Little Rock has long been known for its thriving restaurant scene, but any local will tell you that Little Rock eats as well as it does because of a league of incredible female cooks and restaurateurs. The women behind Little Rock’s restaurant scene are myriad, but here are five whose contribution to the city is worth a second bite.
Blair Wallace, Ciao Baci
Little Rock native Blair Wallace has a long history in the city’s hospitality industry. When she first began working at Ciao Baci right after college, it was her first introduction to the world of fine dining, specialty cocktails, and fine wine. Later in life, when she had the chance to buy the restaurant she loved, she knew she couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Ciao Baci is a Little Rock institution known for welcoming locals and visitors alike into its cozy dining room. Here’s a little pro tip for you: Ciao Baci’s nightly Chef’s Tasting menu (four-courses for $45) just might be one of the best deals in Little Rock.
Matcha Norwood, Cinnalightful
If you’ve ever been to a local restaurant that has a mouthwatering dessert, the chances are that Matcha Norwood baked it. A Surinam native, Matcha’s Cinnalightful bakery keeps Little Rockers on a near-constant sugar high with her handmade creations. An online store makes ordering easier than ever. Trust us, you’ll never go wrong with one of her jumbo cinnamon rolls!
Lisa Zhang, Three Fold Noodles & Dumpling Co.
It’s no secret that Three Fold’s shui jiao dumplings have developed a cult-like following among Little Rock diners. Lisa and her family emigrated from China to Arkansas in 1999 and, after a successful corporate career, she enrolled at the Art Institute of Dallas’ culinary school to study American regional cuisine. Today, Three Fold, which she runs with her daughter Rebecca, is a downtown mainstay, and we can’t imagine Little Rock without it.
Capi Peck, Trio’s
As a City Director and the former president of the Arkansas Restaurant Association, Capi Peck has been a strong advocate for Little Rock’s food scene since she opened her restaurant Trio’s in 1986. Her menu is loaded with Little Rock favorites, but any local will tell you that spring means one thing: the return of Capi’s iconic strawberry shortcake.
There are more women-led restaurants in Little Rock than just these. Take some time to explore them all, and get ready to find your next favorite dish.