The Arkansas Heart Hospital has not-so-quietly made a name for itself by making delicious ramen noodle bowls every week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Now they are about to take it a step further and bring ramen to the masses with their soon to launch food truck, called Food from the Heart.
Chef Coby Smith was approached by Dr. Bruce Murphy, the hospital’s president and CEO a request to make quality ramen a feature of the their lobby cafe, which was undergoing renovations at the time. Dr. Murphy was a huge fan of traditional Japanese ramen and found it hard to acquire in Little Rock. Smith even traveled to Japan to experience ramen the way that Dr. Murphy originally fell in love with the dish.
“It has been fun building the ramen program with the Arkansas Heart Hospital,” Smith says. “It has taken off bigger than ever anticipated. Now with the truck we will be able to bring ramen to people who can’t come in and experience it.”
The Heart Hospital’s ramen has taken off wildly over the past year, being mentioned on countless local and national news outlets and publications. The following is huge, with lines often winding down the corridors of the Heart Hospital. It is a far cry from quiet corner cafe of the Heart Hospital that we original found in 2016.
“Our culinary department is nationally recognized. Providing the option of a food truck to businesses, clinics and other venues with healthy, delicious food was the next step” said Casey Atwood, Directory of Culinary Services. “The truck will have a limited menu and will include ramen.”
The food truck will allow chef Coby and the Heart Hospital to bring that experience to people all across Arkansas. The truck will make the first stop on May 2nd at the Food Truck Stop in Little Rock at 801 S. Chester from 11-1. It will then travel the state hitting various communities where the Heart Hospital’s clinics are located. The truck will likely be a fixture at various festivals and events throughout the year.
They also plan to use the food truck during disaster situations to bring help feed people in affected areas.
The truck will primarily feature Ramen, however they do plan on having some of the other special menu items from time to time. These will include a number of heart healthy options, as well as some not as healthy options. “We have a couple of fryers and a flat top in here. Dr. Murphy specifically wanted them so that if we feel the need to fry some catfish or grill some burgers we have that option,” Smith says.
The ramen program should continue to grow for the Heart Hospital. There are talks of a ramen restaurant inside an upcoming Saline County facility, and possibly other clinics across the state.
Arkansas Heart Hospital/Coby Ramen
1701 Shackleford Rd, Little Rock.
(Ramen on M,W,F beginning at 11 until it sells out)