As a wine destination, Little Rock may not have the clout of a Napa or Sonoma, but a recent string of wine awards for local restaurants shine light on the city’s vibrant wine scene.
In June, west Little Rock restaurant Petit & Keet was named to Wine Enthusiast magazine’s list of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants. The restaurant’s wine program is managed by sommelier Susie Long, the only woman in Arkansas to achieve the rank of Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Over her two-year tenure at Petit & Keet, she’s grown the restaurant’s wine program to include weekly wine specials including educational wine classes and exotic wine flights that allow guests to drink outside their comfort zone.
When we caught up with her to ask her about the award, she was quick to point out that Little Rock, as a city, is crazy about wine. “The whole city is going through this wine ‘growth spurt,’” she said, “people are excited about wine and they’re wanting to learn more about it and try something new… It makes my job a lot more fun when I can introduce someone to something they’ve never had before.”
The wine awards don’t just end there, however. In July, two Little Rock restaurants, Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse in west Little Rock and SO Restaurant-Bar in Hillcrest were awarded the “Best of” Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator magazine. This was Arthur’s third consecutive year to win the award and SO’s fourth.
The wine lists of both restaurants are known not only for their depth, but for their incredible diversity, bringing wines from around the world together at tables right here in Little Rock. At Arthur’s, known statewide for their excellent steaks, cabernets from Napa and the famous wines of Bordeaux offer diners the perfect complement to a night on the town. At SO, where fresh ingredients meet modern preparations, guests can select from a wine list that spans the globe, offering an impressive range of white and sparkling wines.
Whether you’re a wine novice or you’ve been collecting bottles for years, Little Rock’s best restaurant wine lists offer you a chance to taste the world, one glass at a time.
Photo credit: Petit & Keet @petitandkeet on Instagram