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I have been to Brood & Barley at least a dozen times over the past year, which is no small number for me. Yes, I pride myself in visiting as many different restaurants as possible, but Brood & Barley is just that good. And frankly, it might very well be the best restaurant addition in Central Arkansas over the past few years.
The gastropub stationed in the heart of North Little Rock’s Argenta District has played an integral role in the neighborhood’s revitalization, thanks in large part to a fun, casual atmosphere, top notch service, and an approachable menu filled with elevated takes on many of the classics.
First things first, let’s talk about Brood & Barley’s Happy Hour. It runs daily from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. and features a wide variety of drink and food specials. The $5 Small Bites menu includes items like fried banana peppers and pretzel nuggets. For a few more bucks, try out the Philly sliders, steamed mussels, and The Gator Dog. There are also $6 craft cocktails, $6 on select wines, and half-price on select draft beers. Opt for the Proper Pils, a slow-pour beer that’s light, crisp, and refreshing, but does take 5-10 minutes to hit the table because of the pouring process.
Admittedly, most of my time at the restaurant has come in the evening hours, but they do offer a sizable lunch menu with a focus on handhelds. Go with any of their smashburgers or the Little Philly, a smaller, lunch-sized portion of the nighttime Legit Cheesesteak. Comprised of shaved ribeye, onions, and cheese sauce on a toasted roll, the cheesesteak has quickly become Brood’s signature item and serves its purpose of transporting diners to Philadelphia. It really is legit, and although I’ve yet to try Chef Brayan McFadden’s new Pounded Pork or Pastrami sandwiches, I have no doubt those are, as well.
For dinner, start things off with the Meat My Cheese Board. Best shared with 2-4 eaters, this charcuterie board rivals any in the area and is sure to tickle your palette with varying sweet, salty, and spicy flavors. You name it and this board has it—honeycomb, pickles, peppers, gator sausage, duck ham, and various cheeses and nuts, just to name a few. If you’re posting up at the bar with a mate, this board and a beer make for a great evening as you watch a game. The Shush Fries with melted asiago, Pierogies & Crawfish, and Tribute Wings are all winning meal starters as well. The latter are fried duck wings, a longer, leaner version of their chicken counterpart.
It’s easy to get caught up with the apps, but make sure to save some room for entrees. The grilled salmon lightens things up a bit, but the Raclette Burger, a tableside, cheese-drenched monstrosity is as tasty as it is visually appealing.
Truth be told, you really can’t go wrong with anything at Brood & Barley. And trust me, I should know. I’m wearing the place out, and for good reason, as it continues to shine.
Now go find out for yourself.
Did You Know?
Brood & Barley has a $45, 4-course Beer Tasting Menu that is available each night.
Brood & Barley
411 N Main St. (North Little Rock)
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight; Closed Sunday
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