For whatever reason, whether it’s small size, an out-of-the-way location, or just a lack of publicity, some restaurants tend to fall under the radar with a larger audience. This series takes a look at these Underrated Places.
Where: H.B.’s Bar-B-Q (6010 Lancaster, Little Rock)
The Restaurant: If it’s your first time visiting H.B.’s, as you’re making your way there, you may begin to wonder if you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way. You wind your way through residential streets, seemingly the last place you’d expect to find a restaurant, when suddenly it sorta appears out of nowhere. From the outside, it looks a lot like all the other older homes in the neighborhood—pink and white trim with a rickety old front porch. But you’ll recognize it as a barbecue joint by the billowing smoke stack out back and the intoxicating aroma of smoked meats infiltrating your olfactory glands. Pull around back and get ready to eat.
The Atmosphere: It’s a classic, weathered old home that’s been churning out fine barbecue since 1961. It’s not particularly gorgeous inside, but it’s clean, albeit a little cramped. There’s a single dining room with about a dozen or so old wooden tables. Take a seat, grab a menu if you’d like, or simply glance at the big menu board tacked up over the kitchen to see what they’re serving. Your server will be with you shortly.
The Service: The folks running the place enjoy what they do—they wear big grins on their faces and they are proud of the food they serve. They’ll quickly assure you it’s the best BBQ in the city…and they’re probably right. They’ve got a slew of regulars that they know by name, people they’ve served hundreds of times, people who can’t get enough H.B.’s.
The Food: Most come here for the chopped pork sandwich…which should definitely be your order on a first visit. It’s smoky, tender, and salty pig chopped into tiny bits and slathered with a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce, then finished with a crown of crunchy slaw. Don’t miss it.
You might also want to consider dropping in on a Tuesday…that’s rib day. They only serve them this one day of the week, unfortunately, but they’re good enough to plan your week around just so you can nab a slab. The sliced brisket is passable, but never reaches the same level of the pork. Standard BBQ sides are all served here—beans, potato salad, cole slaw, fries, onion rings, and fried okra. There’s also burgers, hot dogs, and other sandwiches…should you (for some reason) feel the need to pass on barbecue.
The Price: It’s mostly inexpensive fare here. Sandwiches will run you between $3-6. Barbecue plates (with two sides) clock in at $6-9 based on size. The rib plate is $7.25. Meat-by-the-pound is also an option and will run you about $10 per pound. Note: It’s a CASH ONLY establishment.
The Verdict: In a state that’s so infatuated with smoked pig, it’s slightly surprising you don’t hear the name “H.B.’s” pop up in more conversations on who’s doing in the best. Because H.B.’s is certainly top notch pork. It’s a little out of the way for most, but any special effort made to find this place will be richly rewarded once you’re stuffing that delicious sandwich into your maw.
The Info: H.B’s Bar-BQ. 6010 Lancaster, Little Rock. Open Monday-Friday 10am to 6 pm. Closed Saturday and Sunday. 501-565-1930.