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Little Rock/Fort Smith Arkansas?

  • j
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Any recommendations on good eating in Fort Smith or Little Rock, or is that an oxymoron?

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  1. It could well be an oxymoron. I posted a similar question about Little Rock over a year ago and got no responses. As far as I know, what you will find will be mostly catfish and hush puppies, or maybe some barbecue places. There ought to be some good food in Little Rock, but maybe nobody there reads Chowhound? I grew up in the area but haven't been back often.

    However, if you ever find yourself in the area of Batesville, about 100 miles north of Little Rock, there is a great place called "BJ's" in a little town called Ash Flat north of Batesville. They have wonderful pork chops with sauteed mushrooms, and great breakfasts. The Meacham family who owns the cafe have been in the meat business for many years, and their meats are very high quality.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Sarah C

      In Van Buren, AR, which is just across the Arkansas River from Ft. Smith, you will find Rolando Cuzco's Cafe Chisme Nuevo Arkansan Cuisine. The hours are strange, and the county is dry, but the food is good. The place is just so idiosyncratic...

      1. re: Jo

        Last I heard, Cafe Cizme in Van Buren had closed due to a divorce but the husband has a new place in Ft. Smith with the same great food (wonder who got the recipes in the property settlement) but with a liquor license. Cafe Chisme was one the most whimsically funky place with some of the best Latin-inspired food I've ever had, rivaling Fontera Grill in Chicago. And the best fresh limeade (bring your own tequila -- instant margarita!) What a shame it closed. I wish the former husband and wife both the best. May they open a restaurant near me!

      2. re: Sarah C

        Well it might be a lack of chowhouders in Arkansas -- I just found the site today. I'll second the plug for Cothams out in Scott, and there is a new Cothams right over by the state Capitol called "Cothams in the City." Big Ol' Feed Trough of Southern Goodness. Try "You're Mommas Good Food" in the downtown area too. We have a few decent coffee shops, notably Community Bakery on Main and Sufficient Grounds in the Hillcrest neighborhood. Also, while you're in Hillcrest, check out Arcadia and Andre's. Loca Luna on Kavanaugh is great too.

        And sweet honey child if you need some BBQ, try "Sims."

        1. re: Sarah C

          No great restaurants in Arkansas? Nothing but hush puppies and catfish? Everyone needs to get real--Arkansas is not the backwater state you may think!

          A VERY short list, in Little Rock only--I'll leave it to others to fill in the rest of the state:

          Boulevard Bread Company on Kavanaugh has the best bread (baguettes, pagnotta, sourdough, etc) this side of San Francisco. Also fabulous pastries, coffee and chai, sandwiches, salads, soups--all made fresh daily, all extraordinary. And, the dinner special each evening is sublime.

          Alouettes just off Rodney Parham Road-- chef/owner Denis Seyer is French, and offers perfect French/Continental cuisine.

          Trio's in Pavilion in the Park is a great bistro with New American food--inventive and delicious.

          None of these believe in "towers of food"--none of that tacky presentation--just quality ingredients prepared perfectly.

          Back to the Southern roots--another suggestion is Charlotte's Tearoom in Scott, Arkansas, which is a farming community near Little Rock. Charlotte's has good food, but the real treat is pie and cake--10 or so choices of each, and the best you've ever tasted.

          1. re: Linda Brown

            A partial rundown of ethnic restaurants in the Little Rock area:

            Casa Manana on Cantrell Rd--excellent Mexican

            Mount Fugi in Breckenridge Village in west LR--truly spectacular sushi & sashimi, the sushi bar is usually full.

            Star of India--the lunch buffett can't be beat. And the owners always know your name.

            Fantastic China in the Heights--my favorite Chinese, love the Szechuan Green Beans

            Tamales--Does Eat Place, downtown. Also the folks who sell the tamales out of the trailer on Kavanaugh Bvld on Saturdays.

            Other restaurants:

            Pizza Chef on Green Mountain Drive--gourmet pizzas

            Acadia on Kavanaugh in Hillcrest, Brave New Restaurant which has moved down along the Arkansas River, & Trios in Pavilion in the Park on Cantrell, Spaule on Kavanaugh in the Heights--all serve New American food, all very good.

            Catfish in Little Rock--Peters Restaurant on 12th St.

            Old Mill Bread Company moving out to Bowman Rd--tropical scones, cranberry pecan bread

            BBQ--Whole Hog Cafe on Cantrell Rd.

            Out of town:

            Russellville off I-40--Whattaburger across from Arkansas Tech, burgers & fries

            On Hwy 65 North just across the Buffalo River on top of the hill on the R going north--Courseys. Get a smoked ham or turkey sandwich, a cold drink, and sit outside on the benches. They sell smoked hams & smoked turkey breasts & will ship nationwide.

          2. re: Sarah C

            There are a couple of restaurants that are quite good in the Little Rock area. (I used to live there & still visit frequently.)
            Both restaurants are in the Hillcrest arrea of town.
            1. Acadia- great food which has a deck which is
            wonderful on comfortable evenings.
            2. The Living Room- Restaurant/ coffee hose with a latin flair and a swanky bar downstairs.

          3. Hi Jack, It depends on what kind of food you are looking for. For Hub Burgers, Catfish, Chicken, Fried Green Tomatoes in Little Rock go to Cothams Store in Scott It's an old building on the bayou, been there for 100 years, it is the best. Take the interstate past the airport (east) and then take the Scott exit turn right, its about 6 miles on your right. It is a must do. For Northern Italian, LaScala in the Heights, there are many great places in the Hillcrest Heights area, just head up Kavanaugh, Juanita's downtown for live Music and great Tex Mex, though Mexico Chiquito has great Salsa, also Brave New Restaurant on Cantrell for great Food, Andre's is always good, The River Market area around Markham has several great new Restaurants. Your Mama's Good Cooking downtown is great for a down home lunch. Doe's Eat Place from Greenville has a LR branch, THE place for steaks. Also a couple of the Memphis Rib joints now have LR branches. You might go to the website for the Arkansas Times (a free weekly) which has the Readers Choice/Best of awards.In the Fort Smith area, a great place is just about 1 hour east is Wiederkehr's in Altus , follow the sign to the Winery, Restaurant is there. They have Swiss/German food. Get the full dinners, they come with the house salad (with their special dressing) and the Swiss Onion Soup. The Matterhorn Schnitzel and the Back Hendel Vienna are great. But I think they are only served on Sundays and at Dinner.In Fort Smith , there aren't many choices, Taliano's for Italian, Juan's for Mexican Food. The Ozark Mountain Smokehouse has great sandwiches. And for an old fashioned Cheesburger White Spot or any of the Porta's Restaurants.Hope this helps.

            1. Momo's Gourmet Restaurant and Bistro (also known as The Silk Road) is the only Fort Smith restaurant equipped to prepare foods according to both halal and kosher dietary laws. They also have vegan and vegetarian options. Their menu includes both traditional Greek and Middle Eastern dishes. The speciality grocery store carries the best (and virtually only) variety of middle eastern foods, including meats and all the spices that are exclusive and necessary for middle eastern and greek cooking. The owner is helpful and friendly, and the prices are on par or less expensive than similar specialty grocery items, and the store itself is just as organized as anything you would find in Tulsa or OKC. An absolute blessing to those of us trying to observe jewish or muslim dietary laws in Fort Smith, and miss eating out at restaurants or cooking traditional foods. (Cross posted as a review on Google Maps, in the hopes that those visiting/moving to our town and looking for Halal/Kosher foods will be able to find them.)