Little Rock, Arkansas offers visitors many ways to sample the flavors of the city. While the restaurant scene is flourishing, we found that there are some other unique options where you can discover amazing tastes. Our visit only covered about three days, but you will see that during that period we uncovered a wide variety of eats.
We want to thank the Little Rock CVB and its businesses for their hospitality. Rest assured that all opinions are our own.
The Root Cafe
One of the key restaurants that we planned to visit was The Root Cafe. This locally owned and operated eatery is making waves on a big scale. Our original scheduled time slot was bumped due to the opportunity for them to be featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. While we were a bit disappointed in missing this chance, it worked out later in our schedule. Boy were we glad that we could reschedule. This place makes even a standard meal taste special. Definitely a stop you will want to add when you sample the flavors of Little Rock on your vacation. (Read more about Root Cafe here.)
Another unexpected surprise was our stop at Nexus Coffee & Creative. Our itinerary had it as one of two breakfast options, before a visit to the local farmer’s market. Since it was just across the street, we popped in for a quick visit. What we found there was another local favorite. The menu is simple, but filled with protein rich choices that offer plenty of fuel for a morning of exploring. The coffee was magnificent and roasted in-house. (Read more about Nexus Coffee here.)
With our coffee fix satiated, it was time to explore the Farmer’s Market. We love visiting this style of local shopping, as it gives us a chance to meet plenty of residents from around the area. The colors, smells, and flavors of the market were intoxicating. This visit certainly brightened up our Saturday morning. We are pretty sure that some of the local restaurants make routine visits to the market to find special ingredients to add to their menus.
We found such a variety of tastes that we were unable to include articles on every one of them. Before our visit, we reach out to the resident foodies to gather suggestions on places to eat. This is a tip that we use regularly, since the locals will know the dining landscape. We spent a good portion of time in the River Market neighborhood, which included a visit to the Little Rock River Market. This food hall is designed like a food court, and filled with many choices, like David’s Burgers. This Arkansas chain has some juicy burgers and sweet ice cream treats.
Boulevard Bread Company
Another local chain, that’s making a mark on the Little Rock foodie scene, is Boulevard Bread Company. Located in the SOMA District (South Main), this “green” friendly eatery was a lower calorie choice. They are known for their fresh salads and sandwiches, as well as delicious baked goods. It’s a great option when you’re ready for a break from heavier foods. More good flavors to sample in Little Rock.
While we were in SOMA, we found a neat little ice cream shop a couple of doors from Boulevard Bread Co. When we stepped inside Loblolly Creamery, the first thing that caught our attention was the staff in the process of making fresh cones. After looking closer, we also found an interesting variety of small batch ice cream flavors made from scratch. Everything about this ice cream shop screamed handcrafted goodness. Glad we stumbled across this place. After all, what’s life without a few sweet treats?
One of the most highly anticipated stops on our itinerary was Big Orange. This is one of those rare spots that combines delicious flavors and picture-perfect plates all at a pocketbook friendly price. The presentation was so good looking that we hated to dive in, but we did anyway. You don’t come all this way not to sample the flavors of this hip eatery. (Read more about Big Orange here.)
With our downtown lodging nearby, our dinner meals were focused in the River Market area. It’s rare that we would spend three days in a destination, without sampling some local pizza at least once. Just off the Riverwalk is a series of businesses that line President Clinton Avenue. This section of the city is filled with dining, shopping, and entertainment venues. Damgoode Pies uses fresh ingredients that they prepare each day. They cook their own meats, make their sauce daily, and even brew their own craft beers. Like many of the flavors we sampled in Little Rock, freshness was the key.
Stickyz Rock N Roll Chicken Shack
Another River Market find was Stickyz Rock-N-Roll Chicken Shack. This restaurant and local entertainment venue definitely had the longest name of any we visited. The interior is an unending cornucopia of colors for the eyes. Vivid artwork and interesting seating options added an extra level of fun to our visit. We would have loved dropping back later in the evening for some live music, but it didn’t line up with our schedule. (Read more about Stickyz here.)
Willy D’s Rock N Roll Piano Bar
While we missed the concert at Stickyz, live entertainment was not going to elude us. Willy D’s Rock-N-Roll Piano Bar is one of those dueling piano places, where the crowd is encouraged to be engaged. It was fun to unwind and sing along with so many familiar songs.
Sampling The Flavors of Little Rock
Like most large metropolitan cities, Little Rock offers too many dining options to even make a dent in three days. This is one of the reasons we will focus our attention on a specific district, which is usually the downtown. We are finding that many cities are seeing a revival in their downtown areas, which allows us to find a higher concentration of businesses within walking distance. Our search to sample the flavors of Little Rock was easily accomplished, with all of these options nearby. Little Rock proved to be a memorable destination, with two of their restaurants making our TOP 10 Eats list for 2018. Big Orange was one that would have held the 11th position, if our list would have gone that far. Clearly Little Rock is a premier foodie city. (See all of our Top 10 Eats of 2018 here.)