Don’t get me wrong, we have some good upscale restaurants in the Little Rock area, but, over the past several months, the places that have really impressed me are the “hidden gems” and “hole-in-the-walls.” These are the restaurants that don’t get a ton of attention, aren’t […]
Tag: Milford Track
By all accounts, 2014 was a damn good year for Little Rock’s food scene. We added some excellent new establishments like The Pizzeria at Terry’s Finer Foods, Good Food by Ferneau, Butcher & Public and Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co. We even saw seasoned restaurantuers like Scott McGehee, Tomas Bohm and Jerry Barakat expand their footprints with the already successful ventures of Lost Forty Brewing, The Pantry Crest and Kemuri, respectively.
I was cautiously optimistic this time last year on what the future would hold for Little Rock’s food scene. Good things were happening, but not enough to cause genuine excitement. With 2015 quickly approaching, it’s obvious that things have improved tremendously over this past year. Will we ever be a New Orleans, Dallas or even Memphis? No … but Little Rock is slowly making strides to becoming a true dining destination.
I say “slowly” because it really does take time.
So, what needs to take place for the culinary scene to continue to move forward? In my humble opinion … it would be great to see these things happen:
We need places like Natchez, South on Main, One Eleven and Capital Bar and Grill to keep churning out great food and to step outside the box every now and then. These restaurants are so important, as they not only house some of our top chefs, but also are quite popular with tourists/out-of-towners.
The Southern Gourmasian must transition from being Little Rock’s best food truck to an elite brick-and-mortar. Chef Justin Patterson is truly one of our best chef’s in town and I’m guessing his passion and creativity will only expand with a permanent home.
Whether it’s for the development of a limited edition product, the coordination of a charity function or just a couple of talented folks sharing ideas, we need the collaborative efforts between chefs, bakers, ice cream makers and brewers to continue.
We need a chef/restauranteur to take a chance on Park Hill. The neighborhood is charming, beautiful, historic … and, most importantly, is close to the epicenter of Little Rock. For all those reasons, it has the potential to be the next “big thing.”
Most (not all) local restaurants must step it up on social media. Even something like a simple webpage and a decent presence on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook go a long way in connecting with an audience and potentially improving sales. The excuses of not having the time and/or money to do these things are tired and weak.
Food writing, in all honesty, must continually strive for improvement. Those of us writing- myself included- should challenge ourselves to cover all places–new, old, popular, and hidden gems–and not only praise but provide constructive criticism when warranted.
In general, Little Rock diners need to not only be willing to support local restaurants, but also do so by getting out of their comfortable neighborhoods every so often, driving an extra 10-15 minutes, and “spreading the wealth,” so to speak. Does this sound familiar?
“I live in Midtown. When are we getting a Local Lime, because I hate driving all the way out to West Little Rock.”
“North Little Rock? I’m not driving all the way up there for dinner.”
“You drove out to Benton?”
The fact of the matter is that almost no place is too far, especially when you take into account that Little Rock has minimal traffic most of the time. If we want to see these restaurants thrive, it’s going to take a conscious effort on diners to, at times, literally go the extra mile.
Finally, adding more and more ethnic cuisine restaurants will only help improve the diverse offerings in Little Rock. Just in the past few months, we’ve added two new Thai restaurants (Oishi and kBird), and it would be wonderful to see more of this in 2015.
Did I miss something or am off base with any or all of my opinions? Please let me know in the comment box below.
A look back on what’s been going on around Little Rock. A few weeks back, I checked out Chuy’s on a soft opening. We kicked off the complimentary dinner at the much ballyhooed restaurant with a small bowl of guacamole and a standard margarita on […]