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Raimondo Family Winery relocating to River Market

40312_452580532175_459677_nThe Little Rock metro is gaining its first winery as Raimondo Family Winery relocates to a production facility in North Little Rock and a tasting room in the Little Rock River Market.

The winery, owned by Margie Raimondo, has been open near Lake Norfork since 2008, but Raimondo says she had always wanted to relocate to a more urban setting. The winery produces a selection of red, white and sparkling wines as well as olive oils and vinegars. The grapes for Raimondo’s wines are grown, harvested and processed in Lodi, California before being shipped to Arkansas for bottling and aging. The oils and vinegars are also mostly imported, with Raimondo infusing and aging the products in Arkansas.

The River Market tasting room will be located in a now vacant storefront next to the Marriott Residence Inn at River Market Avenue and 3rd Street. The location should be open by February, and will include a retail space and bar.

For more on Raimondo, her winery and details on her products, be sure to pick up the Nov. 19 issue of Sync Weekly.… Read more >

Ashley’s to reopen as One Eleven

The space formerly known as Ashley's will now be One Eleven Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/ERIC HARRISON

The space formerly known as Ashley’s will now be One Eleven
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/ERIC HARRISON

Since closing for renovations in May, few details on the revamp of the restaurant formerly known as Ashley’s have gotten out.

But prepare for the foodie media onslaught. On Thursday, the new restaurant will open its doors for a preview event for food bloggers and other media. And you can bet everyone will be Tweeting, posting and Instagramming up a storm.

One thing we do know? The new restaurant has apparently been dubbed One Eleven at the Capital Hotel, an homage to the hotel’s address at 111 W. Markham. But since the opening is not quite official, there’s always time for that to change too.

What do you think? Does One Eleven work?… Read more >

Let’s talk about “Doing theButt”

Be sure to check out the latest issue of Sync Weekly for my review of Table 28, the restaurant that took over the old Vesuvio Bistro space.

Chef Scott Rains is doing good things. The cocktails were some of the best I’ve had in town. And my smoked pork butt? Pretty good.

And then I took a second glance at my receipt:



In case you’re having a hard time squinting….yes. My smoked pork butt with a whiskey-baked apple and cabbage confit. The one that cost $22? Apparently that dish is listed as “Doing theButt” in the system at Table 28. Table 28, a place where the average dinner for two is $100 and the average patron is 60 years old.

Judging by the receipt, I’d say I’m not the only one who has ordered this dish and had it ring up this way.

So I’ll leave you with this question: Funny? Offensive? Inappropriate? Inside joke?

Leave me a comment, let me know what you think.


 … Read more >

Let’s do (new) lunch

Filling out a form at a doctor’s office the other day, I came to question that I hadn’t thought about since high school: What are your hobbies or activities?

"Light" lunch at Big Orange in Midtown.

“Light” lunch at Big Orange in Midtown.

I had to give several minutes of heavy thought to whether or not I could write down “eating.”

When it comes to my favorite meal of the day, I just really don’t want to choose between my kids, you know?

But given a real Sophie’s Choice, I’m opting for lunch.

It’s partially because of my mid-day location. Working downtown gives me access to more than your average sandwich line. And with lunch, it’s easier to convince yourself that a little calorie splurge is worth it. Because you’re totally just eating carrots and hummus for dinner, right?

But one of the real reasons behind my recent increased love for lunch is the options that have popped up semi-nearby lately. In the span of a week or so I’ve taken down sandwiches, salads and soup at Big Orange Midtown, Mugs Cafe and South on Main and (spoiler alert) each was worth returning for.

By now, the reviews for Big Orange Midtown and South on Main … Read more >

Big Orange Midtown is ready for your happy hour

I’ve been hearing good things about Big Orange since I first moved to Little Rock last fall.

But every time I was about to check the place out, their then freshly-opened sister-restaurant Local Lime would suck me in for a can’t-be-beat margarita and I was done for.

A lengthy wait for a seat combined with the drive out to West Little Rock was always enough to keep groups from heading that way, especially for happy hour.

The Barrel-Aged Negroni at Big Orange Midtown is happy hour-worthy

The Barrel-Aged Negroni at Big Orange Midtown is happy hour-worthy

Cracking open the menus for our first taste of Big Orange Midtown last week (review in the next issue of Sync!), I only had one true moment of disappointment: It was noon, on a weekday, my boss was sitting across from me and I had an interview scheduled that afternoon. In short: This was no drinking lunch.

That the Big Orange group of restaurants serve up some serious drinks is nothing new. Bar manager Lee Edwards and their team of bartenders are being constantly (and rightfully) praised for their work in bringing quality craft and classic cocktails

to central Arkansas. They also have a hard-to-beat beer lineup. Really, there is no good reason you’re … Read more >

Stone’s Throw Brewing: Welcome to the neighborhood

Stone's Throw Brewing is now open in downtown Little Rock.

Stone’s Throw Brewing is now open in downtown Little Rock.

If you’ve kept up with Sync, you’ll know that our staff has been looking forward to the opening of Stone’s Throw Brewing since long before I was around.

Shea Stewart has followed the group of four homebrewers as they planned to expand into a nano-brewery, launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, and began work on the space at 402 E. 9th.

Last weekend, as several Sync staffers sat at the taproom bar enjoy our first taste of Stone’s Throw, we all agreed on one thing–this was a spot worth waiting for.

As a beer lover and downtown worker, it’s the location and atmosphere that excites me most. Where some brewery taprooms feel like little more than a spot to fill a growler, Stone’s Throw’s light-filled bar area begs to you stay for another round. The spot is welcoming, with snacks (pickles from Natchez and plenty of pretzels during our visit) and guest taps from Arkansas breweries Diamond Bear, Core and Fossil Cove to round out the selection if their own offerings don’t do it for you.

Which they should. Their American IPA and Belgian Pale Ale both had people … Read more >

No one warned me about the cheese dip, Little Rock

The pleading excuse of “I’m not from around here” is starting to wear thin. I’ve been an Arkansan for something like 43 weeks. I’ve reluctantly chanted something about a Pig Sooie and bravely ventured to Cajun’s Warf (once). I’ve driven from West Memphis to Arkadelphia to Mountain View to Bentonville. At this point, I’m from around here.
But some things still remain a mystery to this Chicago transplant.

First up: Cheese dip. Somebody could have warned me about all this cheese dip. Where the outside world is comfortable ordering up queso at their neighborhood Mexican spot, Little Rock takes it to another level. Out to a $30 a plate dinner with your significant other? Cheese dip. Lunch with the girls downtown? Cheese dip. An order of enchiladas? Yeah, just dump the cheese dip on top. White or yellow, spicy or mild, plain or with mix-ins, nearly every restaurant in town has their own version of this stuff. And yes, I know about the World Cheese Dip Championship.
A few weeks ago I was out of town for a few days and when I came back, I even found myself craving an order of cheese dip. You win, Little Rock.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/STEVE KEESEE


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