Little Rock doesn’t quite roll up the sidewalks out night anymore, but trying to find a good bite to eat late (or early, however you view it) from something other than a fast food joint or Waffle House is still a challenge. Charlee’s Goodtime Drinkery located in the Prospect building on University is looking to change that when it opens next week.
Charlee’s owner Rodge Arnold is no stranger to the food industry in Little Rock and so he knows the struggle to find a good bite after a late shift. It was part of what led him to utilize the 5am license at Charlee’s location that was previously Local Union.
“I want to make sure our kitchen serves the full menu all night until close at 5am,” Arnold says. “That way if you are getting off a shift, going into an early shift, or just looking for somewhere to go there is a place to relax and enjoy good food along with a drink or two.”
If you have not been in the restaurant before, it is a relatively small dining room that gives a cozy feel. Outside there is a large patio that Charlee’s has spent considerable time on. It will easily be one of the best patios in the city. Arnold has done a good job of working it into a classy dive bar complete with steer horns and a gold framed Dolly Parton poster. It is a fun balance of contrasting styles that plays right into the balance of the food and drinks itself.
The food menu plays surprisingly well with both their late night focus as well as the business lunch crowd that come from surrounding businesses. It should have something for everyone, at any hour, to enjoy.
“All of our food is made in house as much as humanly possible,” Arnold explains. “We are cutting our own deli meat for sandwiches, smoking our own bbq and wings, mixing our own salads from fresh produce, and cutting our own fries. It is a quality we hope everyone will be able to appreciate.”
The menu is a solid mix of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and a number of appetizers and small plates. Some highlights include house smoked wings, an Asian Chopped salad, house made pimento cheese both as a dip and a sandwich, and a giant cuban sandwich. Our favorite thing might be the chopped cheese, which is a chopped burger patty mixed with cheese. It is simple, but extremely good. Especially after a few drinks.
Speaking of drinks, Charlee’s is a bar after all. They are keeping things simple by going all cans with a good mix of domestics and regional craft beers. For cocktails they will have a full bar along with two house cocktails on tap. The wine list might be the most intriguing part. They have a surprisingly wide range of wines in all prices. Plus, if you want to bring back your high school nostalgia, they are offering bottles of Boones Farm just for fun.
Charlee’s is going to fill a lot of needs in the local food scene. Not only does it provide a great late night spot, it fills a large gap between the Midtown area and the Heights where few restaurants can be found. Charlee’s officially opens next week on August 28th and will be open from 11am – 5am seven days a week.