Posts Tagged The Pantry Crest
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.”
Thoughts from my recent food adventures around Little Rock…
I know many folks love Mr. Chen’s, and while I’m not saying the place is bad by any stretch of the imagination, I am saying it gets a little too much credit for being the best Chinese food in Little Rock. I wasn’t overly impressed with the Salted Crispy Chicken dish, which, as expected, was salty, but its real shame was the lack of an accompanying sauce with the chicken. Again, it wasn’t bad, but could have been a lot better. I was also a bit underwhelmed by the Taiwanese Pan Fried Noodles, a plate highlighted by tender beef and shrimp, but there was also this lackluster pile of noodles which proved almost too difficult to cut.
So, just where is the best Chinese food in Little Rock? To me, it’s Fantastic China … and my lunchtime combo of oyster sauce with mushrooms, fried rice, and fried spring roll did nothing do dissuade me from that line of thinking.
Count me as a fan of Flyway’s new array of soft pretzels, which includes a lavender salt pretzel with honey mustard that I devoured with my pale ale at the bar, while my bar mate crushed the espresso salt pretzel with stout chocolate sauce. If you’re looking for a unique sweet treat, this is one is for you. Flyway has a variety of pretzels now on its regular menu which pair wonderfully with a their selection of beer.
A quick shout out to the folks over at Mugs Café. I popped in a few weeks back, and, as always, loved my cup of coffee. The place is so consistent, seems to always have a steady flow of customers, and is a true gem for the Argenta District in NLR.
Am I saying Al Seraj is a Top 10 restaurant in Little Rock? No. I won’t compare it with the likes of Table 28, South on Main, One Eleven, etc. But the $10 lunch buffet of Mediterranean delights makes the restaurant 100%, without a doubt, one of the best fast casual spots in town. BTW … if you’re interested, I think the dinner buffet costs a buck or two more.
I finally tried the frozen mojito at Heights Taco & Tamale and damn was it good. This drink, along with Local Lime’s frozen margarita, proves Yellow Rocket has truly mastered the frozen cocktail concept. Well done. And as for HTT, it really needs to be said … what a gorgeous bar. Also, props on that massive flat-screen television right in the dead center.
After the UALR men’s basketball game the other night, my buddy and I had dinner and beers at The Pantry Crest. The place was hopping but our food orders came out fast, no small feat when a restaurant is that full. My seared salmon with spinach, quinoa, and charred asparagus was absolutely perfect, as was my friend’s burger (so I was told…never got a bite). Seared salmon is not a sexy dish, especially at a place like The Pantry Crest, but if you’re looking for something a little lighter, order it.
While food plays an overwhelmingly large role in your overall happiness with restaurants, it’s the quality service that helps ensure a perfect dining experience. Each month, readers chime in on Facebook, telling us about great service they received at a local restaurant. Here are the responses for January.
Abigail E.: Any Yellow Rocket place has always been friendly and more than accommodating.
Brittany S.: Aisha at The Pantry Crest is the best!!!!
My Take: The only thing that shocks me is that The Pantry (Crest) was only mentioned one time. The restaurant has notoriously excellent service.
Bradley J.: Matt and/or Matt at Another Round Pub always treat me like family! In fact the entire staff does! I love that place.
Amy B-H.: By kid request, we went to Shorty Smalls on Monday. Our server blew us away. I gave her a fat tip. Wish I could remember her name.
Alexia: The gals at Maddie’s never disappoint.
My Take: I completely echo this sentiment. The service as Maddie’s Place is always so friendly and efficient … and very honest. They never steer you wrong with a suggestion.
Dobie H.: No matter how crowded HAM is Victoria and Brandon always are so nice and prompt.
Kim E.: Wayne, at Capi’s and, now, Trio’s, rocks!
Andrew B.: Layla’s wins for me this month – always friendly and quick.
My Take: The service at Layla’s is solid, but the real draw is the food.
Kaye M.: Kemuri always has top notch service.
Ananth R.: Aaron at Heights Taco & Tamale Co. provides hands down the best service we get anywhere in town.
Billy S.: David’s at Gateway blew my mind last weekend. Most attentive service at a burger joint ever.
Whitney H.: The staff at Three Fold is AWESOME!!!! Super friendly and always go above and beyond!
My Take: Part of Three Fold’s greatness is quickly moving folks through the line … in a friendly manner.
Carla K.: Justin and Carlos at Cantina Laredo have treated us like family for so long that we go there as much to see them as we do for the food.
Jay M.: Aaron at Vesuvio did a great job last Friday. Also want to second the great job Carlos does at Cantina Laredo.
Please keep them coming for February and thank you to those who participated! BTW…if you’d like to leave some comments in box below about some fantastic service you’ve recently received, please feel free to do so.