My sweet husband's hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas mixes Southern expectations with cultural eclecticism for every type of traveler. Now capturing the character of the state’s corners and beyond, the capital city brings depth from its riverfront to the hills. Craft beer, culinary standouts and breathtaking walking trails and bridges prove that, yes, Little Rock is much more than cheese dip.
Originally featured in At Home Magazine
NEXT-LEVEL SOUTHERN BREAKFASTS
The hip and happenin’ Hillcrest neighborhood is delivering excellent fare for quick drop-ins or leisurely gatherings. Mornings at Mylo Coffee Co. in Hillcrest instantly elevate the day at hand. Approachable yet mastered pastries—both sweet and savory—line wall to wall with an acclaimed coffee program. If craving a heavier bite, the homemade bagel and lox combo is one of the best in town.
Nearby in “SoMa,” the South of Main neighborhood of Downtown, sits a highly coveted house-turned-café—The Root—whose thirty-minute line reflects its loyalist crowd for weekend breakfasts, especially. Homemade granola, benedicts and plates are prepared with locally and regionally sourced farms and producers. You can taste the authenticity from start to finish.
THE NATURAL STATE
Take advantage of your morning fuel with a hike on Pinnacle Mountain. The mountain offers both a beginners’ slope and advanced course, allowing any and every visitor to reach the top-tier view of The Natural State’s breathtaking topography.
On the Downtown Riverfront, the world-renowned Clinton Library is surrounded with beautiful urban architecture and walking trails. The Clinton Presidential Park Bridge offers a picture-perfect view of the Downtown Little Rock skyline and River Market. The serene Arkansas River carries a breeze to bikers and pedestrians along the path.
Cool off in the Heights with a coconut-dipped popsicle from Le Pops, whose storefront swarms with families and friends of all ages.
BREWS AND BUTCHERS
A must-try lunch: the recently reopened District Fare, which offers a dozen-or-so Italian-style sandwiches, whose ingredients are scripted upon a roll of butcher paper at the café entrance. The modest twelve-top space—with a deli counter of fine cheese and cured meats by the pound—curates upscale Arkansas culinary goods for purchase, from cookbooks to cutlery and spices. To balance the savory, stop across the street at Izard Chocolate for a sample or two.
Lost Forty Brewing Co. marries the best of local craft beer with elevated bar food and snacks in the heart of a warehouse brewery. Its atmosphere instantly invokes community via the long farm tables and ceiling-to-floor glass windows into the brewery production area, which hold regular public tours. The Petit Jean and bacon cheese dip or “rustic meat plate” (also known as a charcuterie board) work wonderfully with a beer flight. Heartier artisan sandwiches and an addictive pimento cheese also grace the menu.
Pantry Crest is the hottest new dinner spot in the Hillcrest neighborhood, inspired by European delicacies through a Southern lens. Czech and German classics—such as expertly prepared Bavarian bratwursts and patés—are paired with rustic dishes from schnitzels to goulash. For those with more traditional palates, the salads, strip and sea bass are delightful. The bustling bar takes its craft cocktails seriously. If you’re out West in Little Rock, not to worry—the original Pantry West location offers a similar menu and style of dining.