Dead ‘Parrot’ 

River dining done wrong.

ALL TALK: Parrot squawks.
  • ALL TALK: Parrot squawks.

There are more than a few bars around town that manage to impress us with their food – those establishments that put as much thought into their burgers and onion rings as they do into their jello shots. At some bars, however, we get the feeling that the grub is an afterthought, only served to meet the minimum legal requirement that has to be fulfilled to sling drinks.

Sadly, such is apparently the case with the Salty Parrot, the latest floating bar and grill on the North Little Rock side of the Arkansas River. Though this writer generally tries to find a ray of sunshine to talk about when I review a place, for maybe the first time in my career, my silver-lining generator has been left at a genuine loss for words.

First of all is the location. Though the view from the Salty Parrot easily falls into the “Million Dollar” category — boats motoring picturesquely past and the streetcar growling by overhead on the bridge — having a restaurant on the river isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For one thing, the Salty Parrot has no windows (only screens), so even though the day we dined there was fairly warm, the restaurant was freezing, with a nipple-shattering breeze rolling in off the water. Come summertime, even with the fans overheard stirring the air, it’s bound to be a floating sauna.

For another thing, the dampness meant the salt in the table shakers was approaching the consistency of Lot’s Wife, and when we ripped open packets of Pink Stuff to pour in our tea, the contents were like wet sand, removed from the packet only by way of vigorous excavation with a spoon (and about that tea: possibly the worst I’ve ever tasted in my life; curl-your-hair strong, with the distinct twang of powdered tea mix. How much effort does it take to boil a teabag, for God’s sake? We sent our tea back and got soft drinks — and, I’m almost positive, got charged for double drinks when the bill was tallied).

Though I’d heard the onion rings were good ($3.95), Companion # 1 wanted to try the artichoke and spinach dip ($5.95). Do I need to say more than it arrived in that little black plastic tray that the frozen TGI Friday’s dip from Wal-Mart comes in? No? Didn’t think so. Moving on.

From the list of entrees, I decided to go with Salty Parrot’s island theme and try the tropical hamburger ($7.50), a half-pound patty topped with pineapple, lettuce, onion and special “Island Sauce.” Companion #1, meanwhile, tried the “Razorback Submarine” sandwich ($5.95), a hoagie roll with turkey, ham and Swiss and provolone cheeses. Companion #2 tried the chicken Caesar salad ($6.95). Then, we waited. And waited. Companion #2’s salad came out, then the rest of us waited some more. Just when we were about ready to start eating the decor, our food arrived — this on a day when there were literally five people in the entire restaurant.

While my Companions mostly had minor complaints about their meals — Companion #1 even bragged on the deep-fried onion and jalapeno strips that came with her sandwich — the tropical burger needed a one-way ticket to Club Gitmo. The pineapple/burger combo was interesting, but the “Island Sauce” was just funky. Funky enough, anyway, to spoil what might have been a fair-to-middlin’ half-pound of ground round.

We had a kid in tow that day, so even though some of us were running late on getting back to work, we decided to try some dessert. Suckers for anything called “famous,” we decided to four-way-split their “Famous Barge Sinker” ($5.75), a brownie, covered in a scoop of ice cream and hot fudge. We ordered, then waited. And waited. And waited. At one point, the waitress appeared and said they were waiting on the hot fudge to melt. When we finally got the thing — by that time all REALLY late for work — we had to eat it so fast than none of us really tasted it. I remember the brownie being a little too cake-like for my taste, but not much else.

In short, while Salty Parrot might be a dynamite place to get your groove on, it’s mostly a terrible place to get your lunch on. For three adults and one child ordering nothing more complicated than burgers, sandwiches and salads, they should have been able to get us out of there in time to take a stroll in the park before heading back to work. Instead, we ended up keeping banker’s hours. With a final check totaling — without tip —$54.64, it might have been nice if we’d had the banker’s salary to go with it.

The Salty Parrot
100 Riverfront Park Drive, NLR

Quick Bite
Try Cornerstone Deli up on Main Street in Argenta. You’ll leave happier.

11 a.m. – close, Tuesday through Saturday; Closed Sunday and Monday.

Other info
Inexpensive to moderate prices. Credit cards accepted. Full bar.



Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Arkansas archeologist does his job, is asked to leave

    Amid Department of Arkansas Heritage project.

Latest in Dining Review

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation