First it was SoMa, then it was The Heights. For the latest installment of the food crawl series, let’s focus on Hillcrest. 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. For a Hillcrest food crawl, I’d recommend parking either on Beechwood or Palm (near Kavanaugh)
  • 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 Hillcrest…

Apps and Cocktails at The Pantry Crest (4 p.m.)

Yes, you read it right … this crawl starts at 4 p.m. so come thirsty and hungry and get your ass ready for an epic evening of food and drinks.

Suggestions: Sit at or near the bar area. No worries, it’s 4 p.m., so chances are you’ll be the only folks in the restaurant and finding seats won’t be a problem. I’d get an order each of Truffled Deviled Eggs and Bacon Wrapped Dates, which are two of the best appetizers in town. Little known fact: I’m pretty sure my wife loves the bacon wrapped dates more than she loves me. Wash everything down with one of The Pantry Crest’s seasonal craft cocktails.

Bacon Wrapped Dates at The Pantry Crest

More Apps and Cocktails at La Terraza (5 p.m.)

You know what’s better than going to a restaurant strictly for apps and drinks? Going to two restaurants strictly for apps and drinks. Fortunately for you, La Terraza is just a stone’s throw from The Pantry Crest.

Suggestions: It’s still early and I doubt La Terraza will be swamped at 5 p.m., so grab a table and order one of the restaurant’s signature mojitos. They’re all delicious, made-to-order, and best consumed with a some arepas and yuca frita.

Mojito at La Terraza

Snack at District Fare (6 p.m.)

Ok, it’s time to really start focusing. Shit is getting serious and anything less than your best will put a dark cloud over the evening. Walk over to District Fare, but hurry up … the place closes at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Suggestions: This is a no-brainer. You have a large group of food lovers. Split the District Charcuterie Board and keep your evening of total food gluttony going strong.

Dinner at Kemuri (7 p.m.)

While you do have the option of making reservations at Kemuri, I highly suggest just walking up and finding a place at their badass bar.

Suggestions: Have some fun … get an order of the beef tenderloin to split as well as a couple of sushi rolls. Heck, get that roll that they set on fire. You’re probably dragging ass at this point, so you could use a little excitement. And yes, I know what you’re thinking … “beef tenderloin at Kemuri?!?” Just trust me on this one.

Sushi at Kemuri

Post Dinner Cheeseburger at Leo’s Greek Castle (8 p.m.)

Shit is getting very real.

Suggestions: Is it the smartest idea to eat a deliciously greasy Leo’s double-patty cheeseburger at this point in the evening? Heck no. But you’ve obviously thrown caution to the wind, so enjoy life and partake in one of Little Rock’s best burgers.

Dessert and Wine at Ciao Baci (9 p.m.)

You’re tired and just need to find a place where everyone knows your name. Ciao Baci is ideal.

Suggestions: Ciao Baci is a perfect place to end the evening. The bar area is fun, welcoming, and has a great selection of wine. See if Chef Owen has a refreshing sorbet on the menu or something a little lighter for dessert.

Dessert at Ciao Baci

Congrats! You food crawled Hillcrest!

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

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