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Central Food 0

Lunchtime at Cheers in the Heights

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Cheers in the Heights is a true neighborhood restaurant. Tucked back off Kavanaugh Boulevard on Van Buren Street, this popular spot in Little Rock has that hole-in-the-wall charm and character so many restaurants nowadays lack. The space is cozy, and that goes for both the inside and the covered outdoor dining area. I have always been a fan of restaurants that adorn their walls with works of local art, and Cheers does just that. Vibrant colors are everywhere. On a side note, art enthusiasts, like me, will be tempted to purchase more than just food and drink at the restaurant.

On this warm, summer afternoon, we opted to eat indoors, and, looking for an item that leaned towards the lighter side, I went with the Grilled Salmon Salad. As you will read in a bit, my daughter chose another, slightly higher caloric path. Cheers has a wonderful selection of ten salads on its menu, including the Cheers Spinach Salad with purple onion, Mandarin oranges, strawberries, Parmesan, and black olives, as well as the wildly popular Chopped Salmon Salad with arugula, hardwood smoked salmon, dried cranberries, feta, sunflower seeds, dried sweet corn, and cous cous with pesto buttermilk dressing.

Even with all of these great options, the Grilled Salmon Salad always calls my name. The combination of romaine lettuce and fresh spinach, along with dried cranberries, cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, onions, and sugared pecans awakens my taste buds with bold, citrus and acidic flavors. Also, who doesn’t love a hint of sweetness and the added bonus of crunch from the pecans? A sizable piece of grilled salmon, served warm, tops things off. The salad is filling but not heavy, which is exactly what I typically look for during the lunchtime hours.

If salads are not your thing, Cheers has an equally impressive selection of sandwiches. The B.L.T., Reuben, and Prime Rib Sandwich highlight this section of the menu, but so too does the Albuquerque Turkey with sliced turkey, melted cheese, Cattleman’s sauce, and guacamole.  With its creativity and execution, this is definitely one of the best sandwiches in town.

Under the entrée section, Cheers has a nice variety of seafood dishes like halibut, fried oysters, seabass and scallops, as well as a hearty plate of pasta known as Pasta Orleans. My daughter ordered the latter and was gracious enough to let me have a few bites. As most folks can attest, there is nothing not to like about penne pasta soaked in a rich, Creole cream sauce. Fortunately for my waistline, she polished off the rest. I heard zero complaints from her side of the table.

Our server tried to tempt us with a hunk of carrot cake, but sounder minds prevailed. Maybe we will come back to dinner soon and try it then. As for now, lunch at Cheers in the Heights really hit the spot.

Cheers to that!

Cheers in the Heights
2010 N Van Buren St (Little Rock)
Phone: 501-663-5937
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9:30 a.m.; Closed Sunday

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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and two daughters, Natalie (12) and Sydney (7). He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, seven years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for almost five years. During that time, he’s written for Little Rock Soiree, Rock City Eats, Treatsie, and Bourbon and Boots.

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