July 2019 marks the one year anniversary of Eat It Up! Amanda Jaeger and Rob Evans have traveled to over 50 food places in central Arkansas trying foods like Stoby’s Peanut Butter Bacon Raspberry Jalapeno Jelly Cheeseburger to Three Fold’s Taro chips & Sesame balls.
To celebrate this incredible milestone of fabulous restaurants and delicious foods, we wanted to commemorate this past year with a few quick Eat It Up facts!
Areas around central Arkansas Eat It Up has visited:
- East village in Little Rock
- West Little Rock
- Heights neighborhood
- Hillcrest neighborhood
- SoMo (South Main) District
- Rivermarket District
- College Station
- Downtown Little Rock
- Hot Springs
- North Little Rock
- Argenta District
- Southwest Little Rock
Unique foods tried:
- Monkey burger & 3-patty Maniac Burger (Monkey Burger)
- Duck wings (Sauced)
- Peanut Butter Bacon Raspberry Jalapeno Jelly Cheeseburger (Stoby’s Restaurant)
- Fried Plantains & Yucca Fries (Buenos Aires Grill & Cafe)
- Famous Willy Dust Cajun Seasoning (Eat My Catfish)
- Taro chips & Sesame balls (Three Fold)
- Rob has tried tamales for the first time (loved the ones at HB’s BBQ)
- Pickle Chicken Taco (Height’s Taco & Tamale)
- Nitrogen-infused coffee (Nexus Coffee & Creative)
- Eggplant Fries and pimento Cheese burger (The Root Café)
Eat It Up’s first stop: The Root
Restaurants giving back to community (just 2 examples of the many):
- HONEY PIES (West Little Rock) – 1 cup 1 mean: Every cup of coffee purchased provides one meal for a hungry Arkansan. The money equivalent is given to the Arkansas food Bank. As of October 2018, 4,260 meals were donated. Owner, Sharon Woodson, grew up learning baking techniques from her grandmother – the inspiration for Honey Pies. She believes dessert & pies are an expression of our love for people and “she’s honored people would want to share her pies with their families”.
- MONKEY BURGER (College Station)—“Books for Burgers”: They partner with the elementary school nearby so that every book the child reads they get a voucher for a free cheeseburger. He provides free food for the volunteers that participate in community clean-up day. He cares for this community because his mother grew up in College station.
Restaurants with history:
- Ohio Club in Hot Springs—“Arkansas’ oldest Bar” Started in 1905 as a Bar & Casino, it was a stop off place for celebrities, famous blues & jaz performers, Mae West, major league ball players and gangsters like Al Capone.
- Doe’s Eat Place in Downtown – Little Rock landmark of nation renown. A longtime regional favorite, it rose to national prominence during the ’92 presidential election campaign, when Clinton staffers make it their hangout. Then-candidate Clinton was interviewed in Doe’s by Rolling Stone magazine for their September cover story. It’s been a popular place for politicians due to its proximity to the Capital. They once catered an event at the White House. Many famous people have visited Doe’s like Wolfe Blitzer, Al Gore, James Carville, George Stephanopoulos, John Ritter, Delta burke, Terri Carr, and author James Patterson.
- Community Bakery in SoMa district – One of the longest-standing businesses in the neighborhood, it’s been around for about 71 years. It began started in Rose City then located to main street in the 1950s. They are a scratch bakery that still uses many of the same recipes from the 1960s / 1970s and sell to many other local Arkansas restaurants.
- Red Door in Riverdale Area—Been a little Rock landmark for over 18 years. Owner Chef Mark Abernathy, a nationally-recognized chef who has over 40 years experience in the restaurant industry, is “arguably Arkansas’ best-know chef and restauranteur.” He also owns Loca Luna, next door to Red Door. Mark is also the founder of the Arkansas chapter of share Our Strength, a national fundraiser for hunger relief.
- Gadwall’s Grill in NLR/Sherwood area—In business for over 30 years. Known for their fried bologna sandwiches.
- Pancake Shop in Hot Springs – Serving breaking exclusively since 1940, as one of the oldest family-owned and operated restaurants in the state. They’ve hosted a number of celebrities over the years such as world class musicians and filmmakers from around the globe. During Oaklawn racing season, you just might run into hall-of-fame trainers and jockeys.
Eat It Up’s latest stop: Heights Tacos and Tamales
- They found 13+ year starter dough (called the Mother Dough) at Boulevard Bread Company (SoMa location where they make all the bread).
- Three Fold hand makes over 3000 dumplings a day
- Longest running theme is “to double dip or not to double dip”
- Rob loves to try to get the secrets to a restaurant’s recipe (still no success)
- The Pantry’s cheesecake made Rob accidentally cuss on camera – it was that good!
- Pro tips have included how to properly fry an egg, seasoning a good cut of meat, putting pizza in an oven
- Rob tried tamale’s for the first time and Amanda tried her first fried bologna sandwich ever.
Award-winning (just some of the restaurants):
- Heights Taco & Tamale –cheese dip: Winner at World Cheese Dip Championship and Winner of US Senate Championship (fun blind taste test Arkansas vs Texas); Arkansas Democrat Gazette Best Mexican 2018
- Dempsey Bakery – Names 6th top gluten-free restaurant/bakery in the nation
- Honey Pies – Winner Mosaic Templars Cultural Center Sweet Potato Pie Contest
- Star of India—2015 Arkansas Time’s Readers choice Best Indian; Best buffet
- Community Bakery – Arkansas Democrat Gazette Best Bakery 2018 & Best Desserts 2017/2018
- David’s burgers– Arkansas Democrat Gazette Best Burger and Best French Fries 2017/2018
- Taziki’s Mediterranean Café – Arkansas Democrat Gazette Best Business Lunch 2017/2018; Best caterer & Best Greek 2017
- Eat My Catfish – Arkansas Democrat Gazette Best Catfish 2017/2018
- ZaZa’s Fine Salad & Wood Oven Pizza Co-– Arkansas Democrat Gazette Best Salads 2017
- David’s burgers – patents pending for their seasoning invention as well as their burger patty pressing tool.
Eat It Up celebrates 1-year anniversary
Many Restaurants support local farms like these:
- The Root
- At The Corner
- Green Leaf Grill
- Red Door
In the kitchen Rob & Amanda learned what it takes to:
- Make pizza (Raduno)
- Bread catfish, shrimp, green tomatoes (Eat My Catfish)
- Season, press & flip burgers (David’s Burgers)
- Make Empanadas (Buenos Aires Grill & Cafe)
- Make a cake
Types of Food Amanda and Rob have tried:
- Mexican & authentic latin street food
- Authentic/gourmet Chinese
- Cocktails & Mocktails
- Home cooking
- Hawaiian Poke
Eat It Up’s Most Watched Stop: Sandra Rose Kitchen
RELATED: LIST: 5 reasons to visit Honey Pies