Call it the “best of the west” — the westernmost region of Little Rock, from the bustling Chenal neighborhoods all the way down to the wooded streets of Otter Creek, has some of Little Rock’s premier living, shopping and recreation options. It is worth exploring in every sense of the word, whether one is hiking the trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, partaking in retail therapy at the Promenade at Chenal or sampling the menu at places like City Silo, Izzy’s and the newly opened Buttered Biscuit. More than just a place to visit, however, this fast-growing area of town has some of the most sought-after housing in Little Rock thanks to its beautifully planned neighborhoods, ample green space and access to country clubs and other amenities.

 

Food

YaYa’s Euro Bistro

17711 Chenal Parkway

Not your Southern grandma’s cookin’: With its convenient location at the Promenade, YaYa’s Euro Bistro is the ideal spot for a mid-shopping tapas break, happy hour hangout or date night dinner. The restaurant’s founder took inspiration from his well-traveled Greek grandmother, making the menu a refreshing European tour for our stateside taste buds. YaYa’s has a collection of staples and “bistro specials” such as YaYa’s roasted chicken, but the small plates are what really make the place sing. Seafood lovers can enjoy shrimp a la plancha, citrusy lump crab cakes and fried calamari with gazpacho aioli. Round out the table with options like chicken piadini with hummus or classic bruschetta with wood-fired goat cheese.

 

TO DRINK: YaYa’s lemon drop martini

 

Chicken Salad Chick

17400 Chenal Parkway

Certified chick magnet: This Southern picnic icon need not be the exclusive domain of church potlucks and baby showers, especially when Chicken Salad Chick serves creative spins that even the mayonnaise-averse can appreciate. As the popular chain’s only Little Rock location, the Chicken Salad Chick on Chenal is a go-to for a quick and easy, light lunch. Try any combination of scoops, including the classic Olivia’s Old South and savory Lauryn’s Lemon Basil, or be more adventurous with the Kickin’ Kay Lynne. Far from a one-trick pony, the pimento cheese and egg salad also make great sandwich options.

 

ON THE SIDE: What else? More salad, of the broccoli, grape or pasta variety.

 

U.S. Pizza Co., Chenal

12 Rahling Circle

Patriotic pies: There is a lot to love about U.S. Pizza Co, an Arkansas native pizzeria chain. The scratch-made thin crust pizzas have delighted diners since 1972, the “WORLD FAMOUS” creamy Italian dressing seems to go with everything on the menu. The atmosphere at the Chenal location only makes things better and has excellent patio dining fit for a gameday or brunch date. Real fans know that a trip to U.S. Pizza is far from complete without one of the restaurany’s heaping salad supremes. A bevy of specialty pizzas such as Judy’s Favorite, plus inventive brunch options like the certified hangover cure Sleepy Dragon, make U.S. Pizza an easy choice.

 

NOT INTO ‘ZA? That is OK— the sandwiches are made to order in the stone hearth oven too.

 

The Toasted Yolk

17406 Chenal Parkway

#brunchlife: The Toasted Yolk entered the Arkansas market with its Chenal location, and the Natural State has been happy to embrace this vibrant breakfast, lunch and brunch spot ever since. From the bar to the patio, picturesque breakfast favorites abound, making for a social media worthy Sunday brunch. Sweet starters like the churro style donuts go well with savory plates such as the Southern fried Arnold (a take on eggs Benedict), and there is a scramble, sandwich or stack of pancakes for every palate in between.

 

ADVENTUROUS APP: Fried banana peppers

Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse and Oceans at Arthur’s

16100 Chenal Parkway

Fit for a king: Little Rock restaurant icon Jerry Barakat has not one, but two heavy-hitters on this list, because it is nigh impossible to pick between the premier steakhouse of the South and the seafood restaurant putting a landlocked state on the map. Arthur’s Prime is known for its selection of hard-to-find favorites such as dry-aged prime cuts, Australian wagyu and certified Japanese Kobe. On the surf side, Oceans has options at every stop on the raw to cooked spectrum, from sushi rolls and bowls to char-grilled oysters to fish and chips.

 

WINE AND DINE: Arthur’s has a Wine Spectator-approved collection; in between the private vaults in the cellar is a space for upscale entertaining.

Red Moon Tavern

6015 Chenonceau Blvd.

Patio perfection: The interior speaks to Red Moon’s “tavern” billing, but as soon as weather permits, the red-umbrellaed tables and outdoor seating areas makes the patio the place to be. Handcrafted cocktails pair well with a mouthwatering rotation of small plates, while indulgent sides, hearty mains and specialty pizzas round out the menu. Start with the shrimp and grits, or go straight for the seafood gumbo. The blackened chicken, served with grilled corn salad and crawfish mac and cheese, is another noteworthy choice, but diners would be remiss not to inquire about the season’s latest pizza offering and give it a try.

 

FINISH WITH: Pecan cobbler

 

SITES

BoBrook Farms

13810 Combee Lane (Roland)

Country bumpkin: Family owned and -operated since 1994, BoBrook Farms is a picturesque country setting just past Little Rock’s crown jewel, Pinnacle Mountain. The 300-acre farm, hosts thousands of visitors each year and grows crops such as blueberries, blackberries, muscadines and pumpkins. BoBrook is also home to River Bottom Winery, where visitors can enjoy tastings, live music, and a rotation of seasonal and holiday events. In the fall, the pumpkin patch becomes one of the most sought-after spots in central Arkansas when families trek out to enjoy hayrides, piglet races, a sunflower field in full bloom and visits with a few resident farm animals.

 

Beyond Wellness

23816 Chenal Parkway

Made to thrive: Rejuvenation is the name of the game at Beyond Wellness, Little Rock’s total health destination. With interest in functional medicine growing by the day, the facility offers everything from IV therapy and microneedling to weight management and the increasingly popular pellet hormone therapy. Refined touches and
cutting-edge treatment rooms create an atmosphere that feels sophisticated without being stuffy. Beyond Wellness gives central Arkansans access to a level of care traditionally reserved for the likes of coastal health hubs like Los Angeles close to home.

chenal

The Promenade at Chenal

17711 Chenal Parkway

All shop, no drop: The Promenade at Chenal opened in 2008 and was designed to be the retail, restaurant and entertainment anchor for one of the fastest-growing areas of the city. Over a decade in, the Promenade has become the heartbeat of that side of town and boasts the state’s only Apple Store and Urban Outfitters. Retail tenants are not the only reason to shop Chenal, however. Restaurants such as A.W. Lin’s, Local Lime and Sullivan’s Steakhouse, plus an AMC theater, make it easy to turn a visit to the Promenade into a whole-day affair.

Pinnacle Monument Trails. Photo by Jared Sorrells for GH Studios. © Garrett Hubbard 2020

Pinnacle Mountain State Park

9600 Arkansas 300 (Roland)

Peak-ing’ interest: One of the last stops before the landscape opens up into the Ouachita Mountains — and the
second-highest natural point in Pulaski County — reaching the 1,011-foot summit of Pinnacle Mountain is basically a rite of passage for residents and visitors alike. There are plenty of friendly faces on the more popular West Summit Trail, while the East Summit Trail offers a challenging route to the top for more experienced hikers and fitness enthusiasts. The state park has plenty to offer down below, as well, with access to the Big and Little Maumelle Rivers, the Arkansas Arboretum and more than 14 miles of mountain biking trails. The newly built visitor’s center is an architectural marvel of its own, and the exhibits inside make for a great introduction to one of the Natural State’s favorite attractions.

Wildwood Park for the Arts

20919 Denny Road

All the (natural) world’s a stage: Tucked away off the unassuming County Road 40 is a beloved community gathering space. Wildwood Park for the Arts was made for celebrating arts and culture of all kinds, from the performing and visual to the musical and horticultural. The park is home to a host of botanical gardens, trails, Swan Lake and the Butler Arboretum, which contains the largest collection of native woodland azaleas in the region. Wildwood welcomes visitors for plays, festivals, concerts and showcases throughout the year. As a nonprofit, the park’s programming and maintenance falls mainly upon the strength of its volunteers, donors and other staunch community supporters, making the space a true labor of love.

 

Two Rivers Park

6900 Two Rivers Park Road

Between the waters: Down and east from Pinnacle Mountain sits a 1,000-acre tract of picturesque peninsula between the Arkansas and Little Maumelle rivers. Two Rivers Park, like much of the abundant green space to be found around Little Rock, offers outdoor activities to suit any mood, including paved and primitive trails for biking, hiking or running, a canoe launch, and plenty of space to fish, paddle or go wildlife watching. County residents can also rent garden tracts at the Pulaski County Garden Center. In 2023, Two Rivers Park became the home of the state’s largest inclusive playground, an accessible space for children of all abilities to enjoy.

Rock Town River Outfitters Boat House

4420 River Mountain Road

(Little) Rock the boat: Rock Town River Outfitters enjoys the distinction of being the capital city’s first Arkansas River outfitter and first mountain bike rental service, and its guided excursions provide a unique look at the city and its history. While best known for its downtown bike shop in the River Market and sunset tours at the Rock City Yacht Club, Rock Town River Outfitters will offer even more ways to experience the river later this year. Single and tandem kayak, fishing kayak and standup paddleboard rentals will be available from the River Mountain Park location along the Little Maumelle River.

 

EVENTS:

Moss Mountain Farm

Guided lunch tours

23700 Ross Hollow Road (Roland)

Lunch and learn: As the manicured country home of one of the nation’s most talented and renowned garden designers — the Natural State’s own P. Allen Smith — Moss Mountain Farm brings in scores of home and garden enthusiasts on the regular. The experience includes a guided tour through Smith’s three-story Greek Revival-style home, Allen’s Terrace Garden, the Hidden Rose Garden, Hydrangea Allée and the vegetable garden, followed by a seasonal farm-to-table lunch and visits with farm animals. Reserve a spot ahead of time, and explore the place where traditional aesthetics, organic gardening and practical design meet.

 

Pinnacle Mountain State Park

9600 Arkansas 300 (Roland)

Put it in park: From educational hikes and plant workshops to kayak floats and fishing derbies, the folks at Pinnacle Mountain State Park make it easy to jump in and enjoy the best of the Natural State. Annual events of note include the Great Backyard Bird Count, a nationwide community science event each February, and National Astronomy Day with the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society, which is typically in April or May. The park also offers Casting 101 to kick off the state’s Free Fishing Weekend, as well as a beginner’s kayaking class to help get newbies started on their outdoor adventures. There is no wrong place to start — check the Arkansas State Parks website for the latest calendar additions.

 

Natural Steps Sports Complex

11101 Arkansas 300 (Roland)

Kick back and enjoy: The fields at the Natural Steps Sports Complex can often be found buzzing with activity owing to a healthy rotation of youth soccer matches, lacrosse games and ultimate frisbee outings. Thanks to a slightly darker sky view than Pinnacle and a clear horizon to the south and west, Natural Steps also makes a great location for the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society’s star parties.

 

Christmas Tree Lighting at the Promenade

17711 Chenal Parkway

A star in the west: The capital city is always aglow for the winter season, and the annual Christmas tree lighting at the Promenade is one of those cannot-miss happenings that helps ring in the holidays. As one of Little Rock’s marquee tree lightings, there is no shortage of caroling, treats, hot chocolate and all-around Christmas cheer to facilitate a festive musical and light display. While the tree itself takes center stage at the shopping center, every storefront at the Promenade gets decked out in its best and brightest holiday decor come winter time.

chenal little rock

Real Estate

With more than 50 years in the industry, Dennis Adkins, owner of Adkins & Associates Real Estate, has had a front row seat to the development of the capital city’s westernmost reaches. Two of Chenal’s newest subdivisions include Corlay and Caurel, and homes sold in the areas last year came in anywhere from 2,500-3,500 square feet with price tags predominantly in the $600,000 to $800,000 range. The homes tend to feature all of the top-dollar new construction one would expect for $200 per square foot — high ceilings, gorgeous kitchens, capacious rooms, and garage and closet space to spare. The quality of the builds themselves, paired with neighborhood amenities and the views around Pinnacle Mountain, have made this an in-demand area for those able to spend dream home money. Some residents include people moving out of older parts of west Little Rock, but Adkins added, “you’re also seeing a lot of people transferring in for jobs here, people with families. They’re coming in and want the new neighborhood and to be in Chenal. So you’re seeing both of those.”

 

Hidden Gems

Chenal: William Kirsch Preserve

The best places are almost always hard to find, and like Knoop Park in midtown, the Nature Conservancy’s William Kirsch Preserve exists virtually untouched or even thought about by almost all the thousands of drivers who pass to its south each day on Cantrell Road.

chenal William Kirsch Preserve

Located at the very back of the Ranch residential development and along 1.7 miles of the Little Maumelle River, the Kirsch Preserve offers a beautiful open meadow environment with 3.5 miles of hard-packed dirt and gravel trails through field and forest. There are fishing piers, picnic areas, canoe and kayak put-ins, and even two canoes available to borrow.

 

Plus, the 234 acres of mostly open, golden meadow afford one of the best views of Pinnacle Mountain.

 

What: William Kirsch Preserve in Ranch North Woods

Owner/managing agency: The Nature Conservancy

Open: Dusk to dawn

Where: 8803 Ranch Blvd., Little Rock

Directions: Headed west on Cantrell Road/Arkansas 10, take a right on Ranch Boulevard and keep going until the street empties into a gravel parking lot. The preserve entrance is on the left.