Posts Tagged Big Orange

Your Favorite Burger in the Little Rock Area

Arkansas Burger Co.

Arkansas Burger Co.

 

We’re back at it again, trying to gauge exactly what we truly love to eat here in Little Rock.  This time around, we’re taking a look at one of the most subjective food items out there … the burger. Here’s the question I posed on Facebook…

“What is your favorite restaurant to get a burger in the Little Rock area?”

We had 74 comments, with 38 different burgers being mentioned and 116 total votes. As always, these are very informal polls, so please treat this post as just a nice resource for quality burger options in our area. Here’s the crazy thing that struck me right off the bat … of the 38 places mentioned, I had not even had the burger at 24 of them. Granted, I’m not a big burger guy, but it still speaks to the quality options we have in the area.

So who reigned supreme? To no surprise, Big Orange and David’s came out on top. Both places are wildly popular, produce a consistently great burger, and have multiple locations to hit a wider audience. Big Orange took in 16 votes and David’s came in second with 14. There was a considerable drop-off after those two. The next tier of spots included: The Box, The Root Cafe, Gadwall’s Grill, South on Main, Arkansas Burger Co., and Capital Bar and Grill … all receiving between 5-7 votes. Of these, the South on Main burger, which I’ve written about quite a bit of late, is my personal favorite. I know several folks who claim that The Root’s cheeseburger is the absolute best burger in town, but I can’t speak to that one, as I haven’t had it in a few years.

Tier three consisted of these spots: Cotham’s (original location), Buffalo Grill, Hillcrest Artisan Meats, The Pantry, Grumpy’s, Alley Oops, Midtown Billiards, Sports Page, Burge’s, Purple Cow, Bobby’s Cafe, Burgers Pies and Fries, Four Quarter Bar, and Monkey Burger … all receiving between 2-4 votes. The H.A.M. is served only on Fridays, and when they run out, they run out, so get there early. It’s a decadent burger that’s sure to please even the pickiest of palates.

We had several places that each received one mention. These included: Skinny J’s, The Spot, Ciao Baci, The Southern Gourmasian, Leo’s Greek Castle, Mick’s BBQ, Brewster’s II Cafe, K Hall and Sons, VFW on Kanis, The Butcher Shop (Friday), Canon Grill, Markham Street Grill & Pub, JoJo’s Bar-B-Que, The Terrace, Jacks Bar and Grill, and Doe’s Eat Place. If you haven’t had the chicken burger at The Southern Gourmasian, please put it on your to-do list. Also, the Ciao Baci burger is super underrated.

Finally, a few reactions from readers…

Karin Schoultz: “We looooove old school, straight up, plain Jane good old Buffalo Grill burger!!!!!”

Laurie Ringler: “David’s or Gadwall’s, but that’s only because I live north of the river. Special occasions call for Big Orange.”

Emilie F. Partis: “Top choice is always and will always be the herbed butter burger at Purple Cow (with a triple treat chocolate malt just to insure the heart attack factor!). Second runners up would be the cheeseburger at Big Orange or at Cothams in Scott.”

Alicia Tuggle: “When The Butcher Shop does their Friday lunch burger, other than that I mostly go for terrace restaurant for convenience for the taste and the price is good too. Plus it’s usually enough for me to have 2 meals out of due to the fries too (I always order the night time fries if it’s lunch).”

Vicki Funkkjunkie Weber: “Big Orange Midtown always. Hickory smoke burger. And dying to try the Razorback! And we now have one of the Burgers, Pies and Fries places that started in Jacksonville here in Conway. It’s a great burger but I’m not a fan of the “cheese” or the bun.”

Danny Huber: “I like all the burger comments. The hidden gems in this thread are Bobby’s Cafe and Monkey Burger. If you haven’t been…GO!”

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Your Favorite Bar to Grab a Drink in Little Rock

South on Main

South on Main

 

In recent weeks on the blog, there have been several mentions regarding our lack of variety as it pertains to food and drink in Little Rock. It got me to thinking … is there an area or, dare I say, multiple areas, where we have an embarrassment of riches? Maybe, maybe not, but “bars” popped into my head right off the bat. So I posed this question on Facebook…

“What is your favorite bar to grab a drink in Little Rock?”

We had 50 comments, with more than 34 different bars being mentioned. As always, these are very informal polls, so please treat this post as just a nice resource for quality bar options in our area.

Many times, choosing your favorite place to grab a drink is about more than if the bar serves bad ass cocktails or has local beers on tap. The atmosphere, the music, and the bartender(s) can all play such critical roles in choosing your favorite watering hole. For me, nothing beats South on Main. It’s got that amazing combination of stellar bartenders, a great list of cocktails, and inviting atmosphere that almost always puts it at the top of my list, and apparently, yours too. It finished second only to the iconic Capital Bar and Grill in voting.

The Pantry Crest and Big Orange Midtown were only a few votes short of South on Main and CBG, and for good reason. Both places are gorgeous, carry an excellent selection of beer, and often deliver some of the best cocktails in town.

The Pizzeria, Ciao Baci, Local Lime, and Flyway Brewing were next up. Local Lime serves the best margarita in town and Flyway, which usually offers 8-10 of their own beers on tap, is such a nice and relaxing spot to unwind.

The Fold, Trio’s, Rebel Kettle, The White Water Tavern, and Heights Taco & Tamale Co. also received multiple votes. In this group, the bartending skills of Merrick Fagan at Trio’s really stand out. Merrick is really starting to make a name for himself through his craft cocktail creativity.

Other places receiving votes include: Raduno, Baja Grill, YaYa’s, Four Quarter, Cache, Stickyz, Lost Forty, SO, One Eleven, The Faded Rose, JJ’s Grill, Zack’s Place, Pizza D, The Hillcrest Fountain, 109, Samantha’s, Stone’s Throw Brewing, By the Glass, Reno’s, Oyster Bar, and Boulevard Bistro. This is another excellent group of bars. I love the beauty of One Eleven and Samantha’s, enjoy grabbing a beer at The Faded Rose, and am looking forward to checking out JJ’s Grill.

Thank you to everyone who participated…we’ll try to do one of these each week for the immediate future. I’ll leave you with some more reader comments…

Lisa Prince Thomas: “I work in the Little Rock River Market and Cache Restaurant is in the same building and Stickyz Rock N’ Roll Chicken Shack is across the street. So that’s my easy two picks, both with completely different atmospheres and excellent places for a little after work ‘wet-your-whistle.'”

Mallory Burns: “South on Main, Capital Bar and Grill, Heights Taco. All are so happy and comforting in their own way.”

Alicia Tuggle: “For just drinks the new JJ’s grill in LR has good drink prices and happy hours and daily specials and also crafty hour and then there is the some minutes every hour for domestics too.”

E.W. Swan: “My wife and I had a couple of amazing cocktails at Ciao Baci a few weeks ago.”

Mason Hargett: “I have only been twice, but I really like going to Rebel Kettle Brewing Co.”

Amber Smith: “I have to give a shout out to the bars I’ve enjoyed due to the awesome bartender…Dylan when he was at Big Orange, The Fold…I don’t know your name, but you’re always accommodating, especially when my husband is on call and can’t drink but wants a watermelon drink, and Hunter when she was at Boulevard.”

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Unique Randomness: BBQ in Little Rock, Brunch Boom, and T-Bell is at it Again

Pork Butt BBQ at Table 28

Pork Butt BBQ at Table 28

My random thoughts about anything in the Little Rock food scene and beyond…

Le Pop$ — According to my wife (and my Discover account history), I’ve spent over $400 on Le Pops in the past 12 months. I know … a pretty staggering figure, especially when you take into account $6 of that total went to popsicles I actually consumed. Kids!

Prime Real Esate — Anyone else intrigued about what will happen to the space formerly occupied by Acadia? Seems like one of the best locations in town, so I really hope something goes in there that’s fresh and exciting. On that note, will anything ever come of the space-formerly-known-as-Packet-House?

Crazy Q — The best tasting barbeque I’ve spent money on since living in Little Rock has come at South on Main (ribs), Table 28 (pork butt), and Big Orange Midtown (brisket at a whiskey dinner). With all due respect to these restaurants, what’s wrong with this picture? Not one actual barbeque joint makes my top three, mind you, in a southern state with a pig as its mascot. How can this be? Granted, I’ve yet to eat at a few of the popular spots, but I think most of us would agree our barbeque scene is in need of some serious improvement, especially inside the city.

Legitimate Question — Is there another independent bakery in the country located inside a major chain’s grocery store other than Silvek’s in Kroger? I’ve never seen anything like it, not that I’m complaining because I rather enjoy me some Silvek’s. But seriously, have you ever seen such a thing?

Scrapple, Not Scrabble — I noticed on Facebook that Chef Matt Bell and crew were up to some scrapple making, and fortunately, got to try a little bit of it. If you’re brave enough to eat collected bits of organs, it really is a fantastic dish. In case you’re not familiar with the delicacy, here’s everything you need to know about scrapple in one nice little post.

Brunch Time — Is it just me or does brunch seem to be taking off in Little Rock? SO, South on Main, One Eleven, Ira’s Park Hill Grill, YaYa’s, Trio’s, Loca Luna, and Raduno, just to name a few, are all doing a Sunday brunch service.

Taco Bell Never Disappoints — The latest train wreck turns boring old chicken into a useable taco shell. That noise you heard was Daniel Walker peeling out of his driveway to meet his next bout of diarrhea. Dude loves him some T-Bell and my guess is this won’t end well.

Cheeto Fingers — I posed a question over on Facebook about a grocery store happening from this past Sunday. Some dude, midway through his shopping, ripped open a bag of Cheeto Puffs and started chowing down. Fairly disgusted, I went home and wanted to know what readers felt about such an act. Feedback ranged from, “mind your own damn business” to “I crack open a bottle of water in the grocery store all the time.” What’s your take? Was the man with the orange fingers in the wrong or am I too sensitive?

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Saturday Night’s Dinner at Local Lime a Mixed Bag

IMG_1278

The Yellow Rocket Concepts group does social media better than just about anybody in the Little Rock food industry. So, when it posted a beautiful picture of a fried pork chop with red mole, a current menu special at Local Lime, I knew a visit to the WLR restaurant was imminent.

Sure enough, I was digging into the latest masterpiece 24 hours later, and it was just as deliciously brilliant as the picture lead me to believe. Thick, rich mole with hints of cinnamon covered a perfectly fried, bone-in pork chop, and was accompanied by grilled cebollitas, a small bowl of mango salsa and two sides. Per usual, I opted for the drunken beans and rice. A heavy hand of pumpkin seeds didn’t detract from my overall satisfaction with the dish, but did prove to be one of a few missteps throughout the evening.

When asked how she liked her zucchini tacos, my wife gave me a “ho hum” look. She wasn’t pleased with the change in the composition of these tacos, as corn kernels have replaced the chunky potatoes that gave the dish its substance.

As for me, my frozen margarita arrived at the table only half frozen, which, upon request, our server promptly replaced with one I still consider to be the best version in Little Rock. In regards to food, the drunken beans were soupier than usual, and far less seasoned than I’ve grown accustomed to from Local Lime. Finally, and this is something that has happened on at least four separate occasions at Local Lime and Big Orange (combined) … our server didn’t inform us about the daily special(s).

The creativity and execution of these specials play a huge role in separating the Yellow Rocket restaurants from its competition, and sadly (at least in my experience), many customers aren’t even made aware of their existence. I had to ask about the special, and far too often I receive that “what secret club are you part of” look.

To me, these issues speak to a potentially larger problem.

There’s no denying the greatness of Yellow Rocket. This group owns ZAZA’s, Big Orange, Local Lime, and the soon-to-be-opening Lost Forty Brewing and Heights Taco & Tamale Company. Its stronghold as the most dominant local force in a burgeoning Little Rock restaurant scene is something to be admired. From cool, modern settings, to seamless openings, to the aforementioned strong social media presence, to unpretentious, yet innovative menus, the group has without question created a recipe for success.

BUT …

Lately, at least for me, issues have been creeping up at these restaurants. I just fear that with each new restaurant opening, it is becoming more and more of a challenge to maintain consistency across the board. Going forward, I see this as being the group’s biggest challenge.

Here’s hoping for improvement.

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