The 2014 Little Rock Food Wish List


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Recently on Bourbon and Boots, I tackled the topic of “food road trips.” The piece focused on various cities and towns throughout the South, which, in my opinion, were destination spots for food adventures. Inevitably, there was some banter on social media about whether or not Little Rock is one of these places—a town where people venture just for the wonderful food options.

In my opinion, it is not … yet.

But we are getting there.

Here are just a few of the things I believe would add to the food community here and help put us on the map:

Breakfast, please
I wish we could have a few more breakfast options, to be more specific, maybe a place or two specializing in breakfast tacos. I’d also like to toss the idea for an authentic kolache store. I think some quick, run-in/run-out spots like these would absolutely kill in Little Rock.

That’s a sandwich!
Make no mistake, we have some wonderful sandwich options, especially in WLR, were there seems to be 20 sandwich shops in a 3-mile radius. In the center of town, there’s Hillcrest Artisan Meats, Jimmy’s and a host of restaurants with fantastic sandwich menu options. But we need a true deli! The kind of place where a pastrami on rye is what brings you through the door. I’m talking about a true, NY-style delicatessen.

Why not Thai?
Can someone please explain to me why there aren’t more Thai restaurants in Little Rock? Specifically, I’d like to see one within a mile of my front door. I adore Chang’s Thai in Sherwood, but it’s a little far for me to drive on a routine basis.

We’ll keep the light on for you
Three words: late.night.diner. You can’t tell me a 24-hour diner either in Hillcrest or downtown wouldn’t be a wonderful addition to our current dining landscape. Every great food town (example: Austin) has a few places where they always keep the light on.

Pie House
We obviously love our pie in this area of the country…but why don’t we have a shop in Little Rock exclusively dedicated to selling them? People in other cities wait out in the street for fresh, homemade pies at local shops.

Artisan Chocolate Shop
Who doesn’t love a fine, $3 piece of artisan chocolate? I know a few spots in town are doing fudge, but how about one of those fancy, shmancy places where buying chocolate is a true experience?

Signature BBQ
Plain and simple…we need an award-winning barbeque joint, a place people would travel from other states just to check out. This town resides in the South and our state mascot is a pig, yet Little Rock lacks that one, magical, put-us-on-the-map, barbeque spot. I’d go to Dallas just for Pecan Lodge, Kansas City for Oklahoma Joe’s, and Memphis for BBQ Shop…but no place like that truly stands out in Little Rock.

What would you like to add or subtract from this list? Would love to hear about it in the comment box below.

  1. #1 by Whitney on January 22, 2014 - 1:41 pm

    *We used to have a pie shop called Sue’s in the Heights by Terry’s Finer Foods
    *I would love the chocolate shop- went to one in San Fran and its a chocolate lover’s dream

  2. #2 by Evan on January 22, 2014 - 1:45 pm

    I’m always down for more ethnic options, so above all else an Ethiopian restaurant would make me a very happy man. I agree with the breakfast options as well. We need more, again particularly those of the non-traditional variety (Mexican in particular).

  3. #3 by bastardchef on January 22, 2014 - 1:49 pm

    but, but… Forbes said Whole Hog when they called Little Rock a secret foodie city.

    I think the issues you’re having are state wide. I want more late night options and more in-and-out breakfast spots. We have a few Thai options but I’m ready for some Indian food. Is there Indian food in Little Rock that no one has told me about?

    I always have a good time eating in Little Rock and love to see it getting some good buzz but it’s still not quite there.

  4. #4 by Ken on January 22, 2014 - 1:54 pm

    I see nothing to disagree with. I would get behind the Thai movement in a New York minute. I miss Thai.

  5. #5 by Erin on January 22, 2014 - 2:14 pm

    There was a chocolate shop open for a couple of years in the River Market. Handmade and everything. But she closed after a couple of years. Demand just wasn’t there.

  6. #6 by George on January 22, 2014 - 4:53 pm

    Sub Thai with Asian. All of our Asian offerings are sub par to larger cities (Indian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese) Pho than mi offers some hope though. Things are way better than 10 years ago. I would love to see a good Korean place open. One of my favorites.

    Our Mexican is bad too on average. I have no idea why casa mañana and/or senior tequilla’s thrive. No es bueno.

    • #7 by The Mighty Rib on January 23, 2014 - 2:50 pm

      George, I don’t think our Mexican food is bad-to-average in this town. Places like El Palenque, Casa Manana, Eliella, Local Lime, Taqueria Jalisco are quite good. Agreed about Korean food…would love to see a spot open up.

  7. #8 by Now I'm Hungry! on January 22, 2014 - 5:16 pm

    We do need

    (1) A good bakery. There is Community Bakery but other than that…what? I crave a great place for cinnamon rolls, cream horns, baklava, cookies, tarts, eclairs, and other delicious sweets that aren’t pre-made elsewhere and driven to LR for finishing touches. A bakery such as Mike’s Pastry or Modern Bakery, both from Boston.

    (2) A great deli. Yes, a NY-style deli would be fantastic in Hillcrest or Downtown. I’m still not sold on HAM.

    (3) A classic, 24-hour diner in Hillcrest. It would be great to have such a place where many could walk to a restaurant any time, day or night.

    • #9 by The Mighty Rib on January 23, 2014 - 2:52 pm

      You just had to bring up Mike’s Pastry, didn’t you? If LR got something even remotely close to that place, then I’d start dancing in the streets.

  8. #10 by EY on January 23, 2014 - 8:17 am

    I’m there with you on the breakfast, but I will admit, I wouldn’t be able to support it often. And that is really the key. I sleep way too late on the weekends to have breakfast during breakfast hours and have this pesky thing every day during the week. I do get up early-ish on my birthday specifically so I can have a wonderful breakfast. It’s hard to tear myself away from Ashley’s for that. Last year, I was running late, called them and they let me put my order in via phone before they closed for breakfast and held me a table in the dining room. Service like that and great food makes it an excellent experience.

  9. #11 by Evan on January 23, 2014 - 3:52 pm

    I’d like to add we need an haute French restaurant. We haven’t had one I know of since Alouette’s.

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  11. #13 by Erika on January 31, 2014 - 6:12 pm

    We have a good option for Thai food here in Little Rock-KBird. The owner/chef frequently travels to Thailand and brings back authentic Thai recipes. Plus everything is fresh and made daily.

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