Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shorty Small's stands big and tall for brunch

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 10:09 AM

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After my lackluster brunch last week, I made it my mission to find some good Sunday breakfast food in this town. A friend of mine suggested Shorty Small's, a regional chain that I've always associated more with mammoth cheese sticks and cheep beer than eggs and sausage. Having been assured that brunch at Shorty's was worth it (even beyond the $0.99 mimosas), I headed over to Rodney Parham once again with high hopes for brunch.

First things first: Shorty Small's is an excellent place for folks in need of a pick-me-up brunch after a late Saturday night. The interior is easy on the eyes, with low lights and dark wood shielding the sensitive from the harsh light of day. Fans of taking a dose of the hair of the dog that bit them will find some excellent options here, from the aforementioned mimosas to $4.99 bottles of champagne to a selection of respectable Bloody Mary's starting at $2.99 and increasing in price and spice from there. These good deals are available along with the normal selection of beer and mixed drinks and are sure to soothe the raging beast hanging over from the night before.

As for food, my recommendation is to go with one of the Eggs Benedict variations on the menu — in particular the so-called Southern Benedict. This massive plate of food takes a buttermilk biscuit, adds a couple of patties of pork sausage, tops that with two perfectly poached eggs, then covers the lot in white gravy. Rich gravy mixes with the creamy egg yolks, firm whites, spicy sausage and fluffy biscuit to make every bite a piping hot joy to taste. And while the mountainous pile of egg and sausage is the star of the plate, the side dishes are pretty good, too: a fresh fruit salad gives a hint of healthiness to a plate that also includes a cheesy, greasy hash brown casserole and a hot, gooey honey bun. It's definitely too much food for one person, and exactly the right amount of food for a hungry brunch-goer.

Less successful, however, was the second entree we ordered: the Egg and Ham Chimichanga. In theory, this sounded awesome: a deep fried breakfast burrito filled with eggs, ham, and cheese. In execution, the eggs were overcooked and dry, the ham was non-existent, and the poor burrito shell was fried to the point of no return. Even with this weak showing, the plate was still better than most brunch plates we've gotten around town. The sides for the chimichanga were the same as for the Benedict, so all was not lost, but it won't be a dish we'll order again.

While nobody would ever consider Shorty's to be fine dining, it's a pretty great place for cheap eats and even cheaper drinks. The chain has tried unsuccessfully to expand in Arkansas, but the Little Rock branch (and one in Jonesboro) keep plugging right along like they always have. If you've only considered Shorty's a quick spot for lunch or a place to hit up for a burger in the evenings, think again: the brunch is good, it's cheap, and it might just be the best Sunday breakfast option that Rodney Parham Road has to offer. Shorty Small's is located a 11100 North Rodney Parham Road and they are open daily.

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