In our Lunching in Little Rock blog series, Michael Kirkpatrick will explore and review the city’s best restaurants – all in time to get back to the office. This week, Michael ate lunch at Cache Restaurant & Lounge.

The season to celebrate is over. Unfortunately for our house, the happiest time of the year is also the busiest. Both my wife and I were working late, going to Christmas concerts, basketball practices and everything else you can cram in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m not complaining, but sometimes it felt like I only saw my wife in passing. I thought we should go for a nice lunch date and kick off the new year right. What better place than Cache and their over-the-top service and delicious food?

Cache has made a name for itself in the relatively short time it has been open in the River Market. The restaurant is in the middle of the action and the large glass wall facing the street lets you keep an eye on everything. But it’s not just the street that will keep you entertained, the kitchen is totally exposed with glass as well. It is almost impossible not to watch Chef Payne Harding and his team at work. The lunch menu is smaller and very affordable for the atmosphere, service and quality of food.

On this cold day, our coats are taken and we are swiftly seated. We hear the specials, but due to the weather, we only want their shrimp and grits appetizer to warm us up. Stylish Leigh orders a stylish wedge salad and I stuck with the simple BLT. The wedge is elegant – what a way to present a salad. The BLT is stacked high with bacon and the bread is soft and buttery. The chips on the side are house-made and I had a hard time sharing them with my wife.

Although it was over fast and we had to get back to work, it was still a great getaway with a wonderful woman. Cache has a way of making things exceptional even if it’s just for a quick lunch. Try it this week as a kickoff to your new year.

Side note: Complimentary valet service is offered at night, so be sure to take advantage of it. It would be nice at lunch, especially on a sub-zero temperature day.