Cheers & Jeers: Fabulous Franks, Beautiful Burgers, and Chewy Chicken

Once again folks, it’s time for cheers and a few jeers…a time where I share my opinions on a few of the recent introductions to my always-hungry tummy. Some new, some old…here’s a few of the things I’ve been sinking my teeth into lately.
First off, cheers to a fantastic frankfurter. I’ve always had a soft spot for a good hot dog…and around this town, no one’s doing them better than Hot Rod Wieners. They’re food truck veterans at this point, and as spring arrives and our fleet of mobile eateries begins making their rounds in full force, I’m very pleased that Hot Rod is still rolling with the best of them. I may never stray from their delightful “Italian Stallion,” a dog topped with a spicy marinara, crispy pepperoni, with provolone and parmesan cheeses. They’re making their own hot dog buns, which makes all the difference. Be sure to check them out at any of the many upcoming food truck gatherings.

Italian Stallion from Hot Rod Wieners
Italian Stallion from Hot Rod Wieners

Unfortunately, I was less impressed with my breakfast from Fork in the Road, one of Little Rock’s newest meals-on-wheels operations. There was nothing particularly unpleasant about the breakfast burrito I consumed recently, but it was simply a little lackluster. It could have greatly benefitted from a fresh handmade tortilla and a touch more spice from the salsa. Not a bad breakfast, but I’m hoping for something a bit more exciting next go round.
It’s a visit long overdue, but a big beefy cheers to The Box. This classic, no frills burger joint has been on my radar for years now, but for some reason I’ve yet to visit the place. But I corrected this recently and I’m now repenting of my ways. My double with cheese was a soul-satisfying, greasy mess of a burger, and for the price, it was pretty darn close to perfect. It’s not assembled from artisanal ingredients, no expensive cheeses or grass-fed beef…but it’s good, nonetheless. And I inhaled the dark, golden hand cut fries with gusto. You’ll have to catch them on a weekday for lunch if you’re interested—but it’s a visit worth making for any burger enthusiast.
It may be a more local and popular chicken chain than say, Colonel Sanders, but color me unimpressed with my first visit to Slim Chickens. While they’ve had locations in Little Rock for some time now, I only recently dropped in on their drive-thru (Markham St. location), hoping for a quick, cheap meal on the go. While it was certainly quick and relatively cheap, what is wasn’t is tasty. My chicken tenders seemed terribly chewy with very little crispy breading. The fries were bland and mushy. Perhaps they’re suffering some consistency problems, as I know several folks that would recommended the place, but I just don’t see myself heading back there anytime in the near future.
I’ve often professed my love for Neapolitan pizza…and while it’s still a blossoming business in Little Rock currently, I don’t think you’ll find anyone with a more authentic approach than The Pizzeria at Terry’s Finer Foods. Jacquelyn and Jeremy Pittman have received a good deal of critical acclaim since opening their Heights pizzeria last year, but all of it’s well deserved. From the oven to the wood to the carefully selected ingredients, they pay attention to details…and it’s paying off in their pizzas. If you haven’t sampled their “Kale-Onion-Potato” pizza with prosciutto cotto, feta, parmesan, and mozzarella…you’re missing out on one of the finest pies in Little Rock.
And if the cold, damp, and dreary conditions lately are getting you down, there’s no finer remedy than a cup of hot chocolate at Le Pops in the Heights. They serve it by the cup at their store, or you can bring home a mix to make for yourself at your own convenience. Just be sure to nab some of their wonderful house-made marshmallows to enhance your drinking experience.

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