Little Rock Nine statues at Arkansas State Capitol

When looking for a new favorite restaurant, artist or yoga studio, it's important to spend your dollars with intentionality as best you can. If you're doing just that — or want a tangible way to honor Black History Month in our community — explore the local history, heritage and modern-day offerings of these Black-owned businesses in the capital city.

EAT

Lassis catfish

It's no surprise we're starting this list with Lassis Inn. The robin's egg blue restaurant off of I-30 is one of the city's most iconic spots, and has been since it was opened in 1905 by Joe and Molassis Watson. Known for its fried catfish and buffalo fish ribs, as well as its role in the civil rights movement of the 1950s-60s, Lassis Inn took home an America's Classics Award from the James Beard Foundation in 2020.

To start your day, however, we suggest a stop at The Grind Coffee Bistro. With locations in Pettaway and WLR's Pleasant Ridge Town Center, this cozy cafe serves up tasty coffee and pastries, plus full breakfast and lunch menus, Sunday brunch and vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.

If you're craving Southern food, you'll find no shortage in the metro. Downtown Little Rock's Rock City Kitchen puts a fresh take on all-American favorites (don't miss the Wednesday wings special), while Lindsey’s BBQ & Hospitality House in North Little Rock is a must for its award-winning traditional barbecue and sides. And yes, CeCi's is still the reigning chicken and waffles champion from her food truck on South University Avenue.

For your sweet tooth, go all in with decadent treats from Cheesecake on Point in flavors like brown butter pecan, strawberry crumble and German chocolate. Pick up full, mini or cupcake-sized cheesecakes at the brick-and-mortar location on West Markham or track down the food truck around the city.

Bonus: More of a home chef? Stock up on fresh ingredients from K. Hall and Sons Produce.

SWEAT & RESET

Between all those amazing meals, make time to move your body. A Kick Above offers private and group sessions in a traditional gym setting, and can even send you home with a customized nutrition plan. For more heart-pumping action, schedule a specialized, one-on-one session with trainer Tina Glass at Results Studio LR or get out some aggression at Straightright Boxing & Fitness.

If you prefer your workouts with a little more zen, Sarah Thomas Pilcher, the yogi and Lululemon ambassador behind 365 Yoga Dream, leads meditation and yoga sessions both virtually and at studios around the metro. Want something new? Try a yoga session at Eden Salt Studio where the dry salt therapy rooms are designed to recharge body and mind.

Tori Jones, Eden Salt Studio


LEARN

Art by Kevin Cole

In our opinion, broadening the mind should have its place in every exploration. A favorite spot to do that is Hearne Fine Art and its companion businesses next door Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing. Set in the historic Dunbar neighborhood, the gallery and shop showcase Black art, culture and thought, as well as host events and programs for the community.


Shifting our gaze to the past, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center on Broadway and Ninth streets was founded to “preserve, interpret and celebrate African American history and culture in Arkansas.” The center, which charges no admission, regularly features new exhibits and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition a museum can receive.

FROM HOME

As the pandemic rolls on and case rates fluctuate, we continue to find ways to keep safe social distance and keep ourselves occupied in the process.

Curling up on the couch is made infinitely better with a copy of "Beasts of Prey" in hand, the instant New York Times bestseller by Little Rock author Ayana Gray that is currently being adapted for film by Netflix.

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More often than we'd like to admit, staying home turns into online shopping. While you're adding to cart, make sure to include a piece from Know Purpose, whose minimalistic graphic tees and sweatshirts add a needed dose of encouragement to each day

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For some out-of-the-house exploring, try the Little Rock Civil Rights Tour, a self-guided tour that includes stops at Central High, Taborian Hall, First Missionary Baptist Church, the Daisy Bates House and more. Find it at littlerock.com/tours.

Little Rock Nine statues at Arkansas State Capitol