For whatever reason, whether it’s small size, an out-of-the-way location, or just a lack of publicity, some restaurants tend to fall under the radar with a larger audience. This series takes a look at these Underrated Places.
Where: TracyCakes (10301 Rodney Parham Road, Ste. E3, Little Rock)
The Location: Tracy McCauslin’s bakery has been in operation for about 4 years. She’s located at a small corner shop in the business complex surrounding Breckenridge Theaters…in fact, she’s really only a few feet from the theater’s front door. It’s an interesting location. Surely, there’s a good deal of foot traffic owed to the theater and surrounding businesses, yet TracyCakes still manages to fly somewhat under the radar in the Little Rock sweets scene. And there’s really no reason for this to be so.
The Bakery: Walking inside, customers will notice a standard array of treats displayed within a long glass case. Upstairs, Tracy displays some examples of wedding cakes (all of which are quite impressive). A few tables are scattered on the floor should you choose to sit and enjoy your sweets in the shop.
The Sweets: You’ll find just about everything you need in a bakery in Tracy’s shop. Of course, there’s the full array of cupcakes and cakes by the slice should you be so inclined. Tracy’s signature item is her strawberry cakes, which generally sell as the “Strawberries & Cream” cupcake or the 6-tier wedding cake. Tracy experimented her way through dozens of recipes before landing on the one she felt was perfect. Look out for a few of the more interesting flavors, too…margarita, raspberry jazz, orangesicle, and the “Elvis Lives” with banana cake, chocolate ganache filling, and peanut butter icing.
Don’t sleep on the cookies either…they might just be the best thing in the shop. She does beautiful, well-crafted macarons that are perfectly packaged and ready for gifting. Iced and non-iced sugar cookies, peanut butter and chocolate, snickerdoodles…the list goes on. Tracy’s cookies were even featured in a recent issue of Food Network Magazine.
Beyond that, there’s chocolate covered specialties…marshmallows, rice cereal treats, etc. And she even stocks a full supply of the extraordinary Cocoa Rouge chocolates. These can be purchased by the box or as individual pieces.
The Service: This is one area that TracyCakes really shines. They’ll offer free samples of cake to help you make a decision that fits your tastes. Custom orders a given a great deal of attention and each person is given the time they need to plan for something that fits their budget.
The Verdict: Little Rock has seen a handful of bakeries lately shut their doors for good. It’s a difficult market and bakeries have, perhaps, felt it harder than most. The price of goods…butter and eggs particularly…has swelled and profit margins are squeezed. So we’re fortunate to continue to be home to a handful of quality bakers. TracyCakes is really second to none in this town and deserves a drop-in to see what she’s got coming out of the oven.
The Info: TracyCakes – 10301 Rodney Parham Road, Ste. E3, Little Rock. 501-227-4243. Orders can be taken by phone or on the website (here). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Store hours are 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. Find them on Facebook here.