In a summer full of exciting news from Little Rock’s food scene, this new development might just beat them all. Hillcrest Artisan Meats, the adored restaurant that closed in December 2016, is back. And by “back,” I mean today. Brandon Brown is in the kitchen at District Fare as you read this getting several of H.A.M.’s cult classic sandwiches ready for lunch service. What’s more, this is not a one-off situation. Going forward, you will see more and more H.A.M. favorites on District Fare’s menu.
All of this happened with the sale of District Fare. Tomas Bohm of The Pantry and The Pantry Crest handed off the business to Daniel Bryant, who owns the building District Fare is in. The Pantry and The Pantry Crest will continue with business as usual. Bryant brought in Brown to operate District Fare, creating a wave of excitement for Hillcrest residents who fondly remember H.A.M.’s presence in the neighborhood.
“We’ve had a great first couple of days at District Fare,” said Bryant. “It’s fun for me to watch people come through to see [Brandon] and pick up some of their old favorite soups and sandwiches. We’re both eager to get some changes implemented over the next few weeks as things take shape.”
Several changes have already taken place. District Fare has put five of H.A.M.’s sandwiches on the menu to start: The Georgie, Squash Blossom, Caprese, Mortadella, and Grilled Cheese. There are likely more to come; on Facebook, District Fare has teased the possibility of the Brick-Pressed Prosciutto making a return. Currently, District Fare is using some generic hoagies as rolls, but Brandon tells me he is getting Old Mill bread back soon. That means the sandwiches should taste exactly like you remember.
And that’s not all. The lentil salad, arguably one of the best side items Little Rock has ever seen, is back starting today. You can also expect District Fare to continue its excellent cured meats under the new ownership. And as if all this weren’t enough, Brown says he will be bringing back Burger Friday in the future. For those who missed it previously, Hillcrest Artisan Meats would make 30 brilliant burgers every Friday and typically sell out before 11:30 a.m. Burger Friday is not back today, but you should look for it sooner rather than later.
If, like me, you were a big fan of H.A.M., today has to feel like Christmas in August (sorry if this whole article seems more breathless than usual). And there are more developments likely to come. Daniel Bryant is building a new restaurant across the street from District Fare, and there’s a possibility that Brown will be involved in shaping the menu there. We will keep you updated on the future changes. For now, we’ll just enjoy the second coming of one of Little Rock’s most treasured eateries.