Page 6 of 7
Walk inside and you'll be beaten silly — like Apollo Creed in "Rocky IV" — by the plethora of Philadelphian memorabilia. But luckily, Rocky's has managed to also deliver a knockout with its fabulous representation of this classic Philly sandwich. Don't scoff at the sight of bright red tomato sauce slathered on top — it's a crucial part of Rocky's formula.
6929 J.F.K. Blvd., North Little Rock.
The Root Cafe
Pinning down "the best burger in town" is a highly subjective and often controversial affair, but it's quite likely that this one's camping out near the top of many Central Arkansas burger enthusiasts' lists. No frills, no gimmicks, just 1/3 pound of pure bovine bliss. Locally produced yellow cheddar and beef so fresh, you'll swear it was probably less than two hours from moo to mouth.
1500 S. Main St.
Taqueria Samantha No. 2
Burrito al pastor
When this Geyer Springs taco wagon began opening on Sundays, we made a joyful noise. The usual taco combos all appeal, but in the land of the one-handed man, the burrito is king. A vast flour tortilla from Brenda's Tortilleria is mounded with pastor, the Mexican gyros of seasoned bits of pork, reheated on a grill that's launched a million tacos. Then comes rice and plump pinto beans. You can ask them to stuff in lettuce, tomato, crema, avocado and such, but it's already a meal. The salsa verde is standard, but don't fail to ask for a side of the red chipotle salsa. We go back and forth trying to decide which is best. It's always a tie. Lime is provided for a touch of sharpness. Also a grilled jalapeno. And, who knows why, a sack of TGI Friday's potato skin chips. We eat in the car on the parking lot of a Mexican party store with plenty of dulces inside for dessert.
7521 Geyer Springs Road.
Shipley's may not have originated in Arkansas, but we've certainly embraced it as our own. Countless early morning staff meetings have been made brighter with these donuts. Show up with a dozen, and you're a bona fide office hero. The dense, chewy potato flour dough and sweet, silky sugar glaze is unmistakably Shipley's. There are few logical reasons to wake up before 6 a.m., but hot glazed from Shipley's is certainly one of them.
Multiple locations, including 7514 Cantrell Road.
There are plenty of iconic Central Arkansas restaurants, but when we have out-of-town guests hungry for a quintessentially Little Rock dining experience, we always opt for Sims. And we damn near force our guests to order what we get without fail: the rib dinner, with a side of baked beans (flecked with nice pork pieces) and greens and cornbread (which counts as one side!). Let the tangy vinegar-mustard-and-brown sugar sauce the ribs come swimming in mix with juice from the greens and use the cornbread to sop it all up. Recommended with a cold 40 oz. and a seat near the jukebox.
Multiple locations, including 2415 S Broadway St.
Chicken and dumplings
Definitely not your grandma's dumplings, this spicy dish takes crisp-seared mochi, loads it up with shredded chicken, and douses the lot in a rich, spicy ramen broth. It may be different, but it still satisfies the requirements of classic chicken and dumplings: It's the ultimate comfort food, warming a body on a cold day with rib-sticking goodness.
A&E Feature / To-Do List / In Brief / Movie Reviews / Music Reviews / Theater Reviews / A&E News / Art Notes / Graham Gordy / Books / Media / Dining Reviews / Dining Guide / What's Cookin' / Calendar / The Televisionist / Movie Listings / Gallery Listings