Lost in Little Rock
August 27, 2005 3:49 PM   Subscribe

I've just moved to Little Rock, Arkansas but my tastes have been corrupted by the East Coast. Help me find businesses that cater to such predilections.

I have been spoiled by living in places with Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, fancy spas, and awesome ethnic food. Can someone with Little Rock experience help me find the following:
-A butcher shop that sells a wide variety of meats (duck, venison, etc.)
-A imported cheese shop
-A vendor of organic food (something with more selection than the Kroger on Polk)
-A salon that does trendy modern haircuts/waxing
-Tasty ethnic restaurants for those Thai/Indian/sushi/etc. cravings. I love BBQ, but I'm looking for variety.
posted by amber_dale to Shopping (10 answers total)
A few minutes' googling gets you:

Houston Chronicle article about market district, includes info about Ottenheimer Market Hall and a fresh produce market.

Siam Restaurant.

Japanese restaurants.

Organic food.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:41 PM on August 27, 2005

I was hoping for personal recommendations.
posted by amber_dale at 9:14 PM on August 27, 2005

I lived in Little Rock for 6 years, but haven't lived there for 10, so my choices might be a little dated. I'll try anyway, though. ;-)

Organic food supermarket: I think Beans and Grains and Things is now a Wild Oats Market, but it's been the best place to go for organic food since, oh, forever. I believe it's still on Rodney Parham Rd in west Little Rock.

Salon: I'd send you to my stylist but he's gone now. There are several nice salons on and around Kavanaugh and Cantrell, in the Heights. The Heights is the place for all things stylish/couture/self-indulgent. I remember hearing good things about the Riverwalk Salon/Spa. And by all means, go to Hot Springs for a bath and massage; you haven't lived until you've done that.

Butcher: If I were you, I'd ask at BGT/Wild Oats for recommendations. There are zillions of hunters in the LR/NLR area, especially duck and deer hunters, and you're bound to run into one of them pretty soon; you could also just ask a hunter who his butcher is. They'll point you in the right direction.

Ethnic restaurants: I remember a Thai restaurant somewhere around the intersection of Shackelford and Markham, again in west Little Rock. There's a Shogun (teppanyaki) on Cantrell in the Heights, and a sushi bar on Rodney Parham (can't remember the name, but it's in a shopping center with several buildings). If you like Mexican food, do not miss Juanita's. Juanita's is the place I miss most about Little Rock.

Cheese: Sorry, can't help. You could take a day trip up to the Wiederkehr Winery in Altus and see what they say. There's always Jason's Deli, but I don't think that's quite what you're seeking.

Little Rock isn't NYC, but it's not a tiny town with one dirt road and no stoplights either. After you've been there a while, I think you'll be surprised at the things you can find. Sometimes I wish I still lived there. I have only good memories of our time there. Good luck and welcome to the south!
posted by lambchop1 at 11:49 PM on August 27, 2005

I grew up in Little Rock and still visit the place about once a year.

My info is probably out of date but I'll give it a shot anyways...

I don't remember specific stores, but I do remember the Heights / Hillcrest area was one of the best places to find small stores with specialty items. Was also the best place to find good salons. There was one which was very east (or west) coast: everyone in all black, offered the customers wine, had an eastern / Buddhist-esque name.

The Geyer Springs area is mostly low-end suburbs (unless they've gentrified lately) but I remember some interesting ethnic stores in the strip malls there, due to the low rents.

When I was there, the rest of the burbs were pretty much a wasteland.

Don't know if you do much in the way of nightlife, but I'd highly recommend Vino's at 9th and Chester, which has a great selection of live music from local and regional bands. Discovery is the best (only?) gay bar with a great drag show on weekends.

You've probably already explored the River Market so there's not much I could add. I wish that district had been there when I was growing up. Great beer bar, a few other nice shops but still felt a bit limited to me.

Hope you'll check out the Arkansas Arts Center if you haven't already. The gallery is small but, when I was there, the museum was fairly adventurous and definitely worth visiting.

Anyways, I've been pretty useless in my advice, but at least I hope I've given you some areas to explore. I hope you'll post back with your Little Rock experiences. Its rare for me to run across someone who is there and I'd love to hear more.
posted by pandaharma at 11:49 PM on August 27, 2005

My girlfriend and I grew up in Little Rock (she in Hillcrest, me in Sherwood). We can second the Beans and Grains and Things Wild Oats recommendation for organic food. Also, the farmer's market down at the River Market.

For a butcher, check out Burge's on R Street in the Heights. They are mostly a ham and turkey place, but they do have smoked duck and I bet they could get anything else - or at least tell you who has it.

Imported cheese? Good luck. Let us know if you find anything.

For a salon, as mentioned, the Heights and Hillcrest (gf had good experiences at both new ones ~ Kavanaugh and Spruce) are again your best bet, although the names seem to change frequently.

Ethnic restaurants: check the restaurant listings in the Arkansas Times or the Weekend section of the Demozette. Nothing comes to mind for Thai or Indian. For Chinese, we like Fu Lin on Bowman in west LR or Fantastic China in the Heights. We think the sushi place lambchop1 mentions is Mt Fuji, which is in the Breckenridge Village shopping center.

Other things worth mentioning: Community Bakery on Main St, The Villa for Italian food, Trio's on Cantrell, and WordsWorth Books in the Heights for your independent bookseller. We second Juanita's - it's also a live music venue. My gf's mom is a dentist in Hillcrest and obviously comes very higly recommended.

You can email my username at gmail for more questions. Good luck - we hope you enjoy living in Little Rock.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 7:17 AM on August 28, 2005

A cool record store is Anthropop. It's small, but very neat.

Yeah, Vino's is cool. I have fond memories of that place. They have the best veggie pizza I've ever had.
posted by geekhorde at 5:55 PM on August 28, 2005

Typing this from my office in LR.

As above - in fact I grab lunch at Wild Oats pretty much every day.

I'm not much of a night-life/dining out guy, but:

India Star in WLR is a good place for Indian .... and for some reason I'm drawing a blank on other ethnic eateries. Read the Arkansas Times every week, they do a good restaurant review in there. Go down to the River Market for various good times. Granpa's out by the NLR airport has the best catfish.

There's a couple of farmer's markets, including the one by River Market that's good for produce.

Studio Jonathan Kent is a pretty trendy salon, but I'm balding and may not be your best source on that one.
posted by Elvis at 9:27 AM on August 29, 2005

Wow, this is almost my exact situation. In October, I'm moving back to [North] Little Rock after spending the last 10 years in NYC. Many thanks for all the recommendations - they jibe with everything I remember from growing up there.

In North Little Rock there's Crazy Hibachi which features some tasty sushi and a Mongolian grill. My brother was a bartender there for awhile and vouches for the place.

That's all I can offer at the moment - looking forward to (re)discovering more!
posted by gsalad at 5:25 AM on September 2, 2005

In case anyone happens upon this old thread:
River Market, or Hogg's, for a butcher shop. River Market or Wild Oats or the Heights Kroger for cheese. Wild Oats or Heights Kroger or River Market farmer's market for organic food. Ethnic restaurants: Star of India, Hacienda, Lilly's Dimsum Thensome, Thai Siam, etc.
posted by box at 11:45 AM on December 22, 2005

Fu Lin and Mt. Fuji, too. Bosco's or Vino's for brewpubs, too.
posted by box at 11:46 AM on December 22, 2005

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