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Top Picks - Capture Arkansas

Selected restaurants

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published June 5, 2014 at 2:03 a.m.

Weekly theme listings reflect a range of dining possibilities in central Arkansas, across a spectrum of settings and price ranges. Restaurant reviewers’ visits are anonymous and all expenses are paid by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Bargain means a meal (without beverage or dessert) is typically less than $12. Moderate is $12 to $25. Expensive is $25 and up. To read recent restaurant reviews in their entirety, visit arkansasonline.com/restaurants.

Catfish

CATFISH CITY & BBQ GRILL

1817 S. University Ave., Little Rock, (501) 663-7224

This veteran serves catfish as tasty as ever — fried or grilled — plus shrimp, frog legs, hot wings, chicken tenders and barbecue.

Lunch Mon-Sat, dinner Mon-Sat. Reservations (large parties). Bargain.

COCK OF THE WALK

7103 Cock of the Walk Lane, North Little Rock, (501) 758-7182

Even after the death of founder/owner Bryan James Burkhalter, the attraction at this folksy family restaurant, with somewhat reduced hours, continues to be substantial dinners of grilled and fried catfish, shrimp and chicken served on metal pie pans, show-stealing sides of hush puppies, skillet bread and coleslaw served family-style.

Lunch Sun, dinner Tue -Sun. Full bar. Reservations (10 or more people). Moderate.

FLYING FISH

511 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock (501) 375-3474

The seafood shack still serves up fine fish, fried and otherwise, including some of the town’s best (and best drained) catfish (all-you-can-eat on Wednesday, $14.99).

Lunch, dinner daily. Beer, wine. Bargain-moderate.

GRAMPA’S CATFISH

9219 Stagecoach Road, Little Rock, (501) 407-0000

The next generation has taken over as the son-in-law of former owners has reopened this Otter Creek establishment, which serves blond, fresh, smartly seasoned U.S. farm-raised catfish, top-notch fried appetizers and homemade pie.

Lunch Tue-Sun, dinner Tue-Sat. Reservations (six or more). Moderate.

Barbecue

CAPITOL SMOKEHOUSE

AND GRILL

915 W. Capitol Ave., Little Rock, (501) 372-4227

Doug and Candy Wilkerson, who once upon a time ran the Lucky 7 on East Sixth Street, continue to supplement their award-winning barbecue (top notices from publications as diverse as Sync and Maxim for the ribs and pulled pork, respectively) with their top-of-the-line plate-lunches.

Lunch Mon-Fri. Bargain.

CORKY’S RIBS & BBQ

12005 Westhaven Drive, Little Rock, (501) 954-7427; 2947 Lakewood Village Drive, North Little Rock, (501) 753-3737

This nice, polite, suburban Memphis-based franchise barbecue operation, which serves well-smoked ribs, wet and dry, and some of the best baked beans, takes no risks but also threatens few surprises at its two central Arkansas locations.

Lunch, dinner daily. Full bar. Reservations (eight or more people). Bargain-moderate.

SIMS BAR-B-QUE

2415 Broadway, Suite B, Little Rock, (501) 372-6868; 1307 John Barrow Road, Little Rock, (501) 224-2057; 7601 Geyer Springs Road, Little Rock, (501) 562-8844

Old-school Sims can always be counted on for serving solid, messy and no-frills barbecue; the ribs continue to be your best bet.

Lunch, dinner Mon-Sat. Beer. Bargain.

WHOLE HOG CAFE

2516 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, (501) 664-5025; 12111 W. Markham St., Little Rock, (501) 907-6124; 5107 Warden Road, North Little Rock, (501) 753-5228

Sweet and sticky ribs, savory beef brisket and plush sour-cream potato salad are some of the rewards awaiting diners at this award-winning barbecue restaurant.

Lunch, dinner Mon-Sun on Cantrell and West Markham, Mon-Sat in North Little Rock. Beer, wine. Bargain.

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