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Tag: One Eleven

One Eleven, Table 28, Local Lime & The Pizzeria at Terry’s All Shine

One Eleven, Table 28, Local Lime & The Pizzeria at Terry’s All Shine

Wine Dinner at One Eleven I was fortunate enough to be one of Alexia Elichiry’s (De Nux Distributors, LLC) guests for the Gandona Wine Dinner at One Eleven last Friday evening. One Eleven is no stranger to hosting such events, so a near flawless evening was […]

Admit It, You’d Miss These 10 Dishes

Admit It, You’d Miss These 10 Dishes

If you moved tomorrow, have you ever thought about the dishes in Little Rock you’d truly miss–the ones you’d absolutely crave months, heck, years later? I think about it all the time. These dishes are not only delicious, but also scream Little Rock. Finding such food […]

Exciting Times in Little Rock’s Food Scene

Exciting Times in Little Rock’s Food Scene

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.

Our beer scene has exploded. We have a baker turned chocolatier (and still baker). Heck, we even have a bakery that makes crazy things called kouign amanns.

Hidden gems like Zaffino’s, Super 7 Grocery Store, Mike’s Café and La Regional impressed.

And places that have been around forever, including The Faded Rose, Scallions, Milford Track and Brave New, all continue to delight customers.

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.

The old Starving Artist spot needs a new tenant. Capeo, Mugs Cafe and Good Food are all strong, but the Argenta District could use another shot in the arm with a dynamite eatery in that space.

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.”

or

“North Little Rock? I’m not driving all the way up there for dinner.”

or

“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.

The Little Rock Food Blogger Round-Up

The Little Rock Food Blogger Round-Up

Little Rock’s food scene is at an all-time high. With it, comes an increase in writing on blogs, publications and social media. This is a good thing. These insights and opinions get people talking, helping lead to a stronger food community. The Little Rock Food […]

Top 10 Restaurants to Take Out-of-Towners

Top 10 Restaurants to Take Out-of-Towners

Living in Little Rock for two years has finally allowed me to build up a strong list of restaurants to bring my out-of-town guests. These places must obviously have excellent food, but also offer great service and an atmosphere that truly reflects the essence of […]