Posts Tagged Big Orange Midtown
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
I haven’t been to Layla’s in a very long time (maybe over a year), due in large part to it being located in the same parking lot as El Palenque. I tend to lean towards Mexican food when faced with such food dilemmas. Any who, the food has always been outstanding at Layla’s (see: yogurt plate and Yazoo pizza), but Tuesday night’s gyro sandwich was just lacking in taste. The meat was a tad dry and the sandwich needed more than just meat, Tzatziki sauce, and onions. The addition of tomatoes and/or lettuce would do wonders for this sandwich.
Have you ever participated in a progressive dinner? There are many variations, but basically, you have drinks/apps at one restaurant, entrees at another, and desserts at a third spot. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to experience different cuisines, all in one evening. Last Friday night, we started out at La Terraza Rum & Lounge in Hillcrest with some fantastic mojitos, as well as a plate of yuca frita and a meat and cheese board. The mojitos, alone, make La Terraza a place worth checking out, but our food was just as impressive. The raspberry, coconut, and black spiced mojitos are all can’t-miss, and combined with the great food, and personalized service, La Terraza is a place that should be packed on a Friday night. Next, we hit Kemuri for our main course. I choose the Red Dragon Roll and an order of ceviche, the latter of which was a wonderful combination of squid, shrimp, and avocado lightly dressed in a spicy sauce. Service was great and especially impressive, considering Kemuri had a packed house. Kemuri proved yet again why it’s one of our very best restaurants in Little Rock. We finished the night off with desserts and coffee at Trio’s. I had a few bites of a deliciously rich peanut butter and chocolate cake and my tablemates partook in the tres leches. In the end, the night was a total success, with all three restaurants shining with regards to both food and service.
Mt. Fuji gets almost no attention. That’s a shame because it’s really one of our better quick sushi-fix, hole-in-the walls in town. The spicy tuna roll was a hit, as was my pork ramen, and my kid’s chicken teriyaki. The restaurant isn’t fancy, and it won’t be the best sushi you’ve ever eaten, but the food is quality and an excellent value.
Go to Honey Pies for a cup of coffee. I can’t speak to some of their “fancier” java creations, but a regular cup of pour over Leiva’s Coffee is outstanding.
There’s just something so comforting about devouring six fried shrimp, a plate of fries, some toast, and a small bowl of soaked salad at Doe’s. Sure, the steak gets a lot of attention, but I’ve always been a big fan of fried shrimp and Doe’s is my go-to spot for them. And that soaked salad! Did I mention the soaked salad?
It was a mixed bag during yesterday’s lunch at Big Orange Midtown … the sweet potato fries were their usual awesome selves, but our order of truffle-garlic-herb fries were woefully salty, to the point where we just had to stop eating them. My Thai Chop with chicken was outstanding, and while I definitely prefer the steak that accompanies the salad, the chicken was also a nice option.
About twice a year, my daughter and I do the chef’s tasting at South on Main. It’s a truly personalized, 4-6 course dining experience that’s developed and executed by Chef Matt Bell. Give him a week or two of notice, but other than that, I recommend staying out of the way and letting him do his thing, which the other night were dishes like Oysters 3 Ways, Duck Confit with Greens, and refined execution of “Steak and Potatoes.”
April is an insanely popular month for food and drink events here in Little Rock. And for good reason … everyone wants to take advantage of this fabulous weather. Here’s a rundown of (almost) everything that’s going on, inside and out.
Jazz in the Park is this Wednesday, April 6th from 6-8 p.m. at the River Market. This free jazz concert series will be held in the History Pavilion (at the base of the Junction Bridge) in Riverfront Park on Wednesday nights in April and September. Limited seating is available and lawn chairs are welcome for this family (and leashed pet) friendly event. No coolers, but beer, wine, soft drinks and water are available for sale. This week’s performer is Acoustix with Rod P.
The Good Earth Garden Food Truck Meet-Up is this Thursday, April 7th from 5-8 p.m. at 15601 Cantrell Road.
The West Little Rock Food Truck Festival will be on Saturday, April 9th from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at 6400 Divide Parkway. Click here for event updates.
Flyway Brewing is having its Blues, BBQ, & Beer Fundraiser this Saturday, April 9th from 2-10 p.m. The brewery is partnering with Championship Pitmaster Tony Graham and Head Chef of the Clinton Foundation Gilbert Alaquinez to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Pulled pork and smoked chicken bbq plates will be sold for $10 each. All food proceeds and a portion of beer proceeds will be donated to assist Arkansas families with travel and treatment expenses.
The 2016 Jewish Food and Cultural Festival is on Sunday, April 10th from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium. The festival will include “traditional Jewish foods such as old fashioned corned beef sandwiches, lox, bagels and cream cheese, kosher hot dogs, rugelach and many more wonderful Jewish delicacies.” Admission is free.
The Bernice Garden Farmer’s starts back up this Sunday, April 10th from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.. This is a fabulous farmer’s market, so please consider making it down there on Sunday.
Big Orange Midtown offers you the opportunity to have dinner with Tom Schlafly, founder of Schlafly Brewing in St. Louis, on Thursday, April 14th at 6:30 p.m. It’s a 4-course, 5-beer, off-menu dinner. Tickets cost $65. Yellow Rocket does a great job with these types of dinners, and I’m sure this one will be no expection.
CARTI’s Ragin’ Cajun Bash is also on Thursday, April 14th from 6-9 p.m. at War Memorial. Tickets are $45 in advance, $55 at the door. Click here for tickets or call (501) 296-3406.
Wildwood’s 18th Annual Wine & Food Festival is on April 15th from 6:30-9 p.m. inside the Cabe Festival Theatre Center. More than 100 specially selected wines and beers are paired with chef’s edibles. For tickets, click here.
The Root Café is throwing its 2nd Annual Pie Bake-Off & Recipe Swap on Saturday, April 16th at 4:30 p.m. “Bake your best traditional pie for our panel of judges. Bring copies of your recipe to swap with other pie bakers. Judges will award 5 Blue Ribbons and one Best-in-Show award.” This is super fun, laid back event with tons of great pie.
Also on April 16th, Kent Walker Artisan Cheese is looking for “Any Excuse to Party.” Click here for all of the details.
Pulaski Tech’s signature fundraising event has a new name and format. “Diamond Chef Arkansas: Recut” is comprised of a preliminary and final competition, all held on the same day (April 21st from 6-9 p.m.) at the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute. In previous years, the two stages were held months apart. Event-goers can now also expect heavy hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening instead of a sit-down dinner. Tickets are $125 per person. For more information, click here.
The Dogtown Farmers’ Market gets going on Saturday, April 23rd from 7-10 a.m. at 420 Main Street in Argenta. Chef Matt Bell of South on Main will have a cooking demo and there will be live music by The Salty Dogs. That’s a good combo.
April 23rd is also the date for the International Food Festival at the Islamic Center of Little Rock (3224 Anna Street) from 12-6 p.m.
The Turkish Food Festival will take place Saturday, April 30th from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at The Little Rock Raindrop Turkish House (1501 Market Street). The festival will feature delicious food, culture exhibits, folk dances, music, whirling dervish, children’s area, crafts and more. For tickets, click here.
“90th at Night!” Wild Wines is on April 30th from 7-10 p.m. at the Little Rock Zoo (which turns 90 this year). This is one of the state’s largest food and wine events with food from 50 restaurants and more than 200 high-quality wines to sample donated by O’Looney’s Wine & Liquor. General Admission are $75 in advance and $90 at the door. The Reserve Room Experience is $150 in advance and $200 at the door. Must be 21 or older to attend. Please bring ID. For tickets, click here.