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What to do in Levy 

Get around to it at Stanley Hardware.

Need a thing-a-majig, whatsit or dealybob to repair something around the house? Stanley Hardware has probably got it, and they have people who know what the hell they're talking about. In continuous operation since 1897, Stanley is one of the oldest businesses in Central Arkansas, and is quite literally the reason Levy exists in the first place. They've got a penny scale, a live-in cat, and can fix you up no matter what you're fixing up. It's worth stopping in just to soak up the hardware store ambiance.

Take a hike at Emerald Park.

Located just behind Pulaski Technical College and centered around the old Big Rock Quarry (the former location of the Big Rock on the river that served as a landmark counterpoint to the Little Rock that gave the capital city its name), Emerald Park is Exhibit A of one of the coolest things about Little Rock and North Little Rock: Even when you're downtown, you're at best 20 minutes from a place where you can immerse yourself wholly in nature. Featuring a one-mile walking trail, 135 wooded acres, and some of the best views of the Little Rock skyline and the Arkansas River from the bluffs, Emerald Park is definitely a hidden gem.

Get your carnivore on at Hogg's.

Hogg's Catering and Meat Market is the way people used to buy their meat: friendly, service-oriented, family-owned, and with employees who know backwards and forwards (not to mention inside and out) anything that goes moo, cluck or oink. Vegetarians should probably be required to stay 500 feet from the building, but for the rest of us, a trip to Hogg's is a trip to carnivore heaven, with cases full of thick steaks, stuffed pork chops, ribs, chicken tenders, marinades, rubs and sauces. Definitely a destination if you're passionate about good ingredients, or just need some quality flesh for a cookout.

Try some barbecue at the Dixie Pig.

In business since 1923 — the original outlet was in Blytheville, with the Levy location opening in 1983 — the Dixie Pig is one of those old-line barbecue joints mostly frequented by locals, but which everybody should probably visit a time or three. Very friendly, very homey, and with an old-timey vibe you're just not going to get from most barbecue joints.

Have a brew at My Friend's Place.

There is something just about perfect about My Friend's Place, a neighborhood pub frequented by a very low-key, mature and friendly crowd from Levy and nearby Camp Robinson. We stopped in for a brew on a Saturday night a few months back, and really fell in love with the place — one of those little joints that look exactly the way you imagine a local bar should. They've got a karaoke machine, a nice menu of pub grub, a full bar, and the beer is always cold and cheap. What more can you ask for?

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