The western reaches of the capital city are a haven for many. There's room to expand and develop, spacious homes, lots of shopping and even more nature to explore by foot, by bike and by water.
But we'll say it. West Little Rock gets a bad rap for being the land of franchises and chains. However, if you know where to look, you'll find just as much local flavor as anywhere in the city.
Although it's been open for more than 40 years and has amassed an almost cult-like following, this restaurant still manages to feel like a hidden gem. The dining room holds just a handful of tables, which fill up fast on weekends. They only serve breakfast, brunch and lunch, offering up scrumptious favorites like their signature pancakes topped with strawberries and pecans or the parmesan chicken croissant sandwich. Just don't be surprised if you see a line outside. Trust us, it's worth the wait.
Guillermo's Gourmet Coffee
The coffee scene in WLR may be dominated by Starbucks, but this cozy cafe has been serving up local goodness for more than a decade. The menu covers everything from classic pour-overs and herbal teas to seasonal flavors and daily specials. Guillermo's also roasts their own coffee in-house, so you can take home a fresh bag to hold you over until your next visit.
Petit & Keet
Bucking the strip mall trend, this stylish locale has been popular with locals since it opened in 2017. The menu is flexible enough to offer fine dining for a special occasion or simply a chic happy hour. If you want a classic taste of Petit & Keet that's also on trend, opt for their famous crab cakes alongside a seasonal wine flight while relaxing by the fire pit in the outdoor lounge.
Sauce(d) Bar & Oven
Italian fare and artisan cocktails await at this Neapolitan pizza restaurant. Here, local ingredients and subtle, but deliberate modifications elevate classics like meatballs and wood-fired pizza to gourmet level dishes. For sipping, the house sangria is always refreshing and the seasonal blackberry basil mule is perfect for fall.
Another standalone favorite that has long called west Little Rock home, Capers is best known for its fantastic patio and impeccable wine list, which landed the restaurant a Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence for more than a decade running. If you're in a pinch, swing by The Market at Capers located in the back of the restaurant for fresh, "gourmet-to-go" dishes.
The Promenade at Chenal
Known largely as a hub for popular chains like Anthropologie and Lululemon, The Promenade is also home to a handful of local businesses. One must-shop is Fringe, the boutique that recently moved from its River Market location into a much bigger space that holds much more fashion. And don't skip the back wall, which features a surprising variety of colorful rugs for sale. To treat your skin, pop into Belle & Blush (shown above) and shop their extensive lineup of skincare, makeup and gifts.
Pleasant Ridge Town Center
Yes, the strip of Cantrell Road this center sits on is currently a mess of construction, but it's worth the bit of extra navigational effort. Here you can shop the latest fashions from locals like Scarlet (shown above) and Beyond Cotton, home decor from Howse and Cobblestone & Vine and stunning pieces from Roberson's Fine Jewelry. A favorite afternoon activity in the center is perusing original works by local artists such as James Hayes and Virmarie DePoyster in The Art Group Gallery.
Just a few steps from the neighborhood shopping centers, west Little Rock is also a bonafide playground for lovers of the outdoors. Pinnacle Mountain and Rattlesnake Ridge offer hikers unparalleled views of central Arkansas, while the wide, paved paths at Two Rivers Bridge and park are perfect for families, pets and even picnic enthusiasts.
If you're looking to see the city in a new light, rent a kayak from Rock Town River Outfitters and catch a sunset on the water, or explore the new mountain bike trail system at River Mountain Park and children's bike skills track.
SEE MORE OF