Join the farm-to-table movement right here in Little Rock by trying our pick of restaurants whose conscientious chefs are devoted to serving locally produced foods straight from Arkansas sources.
The Bohemian feel of this little restaurant on South Main fits in well with its owners’ philosophy. That is to form personal relationships with farmers and producers, strengthening the local food community and providing the freshest, most delicious ingredients available for customers. “Small farmers tend to be better stewards of the environment,” says co-owner Jack Sundell, “and buying local is good for Arkansas’ economy,” The Root prides itself on asking questions about how their products are grown or raised and passes that transparency on to customers.
Working with around 50 to 60 suppliers throughout the year, the Root offers weekly items including Grass Roots Farmers Cooperative meats, Arkansas Natural Produce spring mix, Mountain Bird coffee and White River Creamery feta cheese. June is tomato time, so stop by this month for gazpacho or an heirloom tomato, corn and basil sandwich before finishing off with their very tasty in-season blackberry cobbler.
This establishment in the Burgundy Hotel is convinced that Arkansas has some of the best produce in the country and is proud to show it off. “We’ve had broccoli that you just wouldn’t believe, it really is the best,” said General Manager Judson Dear. We believe it! Arkansas Natural provides 70 percent of their greens, but it doesn’t end there. Table 28 is committed to locally sourcing all of its meat and, though challenging, it is now working with a Bismarck farm to secure a regular supply of beef – not the easiest local meat to find in Arkansas.
Chef Scott Rains works hard to keep the menu both seasonal and interesting. This month he will be introducing veal frites. “It’s bull testicles – I’m trying to get it local sourced,” he explains. “It’s very mild and delicately flavored. I’m going to prepare it very simply – lightly fried and served with sheep’s milk and herb dressing.” We need no convincing, but for the fainter-hearted, there’s also a cut of steak called rib-eye filet being introduced. “I’m really excited; it’s a new steak that nobody else in Little Rock is serving.”
Now running the show in the Capital Bar & Grill’s kitchen is Chef Marc Guizol, who we understand has brought a great new energy to its team. He previously won the local Diamond Chef competition two years running and is very interested in working with local farmers, placing value on the quality and freshness of the produce, the low carbon footprint and the positive effect it has on the local economy. It also gives him the opportunity to use unique produce like the Arkansas black apple.
So what do we have to look forward to this June? Try the crusted chicken with pecans or grilled zucchini tarts with goat’s cheese. The Capital Bar even uses local herbs in their cocktails. “Using local ingredients and flavors means a great dining experience for the customer.” We couldn’t agree more.
Yellow Rocket Concepts
Here are five restaurants for the price of one! Yellow Rocket Concepts is the parent company of Little Rock favorites such as Big Orange, Local Lime, Heights Taco & Tamale Co., ZAZA Fine Salad & Wood-Oven Pizza and Lost Forty Brewing. It is also 100 percent locally and independently owned and purchases more than a million dollars’ worth of local produce annually. “We work with multiple Arkansan farmers every year, yet they share a common thread of quality of product and a commitment to growing and improving the food resources and food-ways of Arkansas in a responsible Arkansas-forward way,” Marketing Director Amber Brewer says.
And their motto? “Flavor first! The less time between field and plate, the more vibrant the colors, flavors and aromas of each ingredient.” So this June, head down to Big Orange for their Southern-fried chicken picnic sandwich with Phelps Farm heirloom tomato slices, local green tomato and cabbage slaw, and spicy mayo. The calories don’t count if you’re helping a mission to make a positive impact in your own backyard, right?