1. The Pantry Crest
Like its sister restaurant to the west, The Pantry Crest delivers delicious rustic European dishes like lasagna al forno, grilled house made bratwurst, goulash beef stew (the editor-in-chief’s favorite), and wiener schnitzel. It opened in October and owner Tomas Bohm’s second location seems destined to create a loyal Hillcrest neighborhood fan base through consistent service and an unpretentious yet sophisticated atmosphere. “The Hillcrest neighborhood is very homey and has such a European village feel to it,” says Bohm. This is why The Pantry Crest already fits right in.
Where: 722 N. Palm St. :: Hours: Monday-Saturday 4 p.m.-12 a.m.
Dish to get: Stock Pot
2. Good Food by Ferneau/Butcher & Public
Two eateries in one space? Yes, please. Welcome to Good Food by Ferneau and Butcher & Public (the former space of Argenta Market) in North Little Rock’s Argenta District. This is longtime Little Rock chef Donnie Ferneau’s first restaurant since leaving Rocket 21 nearly two years ago. It features an open and wonderfully modern space which also houses Butcher & Public, a hand-crafted Arkansas meats butchery created by Travis McConnell. Good Food offers a wide variety of healthy eating menu options like roasted mushroom flatbread with feta and power greens, a pork burrito bowl with black beans and cashew chicken with vegetables and brown rice, to name a few. Prepared to-go meals are ready to grab from the case.
Where: 521 Main St., NLR :: Hours: Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Additional hours for Good Food by Ferneau: Friday-Saturday 6 p.m.-10 p.m.
Dish to get: Veggie bowl with fried egg
Just a few blocks over from The Pantry Crest is Kemuri. Specializing in three components — robota, sushi and seafood entrees — Kemuri’s new Asian menu offers patrons a truly unique dining experience, the likes of which have never been seen before in Little Rock. “I think of it as an Asian gastropub. In Japan they call them izakaya. We’re a place for friends, family or co-workers to come and enjoy a wide range of small plate morsels to some of the finest sushi in the city. Then, for your hungry side, I would like to think we have some of the most exquisite menu items in the state,” says head chef Greg Wallis.
Where: 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd.
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m-2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.-
9:30 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.-11 p.m.;
Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday 4:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Dish to get: Yellowtail appetizer
4. The Pizzeria at Terry’s Finer Foods
You just can’t help but feel at home inside one of the Heights’ newest eateries — The Pizzeria at Terry’s Finer Foods. Owners Jeremy and Jacqueline Pittman serve up wood fire-baked, Neapolitan-style pizzas, along with calzones, fresh salads, and sweet desserts in a cozy and charming setting reflective of the neighborhood it calls home. What the restaurant lacks in space, it makes up for in hospitality, great food and a bar featuring a variety of craft beers and signature cocktails.
Where: 5018 Kavanaugh Blvd.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 5 p.m-midnight
Dish to get: The Pop Supreme Pizza
JUST GETTING STARTED
With the recent opening of kBird, the Hillcrest neighborhood welcomes yet another restaurant into an already impressive fold. This food truck turned brick-and-mortar, now offers up authentic Thai cuisine dishes like pad Thai, green curry chicken, and Thai fried rice with tofu.
Where: 600 N. Tyler St.
6. Pint & Pantry at Lost Forty Brewing
Fear not, the latest creation from Yellow Rocket Concepts has arrived, and it comes in the form of beer and bites. Time to get hoppy. “The Pint and Pantry at Lost Forty is a tap room whose primary function is to introduce Lost Forty craft beer to everyone in a welcoming, approachable environment with delicious items served to complement and enhance the beer offerings. Though a few of our menu items will certainly eat like a meal, the focus is on snacking, sharing, and small bites to enjoy while watching a game, a movie, playing a board game, cards or just hanging out,” says Yellow Rocket Concepts brand manager and marketing director Amber Brewer.
Where: 501 Byrd St.
7. Three Fold Noodle and Dumpling Co.
Three Fold Noodle and Dumpling Co. is set to officially open downtown this month, with the restaurant drawing its flavors from the various regions of China. Diners should expect a menu filled with dishes like steamed buns, Sichuan noodles and handmade dumplings and wontons. “Three Fold’s menu is made with high-quality ingredients and a focus on freshness and affordability to demonstrate that quick-service food doesn’t have to lack in flavor or quality. All of our products are prepared daily using traditional Chinese ingredients and freshly made dumplings and sauces,” says Rebecca Yan, director of business development.
Where: 215 Center St.
8. The Southern Gourmasian
The Southern Gourmasian, the wildly popular food truck specializing in Southern and Asian fusion, now has its sights set on a brick-and-mortar location in downtown Little Rock. Owner and chef Justin Patterson will bring his spicy chicken and dumplings, pulled pork steamed buns, and shrimp and grits to an already adoring fan base of loyal customers.
Where: 219 W. Capitol Ave.
9. Damgoode Pies (River Market)
Lovers of Little Rock staple Damgoode Pies should be excited about the upcoming opening of its River Market location (formerly Boscos). “The primary difference will, of course, be the brewery. We hope to create a haven for the local beer brewing community. The current plan will leave several serving tanks open for guest/collaboration taps,” says owner Jeff Trine. He continues, “We are also really excited about our quick service slice bar concept. It will use the old Bosco’s pizza oven and the bar that surrounds it to take care of the folks that are looking for a quick bite.”
Where: 500 President Clinton Ave.
10. Heights Taco & Tamale Co.
Early February is the opening date for the much anticipated Heights Taco & Tamale Co. (former Browning’s Mexican Grill location). “At Heights Taco & Tamale Co., we aim to bring you delicious Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes with an infusion of Arkansas traditions, Arkansas culture, and Arkansas ingredients,” says Yellow Rocket Concepts brand manager and marketing director Amber Brewer.
Where: 5805 Kavanaugh Blvd.
11. Piro Brick Oven & Barroom
Come mid-January, the SoMa District will welcome Piro Brick Oven & Barroom. “We will be offering 12-inch brick oven pizzas done in a blend of New York and Neapolitan styles. We will be using only high quality ingredients, sourcing local as often as possible. The menu will consist of pizzas, salads, a few sandwiches and an assortment of appetizers ranging from charcuterie boards and beef carpaccio to vegetarian options such as eggplant caponata,” says operating partner Jason Neidhardt. Expect a wide range of beers and wines to also be served up in a relaxed atmosphere.
Where: 1318 South Main St.