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Central Food 0

Raduno Reaches for the Top

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For several years of its existence, Raduno Brick Oven & Barroom, located in Little Rock’s popular SoMa District, was just another restaurant. At least those were my sentiments. It always resided somewhere in the middle, not fantastic but certainly not a place I would go out of my way to recommend to others.

Well, times have changed, and so has Raduno.

The restaurant is far more than just a pizza joint. And while I have nothing against pizza-focused spots, Raduno has vaulted into the upper echelon of Little Rock restaurants through the fine-tuning and expanding of its menu. The kitchen has also been given a real jolt after the arrival of Chef Cash Ashley in January 2019. Chef has added fresh pasta to the menu, an otherwise non-existent item in our local dining scene. At Raduno, diners have the choice of Fettucine Alfredo, spaghetti and meatballs, and lasagna. One taste and you will never want to return to dry pasta.

The menu is chock-full of sandwich and pizza options, as well as a bevy of salads and appetizers. I am particularly fond of Raduno’s Caesar Salad, a straightforward offering with crisp romaine and an ample amount of grated Parmesan. The burrata appetizer, which comes with fresh mozzarella and cream, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Boulevard Bread sourdough, is a fan favorite, but so too are the meatballs. The beef and pork combination is spot-on, yielding an overall irresistible meal-starter.

On weekends, Raduno’s offers up a sandwich worthy of my Best Of Arkansas list. The Chicken Parmesan isn’t your run-of-the-mill version of an Italian classic. The monster-sized sandwich comes with a Panko breaded chicken breast, fresh mozzarella, marinara, basil, and Parmesan. Add some pesto-soaked focaccia and you’ve got yourself an amazing sandwich. Good luck finishing more than half of it. You’ll also want to save a little room for the wildly addictive strawberry pudding.

For drinks, Raduno serves up a full cocktail menu (when dine-in is available) and a draft beer list that is second to none.

I have not even mentioned the brunch service, which has plenty of buzz, thanks in large part to items like cinnamon rolls, the lox platter, French toast, and biscuits & gravy. During the pandemic, Raduno has also done a fabulous job with its family-style takeout meals, giving customers a ton of options (like pizza packs, family-size meatballs, feta, and burrata, and banana pudding) at a reasonable cost.

Put it all together—the execution, creativity, and consistency—and it’s easy to see why Raduno is now one of Little Rock’s top restaurants. Time will tell if it can maintain this status, but the talented staff and strong management team, coupled with a fun, creative menu, make for a recipe for long-term success.

Did You Know?

You can get 15% off your first online order with Raduno.

Raduno Brick Oven & Barroom
1318 S Main Street (Little Rock)
Phone: 501-374-7476
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Closed Monday

*pics of pizza and burrata courtesy of Dero

 

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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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