Lunching in Little Rock: Capital Bar & Grill with Gov. Asa Hutchinson


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 Capital Bar & Grill.

There are some places that may seem intimidating or stuffy, but then you find that they are the complete opposite. The Capital Bar & Grill in the legendary Capital Hotel may seem unapproachable for a relaxing lunch, but the staff makes it the most hospitable dining experience. Similarly, my lunch guest made me a little nervous (he arrived in a motorcade with security) but lunching with Gov. Asa Hutchinson was a delightful occasion.

From beginning to end, the Capital Bar & Grill provides top-notch service and style. The valet meets you at your car, the door is opened, and you are welcomed into the restaurant. The staff even sat me at the best table in the corner before knowing the identity of my guest.

The governor carries himself much the same way. Tall and slim, with an outstretched hand and big smile, his presence is immediately calming. He and my friend and strategist, Jon Gilmore, join me at the corner table. Gov. Hutchinson politely asks the waiter for an espresso and he obliges by going across the hall to One Eleven. I ask about the governor’s schedule and he tells me about early mornings filled with 30-minute meetings stacked back to back. I’m honored that he took an hour out of his day to spend with me. As soon as the coffee came, the man bearing the weight of the state began to relax for a moment. Jon mentioned an article he had read that morning about Gov. Hutchinson’s first political race in the ‘80s. The article outlined his platform, principles and how he planned to make a difference. Jon’s observation was that the principles, platform and plans hadn’t changed much throughout all that time and all those offices.

The menu at the Capital Bar & Grill is small and tailored. Much like the rest of the hotel, the restaurant strives to be the best and only provide the best on the menu. Although upscale, the menu items celebrate the taste of the South, especially Arkansas. Gov. Hutchinson and I both have the Capital’s famous fried chicken accompanied by perfectly seasoned potato salad and green beans. Jon was more health conscious and ordered the Cobb salad with a side of gumbo. My dish was one of the best plates of fried chicken I have ever had, with golden crispy skin and fork-tender meat.

The Capital Bar & Grill is the standard for exquisite service and hospitality in Little Rock. Every detail is taken care of and they make it look easy. The governor’s busy schedule and responsibilities would be enough to discourage even the strongest person, but he seems energized by the load. A public servant, the governor performs at the highest efficiency and makes it look easy.

Don’t let the power of these two entities intimidate you; get to know Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Capital Bar & Grill. Both have been setting standards for Arkansas for a long time.

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