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Eating Arkansas

Tradition holds firm throughout the state when it comes to eating and dining out. But things are changing as Arkansas chefs in urban centres are taking the traditional farm-to-table ethos in new directions and bringing modern sensibilities to their craft.


Place: Arkansas
Month: June
Traveller: Susie Ellison

European Style

At The Pantry and Pantry West in Little Rock chef Tomas Bohm pays homage to his Czech roots with house-made charcuterie and at classic European dishes made from scratch with a focus on local ingredients.

La Dolce Vita

In Little Rock’s historic Hillcrest District Ciao Baci is a charming bungalow restaurant with a New American Fusion menu. Dishes such as duck carnitas with grits and seared scallops over risotto of Arkansas rice, a beautiful strawberry shortcake with in-season berries.

Downtown Elegance

Petit and Keet is a polished casual restaurant and bar in Little Rock with a sleek black, white and red décor and a locavore menu. Pecan-crusted chicken and the crispy Brussels sprouts app recommended.

Terrace Views

42 Bar and Table at the Clinton Library in Little Rock has a lovely terrace, particularly at cocktail hour with a view of the lighted pedestrian bridge, and sophisticated menus for brunch, lunch and dinner.

Top Shelf

Allsopp & Chapple is a classy spot housed in a historic former bookstore in downtown Little Rock. A monster meatball app, a toothsome ribeye steak with a crawfish tomato Creole sauce and smashing cocktails make a very fine night.

Local Brews and Bites

In Little Rock the White River Pizza with ricotta lemon cream, artichoke hearts and fresh thyme steals the show at Lost Forty Brewing, where you’ll also find a unique line-up of craft brews.

Good Earth

Shabby chic is the vibe at The Root Cafe, housed in a shack with tacked-on shipping containers. Dreamsicle Pie, Brown Sugar bread Pudding and the Pimento Cheeseburger recommended.

Bricks and Brews

The historic Adelaide Hall building in Fort Smith is now home to an outpost of Oklahoma-based Bricktown Brewery. The signature Old King Kölsch craft brew and towering Bleu Ribbon Burger with sweet peppered bacon, crispy onions and a blue cheese sauce, outstanding.

Best for Steak

Another marvellous historic building in Fort Smith houses Doe’s Eat Place, temple of premium hand-cut steaks and Delta tamales. The stone edifice was originally a German brewery built in 1848 that supplied 37 saloons in the town.

Family Style Italian

Family-owned Taliano’s Italian Restaurant in Fort Smith delivers massive helpings of authentic Italian classics in a grand historic mansion. Veal with artichokes, sundried tomatoes and a cream sauce, and chicken piccata recommended.

Eureka Springs

Turn back time with dinner in the Crystal Dining Room at the 1886 Crescent Hotel, with a pianist tickling the ivories and a menu of updated Italian classics paired with an award-winning wine list. Make the signature dip Crab Lorenzo.

Bentonville Buzz

The Hive, located within the art-filled 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville, features Chef Micah Klasky’s elevated, locally sourced Arkansas fare. Housemade charcuterie and dishes featuring grains from the historic War Eagle Mill stand out. Try the Hive’s Homemade Spam.

Arkansas Original

Conifer is a beautiful space in Bentonville with a superbly executed seasonally changing, farm-to-table menu by Chef Mathew Cooper. All dishes are gluten-free.


Museum Quality

Eleven Restaurant at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville features floor-to-ceiling windows, a shinyheart sculpture by Jeff Koons and a menu of modern American comfort food – Hot Chicken Sandwich and Peppadew Cheese Melt recommended.

State Bird

It’s a casual spot in a Fayetteville strip mall but Mockingbird Kitchen has gained national recognition for Chef Chrissy Sanderson’s interpretation of modern Ozark cuisine.

Fine Dining

Theo’s is an upscale bar and restaurant in Fayetteville with creative mixology and a fine dining menu of contemporary American cuisine. Sophisticated ambience, food and service.

Nuevo Latino

For a change of pace, Rolando’s Restaurante offers updated home-style dishes from Central and South America in a cheery hospitable Fayetteville setting.