, last weekend’s bro trip with three friends ended the long wait of eating my way through this great culinary city. All told, we visited 16 […]

Pit Boss: Instant Pot Ropa Vieja

Pit Boss: Instant Pot Ropa Vieja

By Chef Ken Dempsey Before I go into the “what,” let me tell you the “why” of this dish. Why? If anyone knows me, then you know I LOVE to cook. It brings back memories of the times standing in a chair in my grandmother’s […]