It is true that Little Rock residents love national chain restaurants, but that's changing. More and more are supporting local franchises and restaurants. We have the big local places that everyone talks about like Big Orange and Brave New Restaurant, but many smaller restaurants are making their mark too. Here are 10 lesser known places the locals go when they're looking for a good meal.
The Pantry serves consistently good German/Czech comfort food. Everything on the menu is great and most is fresh made. The service is always friendly. Moderately priced, it's located on on 11401 N. Rodney Parham Road.
Izzy's has been a part of the local food movement since before it was a thing. They're well known for their tamales, but sandwiches, pastas and salads are also worth trying. They also have a nice selection of teas. They were also one of the first in Little Rock to offer gluten free and vegan menus.
Arthur's is a little out of the way so out-of-towners (and less adventurous locals) rarely hear about it. Local foodies know it's one of the best fine dining establishments in Little Rock. They serve prime veal, kobe beef and other fine cuts of meat. Service is impeccable. As expected, they are a bit pricey.
Technically, in North Little Rock, those looking for authentic Mexican food would be well advised to cross the river for Rosalinda. Technically, the owners are Hondurean. If you've never had it, Honduean food is fresh and light, but there are some familiar items. Great prices, but the service can be a little spotty.
Most of Little Rock's best BBQ restaurants are "hidden." Most non-locals hit Doe's or Whole Hog. Those two are ok, but we have a few other great places. HB's is one of the better ones, and it's hidden away in a residential neighborhood in a house. You can have anything you want, as long as it's chopped pork or beef (sometimes ribs). Inexpensive. They only take cash.
Greek restaurants are popping up all over Little Rock, but the best of the is Layla's. If you like gyros or shawarma, this is the place. The great, friendly service and knowledgable staff make every meal enjoyable. Prices are inexpensive.
The name sounds Italian, but the food is not. It's Mediterranean inspired with a seasonal menu that features some local foods. The calamari is quite good here, as is most of the seafood. They have one of the better wine lists in Little Rock. The atmosphere is also nice. It's located in what used to be a house. Can be pricey.
For the vegetarians who would not appreciate number 9 on the list, nothing beats the Root Cafe. They aren't vegetarian, but they do have lots of vegetarian items to choose from. They call themselves a local cafe, and the menu and atmosphere fit. Most of their menu items, including their meats, are locally sourced. Moderately priced and only open for lunch.