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kBird, the Thai restaurant located on the corner of Tyler and Woodlawn in Little Rock, isn’t much to look at from the outside. Truth be told, the interior isn’t much better. But what the popular restaurant lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in charm, and, above all else, outstanding food. This is thanks in large part to the talents of owner and lead cook Richard Glasgow.
Upon entering the no-frills former residence, you will notice Glasgow banging away in the open kitchen. A co-worker chops papaya and tends to some rice. There is one person on the register. It is a toy register, the same model my oldest daughter played with many moons ago. Just above the counter hangs the menu, a small, 15-item offering that is written on the back of several cut-out grocery store bags.
This is kBird, where everything is simple and straightforward.
You place your order, and you get your own water and silverware. You pick up your food, and you clean up after yourself. In between, you eat some of the best Thai food in the country.
It is that simple.
Glasgow does things his way. This includes limited hours for the restaurant, much to the dismay of some folks who can’t seem to get enough of his food. He even closes kBird for a full month at the beginning of the year to spend time in Thailand.
At kBird, the food takes center stage. Savvy diners, like me, know the smart move is to call in a to-go order or arrive when the door opens at 11 a.m. Take a friend or two, order a few dishes, and experience kBird’s food family-style.
Everything on the limited menu is fantastic, but I recommend the Green Papaya Salad and the Chicken Pad Thai. The former includes a pile of fresh, meticulously sliced papaya with tomatoes and peanuts, along with a delicate sauce. The dish is a perfect balance of sweet, salty, spicy, and sour flavors. kBird’s red and green curries are also fan favorites, as is the P.P.K. (Pad Phrik King), a pork-based dish with red curry paste, long bean, and green peppercorn. Just be sure to save a little room for dessert. kBird’s wildly popular Fresh Mango with Coconut Sticky Rice is a light and refreshing way to cap off the meal. All of the dishes run between $10-$12, which is an excellent value, especially considering the time, love, and expertise that went into preparing the food.
Little Rock is home to some outstanding restaurants, and I would put the food coming out of Glasgow’s kitchen at the very top. I know a lot of folks would agree.
Just arrive early.
Did You Know?
The restaurant offers 3-course, fixed menu dinners on Thursday nights for $19. Each Friday night is kBird’s Khantoke Dinner. This reservation-only dinner is $49 per person and includes 12+ dishes (none on the regular menu) served family-style.
600 N Tyler St (Little Rock)
Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Thursday 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
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