You might think being stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base your food choices would be limited, but you’d be wrong! Despite being located in a relatively rural area, the local restaurant menus are surprisingly diverse and best of all, pleasing to almost every palette.
#1 If you’ve never had a fried pie, now is your chance! The Original Fried Pie Shop on White Drive in Jacksonville has a pie for every taste. In the mood for something savory? Try the Bar-B-Que Chopped Beef Brisket fried pie. For dessert, bite into a fried fruit pie. You have your choice of fresh fillings such as apple, cherry, or pecan in a buttery, flaky crust. If you are not in the mood for a fried pie, the fresh ground brisket burger and hand-cut fries are also favorites of the locals.
#2 If you are looking for an authentic southern menu, look no further than Smokin’ Buns BBQ and Catfish. Located just five miles north of Little Rock AFB on Route 107, this delicious menu features uniquely southern foods such as fried catfish, BBQ ribs, corn on the cob, baked beans, fried green tomatoes, and hushpuppies. They boast they have something to satisfy any craving.
#3 Military families will feel right at home at The Hook Catfish Restaurant. This family-owned business is about 12 minutes south of the base. Fans say the food is always hot and fresh and the military décor is also a hit with locals. While The Hook is known for its catfish dishes, there are also burgers and chicken sandwiches on the menu for those who do eat seafood.
#4 If you are looking for a quick bite and something other than the standard southern fare, check out Jacob’s Wings & Grill on JFK Boulevard in North Little Rock. In addition to a wide variety of sauces for their wings, the menu offers delicious Greek fare such as lamb or chicken gyros, pitas, and wraps. And if you have someone less adventurous with you, they also offer hamburgers, cheesesteaks, and stuffed baked potatoes.
#5 In the mood for some Italian? You’ll be taking home doggie bags after visiting the Roma Italian Restaurant on North First Street in Jacksonville. Large portions are a hallmark of the menu featuring Ravioli Florentine, Pasta Primavera, Eggplant Rollatini, and Shrimp Napoloni. There is also pizza, calzones, strombolis, and salads for those looking for lighter fare.
#6 In the mood for something a little different? Try Pho And More serving Asian and Vietnamese food on South Jeff Davis Ave in Jacksonville. Fried rice, sushi, Vietnamese noodle soup, and beef, chicken or shrimp vermicelli bowls top the menu.
#7 Some call it the best barbeque in Arkansas. The Whole Hog Café on Cantrell Road in Little Rock offers pulled chicken, pulled pork, and brisket sandwiches. Baby-back ribs, coleslaw, and baked beans round out this totally southern menu.
#8 If you are out for a drive and get a hankering from something sweet head south for about 30 minutes to Charlotte’s Eats & Sweets, located on Main Street in Keo, this restaurant offers a blast from the past. Set in a historic pharmacy building complete with an old walnut soda fountain, the menu includes salads, burgers, shakes, sundaes, malts; homemade pies, and cakes. The coconut pie was selected as one of the top pies in the South by Southern Living Magazine readers.
#9 Looking for a delicious cookie? Make like a Cookie Monster and head to Kris & Sam’s Cookie Store & More. This super sweet menu offers a wide selection of cookies, brownies, chocolate-covered strawberries, and cake balls. If you are looking for a little something to eat before dessert, they also offer a healthy lunch menu to include chicken salad sandwiches, fresh salads, and original wraps.
#10 Local and fresh mark the popular Loblolly Creamery located in the SOMA District of downtown Little Rock. Loblolly features at least 30 flavors of ice cream daily! They partner with local farms, gardens, and businesses to source the best possible ingredients. They also offer eight flavors, which are vegan and dairy-free. It is the perfect way to end a meal when out and about in Little Rock.
The area surrounding Little Rock is not a huge metropolitan area but there truly is something to please any taste bud! Just take your time, look around, and don’t overlook some of the smaller, out-of-the-way places to eat. Bon appetite!
Written by: Carla Olivo