As you all know, not all “chain restaurants” are created equal…some are clearly better than others. There’s a reason why these restaurants continue to flourish…consistency, convenience, and at their very best…quality.
The Chi family (which we only yesterday highlighted by their newest restaurant in town, Lulu’s Crab Boil), will be opening another restaurant in the near future. This time it’s a national brand making its first appearance in Arkansas…La Madeleine: Country French Cafe. This first location will be located at 12210 W. Markham St. in West Little Rock, near the intersection of Chenal and Markham (neighboring Home Depot, Chick-fil-a, Target, etc.).
The restaurant is currently under construction. They expect to have the interior finished out shortly after the New Year with a target opening date at the first week of March 2016.
So why should you be excited about the opening of La Madeleine? Well…because it’s tasty. While living in Dallas, we had a La Mad right next door to us and we visited often. It’s a “fast casual” restaurant — quick, clean, and convenient, with a menu that’s able to please just about the pickiest and snootiest of eaters.
They excel at breakfast…an area we’re still rather deficient in here in Little Rock. Basics like eggs benedict, quiche, cinnamon french toast, oatmeal, and omelets fill this portion of the menu. Their “Crepes Romanoff” is a stand-out here, with strawberries, brandy sour cream, and cinnamon. They also serve a variety of signature roast coffees…including a gingerbread latte.
But the reason I found myself at La Madeleine most often was for their baked goods. These are baked fresh daily in the cafe, and I’ve found them to be a cut above your average “bread and bagel” chain. Look for croissants in all their glorious varieties…chocolate, almond, blueberry cream. There’s a whole slew of hearty breads, cookies, and muffins. But I was most fond of their tarts and parfaits. Fresh fruit tarts were an excellent way to start the day. They do these mini-parfaits and layered desserts, as well, for those wanting a taste of something sweet without feeling too glutinous.
I’m less familiar with their lunch and dinner menus, but I’ve had some good food from these sections that I’ll definitely be re-visiting when they land in Little Rock. You can’t say “no” to French onion soup, and their tomato basil soup is almost legendary amongst some circles. And I’ve never met a “Croque Monsieur” I didn’t like. La Mad does theirs with smoked ham, Swiss cheese, and garlic cream sauce baked on fresh wheatberry bread.
I have a feeling this place will do well. Great location, quality food, reasonable prices, and plenty of variety. We’ll see you soon, La Madeleine.