Archive for category Around Town

25 Places to Eat in North Little Rock Area

Mr. Chengs

Mr. Chengs

 

I hear it all of the time on the blog, “There are no good restaurants in North Little Rock. It’s a wasteland of chains.” Not true. Here are 25 places to eat in the area … most local, a few regional chains, but all of them reader suggested. Just click on the links below for more restaurant information, and check out my quick takes on the places I’ve actually dined at (1-25, in alphabetical order).

1. BJ’s Market Café

2. Bobby’s Café

3. Ceci’s Chicken N Waffles

4. Chang Thai & Asian Cuisine
My take: The food here is outstanding, and, depending on who you ask, its the best Thai food in the area. For me, kBird is still better, but that’s taking nothing away from the food at Chang.

5. Chinese Pavilion Hunan Restaurant

6. Cilantros Grill

7. Flyway Brewing
My take: I’ve written about Flway pretty extensively over the past year, mainly because it’s my favorite brewery in town. No matter your preference, Flyway almost assuredly makes a beer that you’ll enjoy. Just save some room for food. The tofu sliders, assortment of soft pretzel offerings, and smoked trout nachos are all outstanding.

8. Gadwall’s Grill

Rosalinda

Rosalinda

9. Guadalajara Mexican Grill

10. Hideaway Pizza
My take: Certainly not in my top 10 pizza joints, but Hideaway is a nice place to go with family and friends for good food and a warm atmosphere. The pizza is a bit doughy for my liking, but Hideaway certainly has a loyal following, as evident by its expansion into Arkansas.

11. La Casa Real
My take: This restaurant used to be located off Rodney Parham. I ate there once and remember really enjoying it. I haven’t made it up to the new location, but I’ve heard nothing but good reports. If you adore refried beans, like I do, this is the place for you.

12. Lindsey’s Hospitality

13. Littlefield’s Cafe

14. Mama’s Gyro Grill

15. Mr. Chengs
My take: I’ve only eaten at Mr. Chengs once and it was a few years ago, but I remember the food being very good. With not a lot of quality Chinese food restaurants in the area, this is definitely a nice option.

16. Mugs Cafe
My take: I haven’t been to Mugs since new ownership, but if things are business as usual, then it’s a great spot for coffee and breakfast items. I’ve also been told they serve one of the better brownies in town, although I can’t personally confirm it.

17. North Bar

18. Ristorante Capeo
My take: If you’re looking for quality Italian food served in a cozy, yet elegant setting, Capeo is a wonderful choice. The Hunter’s Board is a nice start to the meal, and I especially enjoy the pork chop or lasagna entrees.

19. Rosalinda
My take: One of the better restaurants in the area, anything and everything is great at Rosalinda. The pupusas, shrimp soup, fried chicken, and skirt steak with fried plantains are all elite dishes. And if whole, fried fish is your thing, then check out this restaurant.

20. Saddle Creek Woodfired Grill

Capeo

Capeo

21. Santo Coyote

22. Skinny J’s
My take: I’ve only been once to this regional chain located in Argenta, but I thought the food was solid.

23. The Garden Bistro

24. Whole Hog

25. Zaffino’s by Nori
My take: The drive up to Sherwood is definitely worth the fantastic food coming out of Zaffino’s kitchen. Casual and family-friendly, Zaffino’s is an Italian food gem. Definitely order the Italian sausage with mushrooms.

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My $5.55 Lunch at Arkansas Heart Hospital

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I recently wrote about a tasty, $3.87 fried chicken lunch at Edwards Food Giant.

And it got me to thinking … are there other extremely reasonable, kinda quirky places to find a nice lunch in Little Rock? The answer is yes. One such place is the Arkansas Heart Hospital (1701 S. Shackleford Road) where, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (from 11am-2pm), you can order a $5 bowl of ramen. With tax, the total cost comes to $5.55.

That’s a real $5.55 because there’s no tip involved.

Yes, it’s a simple, no frills cafeteria-style lunch, but if you’ve never eaten at Coby’s (name of the cafe), I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the fast service, and, more importantly, this satisfying bowl of ramen.

Each day brings a different version of the soup. Today, I had a pork-based broth with noodles, chicken, cilantro, pickled onions, a marinated egg, parsnips, and carrots. While this certainly isn’t the most authentic bowl of ramen you’ll ever it, the flavors are delicious, and the overall bowl is hearty enough to fill you up. This was my second experience with Arkansas Heart Hospital ramen, and while the first time was good, this time around was even better because of an improved broth. Again, Coby’s rotates proteins in the ramen, and you’ll see anything from a slab of steak to shrimp to pork belly.

Here’s a tip … ask for it spicy. It’s still not very spicy, but anything less would be a little underwhelming, IMHO.

If you’re looking for a quick lunch that’s super cheap, check out Coby’s. Heck, if you’re a fast eater like me, you can get in and out of there in less than 20 minutes. And if you don’t like seeing other humans, you can even sneak out of the side patio door.

And another thing, Coby’s has a nice patio area … perfect for devouring a bowl of ramen on a 70-degree winter’s day in Little Rock.

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10 Favorite Places to Sit at the Bar

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Whether it’s by myself or with a friend or two, one of my favorite things to do is sit at one of our local bars, have a drink and/or bite to eat, and just take in the scene. Last week, Mallory’s new feature got me thinking about which places I like to hang. Here are my 10 of favorite bars, almost all located inside traditional restaurants. Are they the best bar areas in town? Maybe, maybe not … it’s very subjective, but for a variety of reasons, they definitely suit me.

Big Orange Midtown
Visually speaking, this, or the bar at One Eleven, are the most appealing. The bar at Big Orange Midtown is absolutely gorgeous and is stocked with some of the best liquors in town. From a diner’s perspective, it’s a wonderful place to have a meal and a nice beer or cocktail. The restaurant is never too loud and during the evening hours has a very nice, mellow vibe around the bar. Service is always attentive and drink specials tend to be quite creative.
What to order: Thai Chop Salad w/ Steak and a Lost Forty Honey Bock

Pantry Crest
It’s not big, and it can get a tad loud, but if you can find a seat, the bar at Pantry Crest is a great spot to watch a game, have an appetizer or two, and down one of the restaurant’s seasonal cocktails or local beers on tap.
What to order: Truffle Deviled Eggs and Stone’s Throw Beer (whatever’s on tap)

Trio’s
Most folks wouldn’t think to hang at Trio’s for its bar, but as you probably know by now, I love the restaurant, and that includes the very underrated bar area. Head Bartender Merrick Fagan is a wizard with his cocktail creations and just an overall good guy to chat with (when he isn’t too busy). The bar is quiet, has a big television to watch a game, and is usually occupied by a few folks, which inevitably leads to fun conversations.
What to order: Shrimp Spring Rolls (or any appetizer special) with a Pineapple Rum Daiquiri

Raduno
I should go to Raduno’s more often, especially because I really do enjoy the bar. It’s long, can accommodate a large amount of people, but never feels uncomfortably hectic. For all you beer lovers, the on-tap selection is one of the best in Little Rock. There’s also a big, beautiful television, perfect for watching a game.
What to order: Caesar’s Salad and a beer flight

South on Main
Probably my favorite bar in Little Rock. It’s just a cool place to hang, and for lack of a better term, it has that Cheer’s vibe to it. With more and more shows going on, it can get loud in the restaurant, but even then, it’s still nice to hang at the bar. Head Bartender David Burnette is the best in the business, and whether you’re in the mood for a sophisticated cocktail or a nice wine pairing, David always has some great recs.
What to order: Fried Oyster Steamed Bun and Old Fashioned

Heights Taco and Tamale Co.
HTT is often very loud, but I do enjoy finding a seat at the bar (btw, the seats are very comfortable) and having a quick cocktail. I say quick because HTT is very popular, and I hate taking up a seat for too long. The atmosphere is warm and inviting and the drinks, whether its a beer on-tap or a cocktail, are usually spot-on.
What to order: Tamales and a Frozen Mojito

Flyway Brewing
Did I say South on Main was my favorite bar? Well, then Flyway is my second favorite. For some reason, I just feel at home there. The bartenders are always super friendly, the beer is outstanding, and the food just keeps getting better and better. The place is never a madhouse, but always seems to have a steady stream of neighborhood friendlies. The massive television right above the bar doesn’t hurt matters.
What to order: Smoked Trout Nachos and a beer flight

Maddie’s Place
This is a bar’s bar. It’s no frills and somewhat dark, but just a perfect place to grab a beer. And Maddie’s seems to always have a nice beer selection. If you’re rolling solo, it’s also a great spot to grab a quick lunch or dinner.
What to order: Grilled Oysters and Bubba’s Brews Arkie Ale

Boulevard on Main Street
Hey, it’s not all about the booze. Boulevard is my favorite coffee bar. I’m there each Friday morning and love spending about 20 minutes on my phone, while enjoying a great cup of coffee. Blvd is another place that has a steady stream of customers, and because this is Little Rock, there’s a good chance you’ll know 1 out of 10 people who walk in.
What to order: Small cup of coffee and a slice of bread-of-the-day

Local Lime
Don’t worry, West Little Rock, I didn’t forget about ya. We all know that Local Lime has the best bar in the area … another Yellow Rock Concepts creation that’s easy on the eye and warm on the soul. Ok, that was a little sappy, but you know what I mean. Local Lime’s bar just feels cool and is a perfect place to hang, especially if you don’t feel like waiting on a table on a busy Friday night.
What to order: Chips and Salsa and a Frozen Margarita

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20 Suggestions for Valentine’s Day in Little Rock

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We’re less than 14 days from Valentine’s Day, which is the perfect time to start looking at menus and making reservations. I’ve scoured the internet to find local menus, specials, and places that are taking reservations. I’m sure there are many more specials, but these are the ones I could find thus far. Also, this is not to say these are the only restaurants you should consider going to on V-Day. If prix fixe menus aren’t your thing, many restaurants are open for business and offering their standard menu. In short, if going out on Valentine’s Day is your thing, check out the info below and click on the links for more details. Finally, if you’re a restaurant who is offering a special that I failed to include below, please message me and I’ll be glad to update the post.

Menus…

The Southern Gourmasian
South on Main: available 2/10, 2/11, 2/14
One Eleven: V-Day hotel package also available
Table 28: V-Day hotel package also available
Cache: available 2/10, 2/11, 2/13, 2/14)
Capeo: 3-course wine dinner, available 2/13 (click the link and scroll down for info)
Vesuvio Bistro
Heritage Grille, Steak and Fin
Del Frisco’s Grille
Canvas at the Arkansas Arts Center

Taking Reservations…

The Pantry and The Pantry Crest
Arthur’s Steakhouse
Kemuri

Other Specials…

Flyway Brewing: The Flyway Bouquet
Rocktown Distillery: Whiskey and Chocolate Pairing, available 2/12
Izard Chocolate: So Hoppy Together, available 2/12
Cocoa Belle Chocolates: Pop Up Shop on 2/10
Cocoa Rouge: Per 1/30 FB update, has delivered fresh chocolate to Eggshells and Colonial Wine and Sprits
2017 Chocolate Fantasy Ball
Blue Cake Company

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