Ever done a food crawl? Basically, you park your car in a central location and spend the rest of the day/evening walking around, eating and drinking at various restaurants, all within a 1/2-mile of each other. It’s a ton of fun. I’ve participated in a few and have learned a ton of tips along the way to help ensure a fun time. This post is about passing along those suggestions, so hopefully you can organize your own food crawl.
I know what you’re thinking … “Where in the world would I do a food crawl in Little Rock?”
Glad you asked. There are plenty of places, but I figured we’d start with the SoMa neighborhood. Several great eateries are all within a short walking distance of each other, making it an ideal spot to go food crawling.
With any great food crawl, time is everything. Below, you’ll find my suggestions for a great SoMa food crawl. Please view these suggestions as just that … suggestions. The goal here is to inspire you to form your own local food adventure.
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 SoMa…
Apps and Cocktails at South on Main (5 p.m.)
Park along Main Street near South on Main at 5 p.m. on Saturday. This is the perfect restaurant to start things off at the bar area with great appetizers and cocktails. And, if you arrive on time, you can even partake in SoM’s Social Hour, which runs from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday.
Suggestions: The Botanist (tequila, genepy, lemon, and holy basil) … not part of Social Hour prices but this is a wonderful cocktail. You also can’t beat the Old Fashioned, which is part of SH. For apps, get the JAR (choice of: Smoked Oyster, Beer Cheese, Egg Salad or Chicken Liver Mousse), along with orders of Cauliflower Popcorn with Aioli and Fried Soft Shell Crab Steam Buns with Chow Chow & Spicy Mayo. Each one of these appetizers are perfect for sharing and really give you a taste of South on Main. Plus, these provide options for both vegetarian and carnivores in your group.
Salad and Beer at Raduno (6 p.m.)
Raduno is just a few steps away from South on Main and has a wonderful bar to hang out and slow things down just a bit with some beer and salad. Are you full yet? No? Good.
Suggestions: Split the Burrata and Caesar Salad with your group and have a light beer. Raduno has one of the best draft beer selections in town, but don’t get crazy and order a super heavy one. Remember, the night is still young.
Main Course at The Root (7 p.m.)
Pay attention because things are about to get a little tricky. If you’re a group of 6 or more, then you can make reservations at The Root. Any fewer = no reservations. The downside to reservations is this will force you to keep on schedule, which some folks don’t like.
Suggestions: The Root Burger is a great option, especially since it shares easily. I’d definitely order the Pork Belly as well and any of The Root’s vegetarian entree options are excellent. It will be difficult to resist some of the Small Plates, so don’t. Dive in and have fun.
Dessert at Loblolly Creamery (8 p.m.)
We’re approaching the finish line, and if you’ve done a good job of pacing yourself, then the feeling of impending death due to extreme stomach tightness won’t be hovering over the rest of the evening. Watch the clock because Loblolly closes at 9 p.m.
Suggestions: Get The Flight … which includes eight sample scoops of your choice, perfect for sharing. Loblolly also has coffee and in-house baked goods like fudgy brownies, cookies, and French macarons.
Nightcap & Concert at South on Main (9 p.m.)
This is the bonus portion of the night. Most folks, including me, would probably call it an evening after Loblolly. But if you’re still going strong, a nightcap at South on Main will allow you to return where the evening all started. If you’re a real planner and love music, you’ll also schedule the entire evening around a South on Main concert, which usually starts at 9 p.m. on Saturday nights.
Wait, WTF?!? 10:30 p.m.
You’re still going? I bet you’re getting hungry again. Mosey over to Midtown Billiards for a cheeseburger. From what I hear, 10:30 is pretty early for one, but at this point you’ve thrown rules out the window.
Congrats! You food crawled SoMa!
Stay tuned for future food crawl posts … with neighborhood suggestions fall around Little Rock.