There was a point not that long ago that meatless dining in Little Rock was a bit of a joke. Now it is serious business in the restaurant scene, and no one does it better than the businesses along South Main.
If you were to round up the top vegetarian and vegan dishes in the city the restaurants along South Main would dominate the list. That sort of dedication has made the area a destination spot for folks seeking meatless options or healthy alternatives. Even better is that each restaurant along the 4 block stretch brings something different to the table
Root Cafe – The Root is the pioneer of vegetarian dining along south Main street. The carefully source the majority of their produce from local farmers and focus on high-quality ingredients. Every menu (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) has great vegetarian and vegan options. The shitake burger is a must-try, as is the tortilla slaw.
Esters – We have talked a lot about what S. Main’s newest spot, Esters, brings to the vegan table. They focus on high flavor, creative vegan bar food. It is a great spot that makes even the most hardcore carnivores dive into the vegan side of the menu.
South on Main – South on Main has always had a good lineup of vegetarian options, but over the last couple of years they have really dialed up the quality and creativity. Like Esters they focus heavily on packing a ton of flavor, but it is in an elegant package with a renewed focus on presentation.
Atlas Bar – Another up and comer on SoMa, Atlas brings some strong vegetarian and vegan options to the table. Their biggest seller is the Labneh dip, which is one of my favorite apps in the area. Several of the menu items can be made vegetarian as well such as the fried rice which is always a winner.
Community Bakery – Community Bakery has been a South Main staple since before we thought of the stretch as South Main. The last year, however, has brought about a ton of positive changes to the bakery that is now serving the best food in their 67 year history. With that are a number of vegetarian options in pastries, deli sandwiches, soups, and daily specials. There is always something great on the menu for the non-meat eaters.
Dos Rocas – It is no surprise that Dos Rocas came up swinging with strong vegetarian options when they opened last year. The broad Central American focused restaurant is owned by the same group that owns the Root and they carried plenty of the vegetarian-friendly ideas over. Look for almost anything available with vegan chorizo and many things available with Nopales (cactus).
Loblolly – When Loblolly Creamery opened their own dedicated ice cream shop the first thing they did was find a way to greatly expand their vegan ice cream options. It is not all about sorbets either, they make good use of coconut milk to bring a creamy texture that you would swear was milk-based. At any given time around half of the options in their dipping cabinet are vegan-friendly.
Raduno – The South Main pizza shop is more than just a generic supreme pizza when it comes to vegetarian options. They have a number of sandwiches, appetizers, salads, and of course pizzas that are vegetarian and highly creative. The fungi is one of our favorite pizzas on the menu, vegetarian or not, and that says a lot with a number of good options all around.
Boulevard Bread Co – While this Boulevard location is not quite a full menu as the Heights location, they still offer a number of fantastic sandwiches, salads, and pastries that are vegan and vegetarian-friendly.