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Argenta is the historic downtown area of North Little Rock, and it’s a fabulous place to spend a summer Saturday. You’ll find it bustling and friendly, a distinct small-town feel with some wonderful surprises. Here are some favorite spots to shop, eat, and play along the way.
Start off your morning bright and early at the local farmer’s market. It’s open from 7:00 am – noon every Saturday, so you can go later, but the early birds get their pick of the produce. This market is also called the Certified Arkansas Farmer’s Market, which is an important distinction: all products offered at this market are grown and produced in-state. Enjoy live music and visiting with farmers as you shop seasonal fruits and veggies, just-picked flowers, and handmade goods from soaps to jellies to flavored vinegars. Parking lot at the corner of 7th and Main.
You’ll be hungry by now, so make a beeline for breakfast at Mugs Café. This neighborhood coffee shop is always a great stop for drinks, breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon snack, but folks line up out the door on Saturday mornings for their all you can eat pancakes for just $5. They have regular and a special flavor each weekend till they run out: recent features include Blueberry Pecan, Cinnamon Roll, and Bourbon Apple Bacon. No sweet tooth? Try an omelet, breakfast tacos, or biscuits and gravy topped with scrambled eggs and green onions. 515 Main St., 501-379-9101
Spark your creativity by wandering through this treasure trove; you’ll be hard-pressed to see it all. Colorful Argenta Bead is filled to the brim with every kind of bead and bauble you can imagine, plus anything else you need to create jewelry and other beading crafts. That includes the staff, who call themselves the “Bead Chicks”; they’re super-helpful and friendly, ready to assist you in making your next masterpiece. 703 Main St., 501-537-0928
How about a new do? Come relax and freshen yourself up a bit at Chop. Four stylists await you: Patrick, Melanie, Kate, and Whitney, and you’ll enjoy the relaxed, friendly air here as much as your cut, color, or style. Plus, the walls are covered with beautiful, vibrant artwork from local artist Jayon DeSilva. Peruse the pieces, you might even find one you want to take home with you! 322 Main St., 501-375-5555
Enjoy searching for artsy or vintage finds? You’ll love Galaxy Furniture, because you never know what’s waiting around the next corner. It’s an eclectic mix: used office furniture, vintage and new clothing, old glassware, records, and knick-knacks of all shapes and sizes. You can wander through this large store for a good long while, or sit out front in one of the ever-changing sets of chairs on display. Catch the owner, Wayne, and he’ll be sure to tell you a story and try to make you a deal. 304 Main St., 501-375-DESK
Refresh yourself with a beer, or lunch, or both at Argenta’s neighborhood brewery. Diamond Bear has been making beer locally for about 15 years, and recently moved into new digs and expanded to include a restaurant that serves appetizers, sandwiches, soups, wings, and desserts. You can sample their beer offerings, take a brewery tour, peruse their adorable merchandise, or just relax on their patio. They host a lot of fun community events, check out their Facebook page to find the next one. 600 N. Broadway, 501-708-2337
Step back in time at the oldest continuously operating drugstore west of the Mississippi. You can find greeting cards, packaged snacks and drinks, and a heaping dose of nostalgia here. Grab an ice cream bar from the freezer at the front, and be sure to Instagram yourself in front of the Coca-Cola wall outside. 324 Main St., 501-374-4851
What’s The Joint? It might be easier to tell you what it isn’t. This coffee shop/comedy club also serves a full range of cocktails and hosts live music and improv nights. You can order a light breakfast or lunch (think pastries, deli sandwiches, fruit) and sit in their cute alley-turned-patio while you use their free Wifi. In addition, there is always an original theater show running performed by The Main Thing, a brilliantly funny comedy trio. You don’t want to miss them, as you are guaranteed to laugh.
Headed to an event in Argenta? A little worn out from all your Saturday fun? Sit and enjoy a lovely glass of wine or beer and a charcuterie plate at Crush. The atmosphere is as much a draw as their extensive wine selection; this is the perfect quiet spot to have a date or meet friends for conversation. You won’t be rushed, and the staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and ready to recommend. If the weather is nice, sit out back on the patio among the grapevines. 318 Main St., 501-374-9463
If you’re familiar with central Arkansas restaurants, you probably recognize the last name of Donny Ferneau, who has headed up several local places and is known for serving beautiful and delicious food. His latest venture is Good Food, a take-and-eat meal service based in Argenta. However, on the weekends, GFBF is also open for dinner and has a full bar. It’s a chic spot, hardly what you’d expect to find on a quiet Main Street in North Little Rock. Fancy yourself up a bit and settle in for the evening – it’s sure to be lovely.
Capeo has been an Argenta mainstay since 2003, opening early in the recent years of downtown revitalization. It serves a full range of excellent Italian food – you can stick to appetizers and simpler pastas, or choose heavier, more expensive entrees – so it can be an great choice whether you want a simple weekend dinner or are looking for a really special occasion. Plus, the building itself is beautiful inside and out. 425 Main St., 501-376-3463
What’s more summer than baseball? Finish out the day and take in a game at Dickey-Stephens Park, a beautiful facility that’s home to the Arkansas Travelers. You’re sure to enjoy the game and a lovely view of downtown Little Rock as the sun goes down. 400 West Broadway, 501-664-1555
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