One of the coolest things about Little Rock’s dining scene is how some of our better restaurants actually reside inside office buildings. From tall edifices in the heart of downtown to obscure mid-rises in the far reaches of WLR, here are (in no particular order) Little Rock’s Five Best Restaurants Inside Office Buildings.
The Terrace Mediterranean Kitchen (Morgan Stanley Building :: 2200 N. Rodney Parham Road :: 501.217.9393)
Hours of Operation: Lunch, Monday-Friday 11AM-2PM; Dinner, Monday-Saturday 5pm-9:30PM
What to Get: Any trip to The Terrace really should start with a plate of their delicious baba ghanouj. For those who truly love baba ghanouj, this version is right up there, if not better, than YaYa’s. Less adventurous eaters should stick with a solid dish of citron chicken, but for those searching for one of the best and underrated fish dishes in Little Rock, look no further than the black cod samfaina. This slightly sweet, delicate, yet meaty cod rests on a bed of hearty tomato and eggplant ragout.
Setting: Business to business casual/date night
Natchez (Tower Building :: 706 W. 4th Street :: 501.372.1167)
Hours of Operation: Breakfast, Tuesday-Friday 8AM-10AM; Lunch, Tuesday-Friday 11AM-2PM; Dinner, Wednesday-Saturday 6PM-9PM
What to Get: Anything with pasta. Natchez is one of the few restaurants in town that actually makes fresh, house-made pasta. And it’s damn good! Natchez’s menu is seasonal, so keep an eye out for when brisket makes an appearance, and the same goes for seafood. You won’t find fresher, better tasting shrimp in all of Little Rock. Finally, save room for dessert, which can range from something as simple as a peanut butter cookie to a brownie shiraz ice cream sandwich with a merlot caramel sauce.
Setting: Business lunch/date night
Brave New Restaurant (2300 Cottondale Lane, Suite 105 :: 501.663.2677)
Hours of Operation: Lunch, Monday-Friday 11AM-2PM; Dinner, Monday-Thursday 5PM-9PM, Friday-Saturday 5PM-10PM
What to Get: Start your meal off with the goat cheese mousse, a surprisingly subtle-tasting appetizer best split between 2-4. For entrees, opt for the iconic Mixed Grill, a no-frills platter of perfectly cooked grilled pork tenderloin, medallion of beef, stuffed quail, and wild game sausage. Lighter eaters should consider any of the fish dishes, as Brave New’s signature move is to cover the protein in that amazing buerre blanc.
Setting: Business lunch/date night/business dinner
Green Leaf Grill (Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield Building :: 601 S. Gaines Street :: 501.378.2521)
Hours of Operation: Breakfast, Monday-Friday 7AM-9:30AM; Lunch, Monday-Friday 10:45AM-2PM
What to Get: While it’s very easy to order one of Green Leaf’s fresh-made salads or sandwiches from the food court, I really enjoyed my healthy dish of green curry shrimp with roasted sweet potatoes and rice. It was part of the restaurant’s Simply 600 (as in calories) meal plan, which is offered daily with rotating menu options. Not looking to count calories? The pasta bar looked pretty solid as well.
Setting: Business casual food court/$8-$10 meal
Milford Track (Plaza 2 :: 10809 Executive Center Drive :: 501.223.2257)
Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 8AM-5PM; Saturday 11AM-2PM
What to Get: Milford Track offers a choice of seven, fresh, made-to-order pasta selections with your choice of nine, count ‘em, nine sauces! I favor the spinach pasta with pepper garlic sauce, but if those flavors aren’t your thing, Milford’s huge selection will end up fitting your fancy. Like any typical office deli, you’ll find a wide selection of soups, sandwiches, and burgers- but what separates Milford from the rest is definitely the pasta.
Setting: Business casual/casual on weekends/family friendly
Franke’s Cafeteria Downtown (Regions Center Building :: 400 Broadway :: 501.372.1919)
Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 10:45AM-2PM
What to Get: Make no mistake, there are plenty of misses at Franke’s, but the hits—like the fried chicken tenders, cabbage, and eggplant casserole—are absolute Little Rock comfort food classics. The turkey and dressing on Wednesdays is a guilty pleasure plate that sends you straight to the Thanksgiving table at any time of year. Save some room for dessert, as the chocolate pie truly is one of the more underrated meal-enders in the city.
Setting: Business casual to completely casual/cafeteria prices
Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro (200 River Market Avenue); Salut Bistro at Prospect Place (1501 N University Avenue)