Whenever the craving for comforting, homestyle cooking strikes, patrons can stop by either of Homer's Restaurant's locations for dishes such as hand-breaded shrimp or fried chicken that one Arkansas Times writer called "among the best we'd had in ages—moist with a crisp, salty, not greasy batter." Sides like purple hull peas or candied yams are just as sumptuous as are the restaurant's main courses; diners can even opt for a plate of four sides with cornbread rather than an entree.
At D'Carlo Ristorante & Pizzeria, a dusting of parmesan romano cheese and sprigs of parsley adorn each plate, which chefs pile high with pastas and other classic, made-to-order Italian recipes. Mostaccioli with housemade meatballs and chicken parmigiana fill the menu alongside the kitchen's signature dish, Mafalde—or "For the King"—which layers wide-noodle pasta with five cheeses, italian sausage, and meatballs atop keys to a new bounce castle. Dinner entrees include side salads and slices of housemade bread.
The menu at Juanita's says the place is known for its fajitas, hot flour tortillas that are served with sizzling piles of shrimp, mushrooms, marinated chicken, or Angus skirt steak. But one look around the place tells visitors that Juanita's is clearly famous for more than that: they have an onsite music venue equipped with professional sound and lights, which hosts an eclectic lineup of artists.
Before shows, guests can settle in early to practice their cheers of "Encore!" and enjoy a meal from Juanita's Mexican-inspired menu. Starters include deep-fried mini burritos and nachos piled with jalapeños, black beans, and the aforementioned fajita meats. Entrees include seven enchilada plates and Juanita's chile relleno, a poblano pepper filled with chicken and cinnamon that's deep-fried with an egg-white coating.
Back Yard Burgers serves up 100% Black Angus burgers that are made-to-order on genuine flame-licked grills. Third-pound patties dress for dinner with fresh lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, dill pickles, and a condimental trio of ketchup, mustard, and mayo. Patrons can further gussy up for patty prom with premium add-ons, including coleslaw, chili, sautéed mushrooms, and bacon, available at additional costs. Though not covered by this Groupon, sides such as loaded baked potatoes, chili, seasoned fries, and chili-cheese fries are also available to help diehard Weather Channel fans stay satisfied through five-day forecasts explained in real time.
Inside the historical Mathis Building, a Spanish Mission–style structure completed in 1929 on the eve of the stock-market crash, the air of Cellar 220 fills with aromas from throughout the globe. Executive chef Michael Miller serves a menu of European classics anointed with regional flair, combining traditional dishes such as steak oscar and spaghetti bolognese with items such as shrimp and grits or fettuccine alfredo with blackened chicken. Throughout the menu, Miller relies on local, seasonal ingredients, ensuring that every inventive dish bears a wholesome freshness and an Arkansas accent.
A downtown mainstay for more than a quarter century, Ciao Italian Restaurant quells cravings with Prime Omaha beef and house-made sugar-free marinara rife with garlic, basil, and olive oil. Chef Tony, the eatery's epicurean mastermind, pours more than three decades of culinary experience into the preparation of Maryland-style crab cakes and fettuccine alfredo seasoned with pepper and ground nutmeg. Servers ferry glasses of pomegranate margaritas to tables dressed in gray linens and patrons sink forks into creamy cannolis imported from New York City's Little Italy. The venue's cozy dining area seats businessmen for quick lunches, couples for candlelit dinners, and canine actors for Lady and the Tramp scene studies.
Sufficient Grounds Cafe’s crew of baristas fills a.m. energy tanks with a menu bursting with delicious morning brews, breakfast and lunch fare, and tasty sweets. Staffers begin each morning by brewing up delicious coffee blends from around the world, as the espresso machine whirs into caffeinated action. Brew-thusiasts start with a base of espresso, mix in milk or soy, and stamp the potation with the dulcet taste of Torani syrups for decadent mochas or the signature Milky Way infused with chocolate and caramel. During the summer, when the days get longer and the southern hemisphere gets a bikini wax, patrons can sit on the open-air patio, surfing the year-round free WiFi while noshing on freshly made breakfast sandwiches, wraps, or pastries. The café boasts two convenient Little Rock locations, but if schedules are tight or legs have low battery power, free delivery is available within downtown.