Boulevard Bread Company has been a symbol of quality and excellence for the Little Rock food community since opening its doors some 15 years ago. It represented one of the pioneers of the “Slow Food Movement” in Arkansas, and helped usher in an exciting era within the local food scene…one which supported organic and seasonal eating, with locally-sourced, artisanal products. And despite the numerous restaurants and shops that have follow in its footsteps since, Boulevard continues to distinguish itself by providing consistently great products—some of which can be found no where else in Arkansas.
Boulevard’s Heights location (1920 Grant St.) acquired the neighboring space previously occupied by the New Traditions store last spring, promising an expansion that would bring exciting changes to the restaurant and market. And although city permits and construction have prolonged the opening date a little more than they originally anticipated, the new “Boulevard Bistro and Bar” will likely be ready to welcome Little Rock later this week once some final permits are issued.
We met with co-owners, Christina Basham and Sonia Schaefer, who gave us a look inside the new space and explained what was in store for Boulevard fans.
Boulevard Bistro and Bar will now be operating as a full-service restaurant. It comes as a collaborative effort between Basham and Schaefer, along with head chef, Chris McMillan, and pastry chef, Christine Lui.
The new menu (which you’ll find posted below) is focused on classic French-European dishes such as Coq a Vin and pasta alla Bolognese, as well as house-made charcuterie like duck rillette and country pork terrine. On the starters side you’ll see things like arancini di riso (fried risotto with harissa), cinnamon-clove cured Falling Sky pork belly confit, and brown sugar-glazed smoked salmon with orange creme fraiche. Entrees will bring steak frites, Parisian-style gnocchi with mushrooms and truffles cream, and a bone-in pan-roasted pork chop. Schaefer says, “Our menu will change seasonally, offering a variety of locally-sourced produce and meats.” She also notes, “The lunch menu will stay the same, but with a few added hot sandwiches.”
Customers can also expect to see an expansion in the beverage selection at Boulevard. The new bistro will feature a full bar with a selection of craft cocktails and eight beers on tap which will include Stone’s Throw and Lost Forty, among others.
The new space provides an open extension into the large connecting building. There is additional seating for around 75 and a larger outdoor patio. It’s a roomy, comfortable addition, with a mixture of classic and contemporary elements that fits Boulevard perfectly. Schaefer says, “The idea about the space was to develop a casual place where someone could walk in, in any attire, with or without children, or bring a date perhaps, and eat really good food.”
Boulevard Bistro and Bar plans to begin serving lunch only (probably later this week, as mentioned above), and will roll out the dinner menu about a week later. Hours will be Mon-Wed 7 am to 10 pm, Thur-Sat 7 am to 11 pm, and Sunday brunch 8 am – 3 pm.