First it was SoMa, next it was The Heights, and then it was Hillcrest. For the fourth installment of the food crawl series, let’s focus on Downtown. Once again, before we get any deeper, here are some ground rules.
Keys to a Great Food Crawl
- Include 2-6 people (4 is ideal). You don’t want too few people (hard to try several dishes) and you don’t want too many people (hard to organize, find seating at the restaurants, and keep the party moving).
- Park right in the middle, if possible.
- Take umbrellas (hey, you never know when a shower will pop up).
- Make sure everyone is totally on board. I hesitate to use the word “foodie” but you know what I mean. Don’t invite anyone who doesn’t truly love food and isn’t totally up for eating all night. You know there’s always that one dude who could ruin it all for everyone.
- Have a leader. Someone needs to spearhead this outing … someone who is professional and organized but isn’t so Type A that it makes what should be a super fun experience feel like a chore.
- Only invite people who respect time. Lateness is a disease and all good food crawls start on time. We all have that friend who is 30 minutes late to everything and that shit won’t fly here.
- Allow 3-5 hours total. Any less isn’t enough, any more is really overdoing things.
- Tip well, if possible. Remember, you aren’t eating a ton of food at each place, but you are taking up space, so be respectful and tip well.
- Don’t spend too much time or eat too much food at each eatery. Rookies will have a hard time with this one.
- Picky eaters can stay home.
- Saturday evening at 5 p.m. is typically a great time to start the crawl. Saturdays are great for food crawls. The restaurants aren’t super crowded earlier in the evening and you’ll find most restaurants/eateries are open at that time. Always make sure to check hours of operation when organizing a crawl.
- Bring cash. Sometimes this makes splitting the bill a bit easier.
Let’s get started on the perfect Saturday night in Downtown…
Beer at Vino’s (4 p.m.)
It just feels right, doesn’t it? Pay a little respect to an establishment that’s been doing it right for many years. Go grab a beer at Vino’s. We all know the atmosphere and décor are a bit “rustic,” but for some reason, starting this food adventure at Vino’s just feels like it will build some good karma for the rest of the evening. Stay there 30 minutes, tops, and go on with the rest of your night.
Ramen at The Southern Gourmasian (4:30 p.m.)
You just had a beer, so now it’s time to put something in your stomach. If you’re rolling with four or more folks, get two orders of the pork shoulder ramen at The Southern Gourmasian. TSG is a perfect spot for a food crawl because not only is the food fantastic, but it’s a fast-casual setting that will allow you to get out pretty quickly. And I promise you will love this ramen, but if you must, get the Thai Chicken Burger as well. It’s one of the more underrated burgers in town.
**Note** If you’ve been following this food crawl series, you probably noticed something a little different about this one. Yes, you’ll need to utilize your car (or Uber) a few times throughout the evening. No worries, it’s a fairly short distance from place to place … and downtown parking is usually pretty easy on Saturday nights.
Dumplings at Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co. (6 p.m.)
Snack at Gus’ s Fried Chicken (7 p.m.)
Congrats! You food crawled downtown! And remember, the idea behind this series is to motivate you to really get out there and experiences a variety of restaurants. I fully understand, for example, that I may have left off some of your favorite downtown eateries on this post. If so, tailor your food crawl to the places you enjoy … and just use this post for inspiration.
Stay tuned for future food crawl posts … with neighborhood suggestions all around Little Rock.