LGBTQ+ Little Rock, Arkansas | PASSPORT Magazine

Little Rock Central High School is in my opinion the most significant historic landmark in Little Rock.

If you want to know what makes Little Rock, Arkansas such a special place to visit, ask a local – and we did. Join us as we explore this beautiful and exciting destination with three unique people who live, work, play and create here. Little Rock is full of many wonderful things just waiting to be experienced and enjoyed. From unique local businesses to art galleries, museums, theaters, scenic tours, farm-to-fork restaurants and spectacular nature adventures, this is one of America’s true hidden gems.

Alex Smith (Photo by: Jenn Terrell)

ALEX SMITH
Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living?
I was born in South Korea then adopted by my family in Arkansas when I was barely three months old. I grew up between small stone and Hot Springs and attended the University of Arkansas before taking a small leap. An engineering school dropout turned cooking school graduate, that’s the best way to sum up my next few years. After returning to Little Rock and reconnecting with friends, The fold was born. I am currently co-owner and chef of the fun and vibrant Mexican-inspired restaurant located in a former gas station.

If you moved from somewhere else, what influenced your decision to move here?
I lived in Hyde Park, New York finishing my degree at Culinary Institute of America before returning to Little Rock. Proximity to my family was the main motivation for moving. Being able to be part of the growing restaurant scene in Little Rock proved to be an added bonus.

What are the most popular dishes on the menu at The Fold?
The most popular item on the entire menu is our Diablo Shrimp Tacos. Our queso is, of course, a very close second. One of our most covered menu items when it comes to media attention is the Bison Burrito. It was one of the star dishes when Guy Fieri came Little Rock for dinners, Drive-ins and Dives. And you can’t have the full Fold experience without adding an award-winning Fold Margarita to your meal.

When you have an evening off, where do you go for dinner and a drink?
I try to pick my dinner and drink outings by neighborhood. If I stay near my home in CreteI usually go to one or the other ciao baci (for the cheeseburger) or The pantry crest (for the pantry). If I’m heading towards Somahis Raduno Brick Oven and bar room (Salsicca pizza or other brunch) and Loblolly ice cream for dessert. Get the strawberry buttermilk ice cream if it’s in season. In Riverdale, if it ain’t The Fold, then it must be At Maddie’s for fried chicken and mac and cheese. A little further west, and the choice is Table 28. They have some of the most innovative dishes in town. In the East Village, I will go to marshalling yard for food trucks and Count Porkula Where Fidel & Co. for coffee just down the street.

Which attractions or cultural events are must-sees for visitors to Small stone?
Little Rock Central High School is in my opinion the most significant historic landmark in Little Rock. The William J. Clinton Library and Museum always has rotating exhibitions in addition to their permanent collections. The Robinson Center Music Center always has an exceptional line-up of events. Rock Town Distillery in Soma offers great cocktail classes and guided tours/tastings.

A friend is coming to Little Rock for the first time… Please describe the perfect weekend.
A reservation at Capital Hotel for accommodation. For dinner on Friday evening, go to Riverdale for dinner and drinks at The fold sure. The next day, I would start with a brunch at The corner down the street from the capital before heading to either Pinnacle Mountain State Park or the Great Dam Bridge. Then head to Hillcrest for dinner at ciao baci Where The pantry crest. End the evening with cocktails on the Capital Hotel’s ‘Porch’, a beautiful upstairs balcony in the heart of downtown. Rounding out the weekend, the Sunday Brunch at Raduno is amazing (be sure to make reservations). The cucumber mimosa or a Bloody Mary with the benedict risotto cake are my favorites. After brunch, I took a tour of the distillery at rocky town (don’t forget to take a bottle on the way out). End the afternoon with an ice cream at Loblolly and a bit of shopping in some of the great local stores (Pink Olive, Moxy, Electric Ghost, M2 Gallery, Sweet Home Furnishings, Esse Purse Museum & Store) before going home.

What are the best places to really enjoy the natural beauty of The area?
The top of Pinnacle Mountain has some of the best views in town. You have the choice between several routes depending on the level of difficulty you are looking for. The Big Dam Bridge is the longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge in North America I believe. It’s the connection to miles of scenic trails as well as various parks and attractions. If you are a cyclist, it is almost a must to go.

What’s your favorite time of year in Little Rock and why?
Spring and/or fall. Fingers in the nose. It’s the perfect time to enjoy some of the best outdoor dining in town as well as all the wonderful outdoor activities Little Rock has to offer.

What is a souvenir to bring back for friends or family?
It’s too hard to choose just one! A Little Rock t-shirt from AR-T’s. A bottle of anything from Rock Town. Depending on the season, a bag of local produce from one of the many local farmers markets. A loaf of bread Bakery Bakery (Pagnotta or a baguette are my favorites). Coffee of Fidel & Co.. Anything from Domestic Domestic.

Please finish this sentence: Don’t leave Little Rock without…
Really discover the different neighborhoods. Each gives you a unique perspective of what Little Rock has to offer.

Ask a Local | LGBTQ+ Little Rock, Arkansas was last modified: August 31, 2022 by Rob Sachristan

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