Little Rock has developed such a great farmers market scene that it's become quite difficult to make it around to the various market locations across our fair city. Given its close proximity to where I live, I find myself most often on Saturdays at the Hillcrest Farmers Market, home of such personal favorites as Mylo Coffee Company and the Southern Gourmasian breakfast. With Mylo out of the country this week, I figured it was about time to pay a visit north of the river to the Argenta Farmers Market, a well-appointed market that was one of the first in the area to pay close attention to its vendors to guarantee that all products sold were coming from local producers.
I had an ulterior motive in heading to North Little Rock, though: an alert reader tipped me off last night that new coffee shop Mugs Cafe would be doing a soft opening this morning in anticipation of their grand opening on the 15th — and since "new restaurant" and "coffee" are three of my favorite words, I had to stop in for some breakfast and a cuppa. The experience was a good one, and I think it's safe to say that Mugs is going to be a fantastic option for the caffeine-deprived masses of Central Arkansas.
The cafe itself is one of the most attractive dining spaces I've seen, with a modern decor of polished concrete floors and exposed brick that make a perfect backdrop for the rustic wooden tables and sleek leather couches and chairs. There's a lot of space at Mugs, from the front area where we stepped up to place our order all the way back to a large area lit by an attractive skylight and dominated by a lovely driftwood wall-sculpture map of the world. I was impressed with the setup, and felt immediately comfortable in the classy, yet comfortable surroundings.
The service at Mugs was fantastic, with an enthusiastic crew ready to tell the world about their house-made pastries, numerous breakfast items, and full selection of sandwiches. And, of course, there was the coffee — espresso, lattes, mochas, pretty much the expected menu of java drinks. My wife and I ordered a couple of lattes and a breakfast sandwich made up of grits, a fried egg, and sausage called the Wayfairing Slider. Our drinks and food came out piping hot and lot more quickly than we expected given the decent-sized crowd that ordered ahead of us. The coffee was quite tasty, strong but not over-roasted, and while the Mugs crew aren't pulling lattes with the fancy foam patterns seen in some coffee shops, the flavor was there. Our breakfast sandwiches were also good, although next time I'll hit mine with a pinch of salt and ask for my yolk to be cooked just a titch less. The sausage on the slider was a high point, though, with a strong flavor of sage that really set off the pork.
Take a look below the jump for some more pictures from today's soft opening, and be sure to put Mugs Cafe on your list of new places to try. Mugs is located at 515 Main Street in North Little Rock, right near the Argenta Market. They don't have hours listed yet, but they will be open for breakfast and lunch starting Monday.
This is a tasty breakfast in one sandwich. Egg, grits, and sausage on delicious house-made bread.
Can't bear the thought of hot coffee in the summer? Mugs has you covered and will do an iced version of any drink.
Like to show your support? Mugs has a selection of coffee cups and t-shirts for purchase.
Tired of the same old trucked-in and thawed-out pastries found at Starbucks? Mugs is baking their own in-house, made fresh daily.
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