First it was SoMa, next it was The Heights, and then it was Hillcrest. For the fourth installment of the food crawl series, let’s focus on Downtown. Once again, before we get any deeper, here are some ground rules.

Keys to a Great Food Crawl

  • Include 2-6 people (4 is ideal). You don’t want too few people (hard to try several dishes) and you don’t want too many people (hard to organize, find seating at the restaurants, and keep the party moving).
  • Park right in the middle, if possible.
  • Take umbrellas (hey, you never know when a shower will pop up).
  • Make sure everyone is totally on board. I hesitate to use the word “foodie” but you know what I mean. Don’t invite anyone who doesn’t truly love food and isn’t totally up for eating all night. You know there’s always that one dude who could ruin it all for everyone.
  • Have a leader. Someone needs to spearhead this outing … someone who is professional and organized but isn’t so Type A that it makes what should be a super fun experience feel like a chore.
  • Only invite people who respect time. Lateness is a disease and all good food crawls start on time. We all have that friend who is 30 minutes late to everything and that shit won’t fly here.
  • Allow 3-5 hours total. Any less isn’t enough, any more is really overdoing things.
  • Tip well, if possible. Remember, you aren’t eating a ton of food at each place, but you are taking up space, so be respectful and tip well.
  • Don’t spend too much time or eat too much food at each eatery. Rookies will have a hard time with this one.
  • Picky eaters can stay home.
  • Saturday evening at 5 p.m. is typically a great time to start the crawl. Saturdays are great for food crawls. The restaurants aren’t super crowded earlier in the evening and you’ll find most restaurants/eateries are open at that time. Always make sure to check hours of operation when organizing a crawl.
  • Bring cash. Sometimes this makes splitting the bill a bit easier.

Let’s get started on the perfect Saturday night in Downtown…

Beer at Vino’s (4 p.m.)

It just feels right, doesn’t it? Pay a little respect to an establishment that’s been doing it right for many years. Go grab a beer at Vino’s. We all know the atmosphere and décor are a bit “rustic,” but for some reason, starting this food adventure at Vino’s just feels like it will build some good karma for the rest of the evening. Stay there 30 minutes, tops, and go on with the rest of your night.

Beer at Vino’s

Ramen at The Southern Gourmasian (4:30 p.m.)

You just had a beer, so now it’s time to put something in your stomach. If you’re rolling with four or more folks, get two orders of the pork shoulder ramen at The Southern Gourmasian. TSG is a perfect spot for a food crawl because not only is the food fantastic, but it’s a fast-casual setting that will allow you to get out pretty quickly. And I promise you will love this ramen, but if you must, get the Thai Chicken Burger as well. It’s one of the more underrated burgers in town.

**Note** If you’ve been following this food crawl series, you probably noticed something a little different about this one. Yes, you’ll need to utilize your car (or Uber) a few times throughout the evening. No worries, it’s a fairly short distance from place to place … and downtown parking is usually pretty easy on Saturday nights.

Assorted Antipasto ala Vincenzoº at Bruno’s Little Italy (5:15 p.m.)
You’re doing great, but probably getting a tad full, so stay focused and head over to Bruno’s. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so arriving at 5:15-ish is ideal before things get super busy. Sit at the bar and order a glass of red wine and the antipasto (includes cured meats, aged cheeses, olives, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and marinated mushrooms). This is obviously an excellent dish to share with others.

Antipasto at Bruno’s

Dumplings at Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co. (6 p.m.)

You know what sounds great? More food. Did you think I was gonna suggest a downtown food crawl and not include Three Fold? Hell no. Pop in for an order of eight pork steamed dumplings and maybe a bag of taro chips. Much like The Southern Gourmasian, Three Fold’s fast-casual setting makes it ideal for a food crawl.

Dumplings at Three Fold

Snack at Gus’ s Fried Chicken (7 p.m.)

I debated about whether to include Gus’s on this food crawl, but, again, it’s fast, and I do genuinely enjoy their spicy fried chicken. I also feel like it’s another spot that’s easy to get in and out of with relative ease. Don’t overdo it at Gus’s … maybe just a few bites.
Dessert at Capital Bar and Grill (8 p.m.)
Have you ever eaten the banana pudding at CBG? It’s pretty darn delicious and one of our more iconic desserts in Little Rock. Station yourself at the bar, which is also an icon in its own right, and have a cup of coffee with the pudding. It’s a perfect way to end the evening.
Wine at One Eleven (9 p.m.)
Wait! The night isn’t over quite yet. If you still have the energy, walk across the lobby and have a glass of wine at One Eleven’s gorgeous bar.

One Eleven

Congrats! You food crawled downtown! And remember, the idea behind this series is to motivate you to really get out there and experiences a variety of restaurants. I fully understand, for example, that I may have left off some of your favorite downtown eateries on this post. If so, tailor your food crawl to the places you enjoy … and just use this post for inspiration.

Stay tuned for future food crawl posts … with neighborhood suggestions all around Little Rock.

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1 Comment

Ananth November 9, 2017 at 10:32 am

I think the kid sitting behind you in class copied your work and posted it on is blog.

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