Lunching in Little Rock: Cathead’s Diner


In our Lunching in Little Rock blog series, Michael Kirkpatrick will explore and review the best restaurants in Little Rock and its surrounding area – all in time to get back to the office. This week, Michael ate lunch at the brand-new Cathead’s Diner.

Work is hard. Life is hard. When the two of them collide, things can feel overwhelming quickly! I try not to eat my feelings, but a great meal can turn a bad morning into a good afternoon. That’s why it’s called comfort food. The newly opened Cathead’s Diner is now serving beloved classics with a little twist.

Situated in the mixed-used development of Little Rock’s East Village, Cathead’s Diner is located in an old paint factory. The airy and open interior is well lit and comfortable. Upon entering, your table is pointed out, but you actually line up cafeteria-style to order. Chef Donnie Ferneau was there to take our order and make special recommendations. Donnie was legitimately happy to see us, asking how we heard about it, telling us about his offerings, and you could tell he was excited. His passion was obviously poured into the food and that made me excited about the whole experience.

The outside of Cathead's Diner in the East Village. Photo by Michael Kirkpatrick for AY's Lunching in Little Rock

You have the choice of meat and three sides and he suggested that we have a bit of both proteins since it was the grand opening. So, Leigh and I both had the freshly smoked pulled pork and fried chicken. The fried chicken was so tender and the batter was light, leaving you feeling full, fresh and ready to return to work energized, rather than sleepy and sluggish. The sides were a celebration of delicious Southern nutrition. Pimento mac and cheese, Arkansas purple hull peas, cabbage with smoked bacon and show-stealing mashed potatoes accompanied the entree. The meats were placed on top of the potatoes. The chicken gravy and pulled pork sauce was allowed to drip down on the hand-smashed spuds.

Before you leave the line, carefully study the beautiful baked delights made by head baker Kelli Marks. We could not pass them up; Leigh had the chocolate pie and I chose the strawberry donut.

The delightful and relaxing setting, amazing flavors of familiar comfort food and lovely company made for a memorable lunch in the middle of a hectic day. This week, head to Cathead’s Diner for breakfast, brunch or lunch.

READ MORE: Get your fill of Lunching in Little Rock » 

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