What is Little Rock cuisine? It is a question we’ve asked here several times before, for us we see it as a melting pot of influences from soul food, delta food, Memphis bbq, Tex-Mex, and cajun. It is also a question that Rock City Kitchen (no affiliation with Rock City Eats) tries to answer with their breakfast and lunch menu. For the most part, our ideas seem completely in line.
Owner Joe Vincent says that is the heart of his approach to Rock City Kitchen.
“Little Rock cuisine is mostly undefined, but we wanted to create a special place where you could get a feel for what Little Rock food is all about,” Vincent explains. “We try to capture that with every item on the menu or special we run. I want someone to come to town with no idea what our food scene is about and walk out of Rock City Kitchen with a good understanding of who we are as a city.”
It is certainly a tall order, and one that Vincent and crew give a strong take on achieving.
You will find a fantastic burger, chicken wings, fried catfish, and a range of sandwiches on the main menu. Then Rock City Kitchen rotates in daily specials like smoked ribs, fried chicken, tacos, chicken fried steak, and other soul food items to capture a range of what Little Rock food is all about. They mix that in with a great breakfast lineup, something that is notoriously hard to find in the city that features breakfast sandwiches, burrito’s, omelets, and a traditional meat, eggs, and potatoes meal.
Everything is made from scratch in house, and the quality of the dishes shows. It has been successful enough that after opening up their first location at 1515 W. Seventh Street in July, they quickly saw an opportunity to open up a second location just down the road in the State Revenue Office at 1816 W. Seventh. Both are equally busy.
As good as the food is though, it might be the community oriented approach that makes Rock City Kitchen a true reflection of the city. Rock City Kitchen works to enhance the community by training different groups of people to succeed in the future. They hire local youth at their 1515 location to train for future careers. They hire and train citizens facing homelessness on key skills to help them work back into finding stable jobs and housing. Finally they look for individuals that want to become entrepreneurs and involve them in the business aspects of Rock City Kitchen to teach basic business skills that will allow them to open up their own place.
It is the investment in the people of the community as much as the food that makes Rock City Kitchen a special place for Little Rock.
The best news is, Rock City Kitchen isn’t content with where they are now. Speaking with Joe he says that they have several other concepts in the work, including a future dinner oriented concept along with spinning out some of their specials like tacos into their own location.
As for now, you can catch Rock City Kitchen at either location 6:00am-2:00pm Monday – Friday, or during their special Friday hours from 4pm – 8pm.