Here at AY About You Magazine, we’ve been quite excited about the return of Maddie’s Place, the beloved Riverdale restaurant serving up New Orleans-style classics. My last visit was months ago, pre-COVID, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to return and introduce a friend to the wonders of Maddie’s Place. How someone could live in Little Rock for several years and not go to the restaurant is beyond me, but that is a discussion for another day.

First things first, Maddie’s is definitely following protocols, as evident by the clear, plastic barriers rolled out and placed between already distanced tables on the outdoor patio. It was impressive, as was our service throughout the meal by longtime staff member, Kara. She is one of the top servers in town.

As for the food?

Well, if you’re eating at Maddie’s Place, I always advise starting off with a few appetizers. They do meal-starters about as well as anyone around. With that in mind, within a few minutes after sitting down, orders of Baked Lump Crab Cake Dip with Fried Pita Chips, Fried Alligator Bites, and Braised Ribeye Meat Pies hit the table. Each appetizer impressed, and while my friend took a shine to the creamy, warm dip by feverishly devouring it with the accompanying pita, I focused my attention on the meat pies, a buttery fried dough filled with tender bits of ribeye. Each bite was prefaced with a dip into the jalapeno ranch sauce. In fact, I noticed the two of us were doing a lot of dipping, and that included the cornmeal-battered fried alligator bites into a sweet and spicy chili sauce. Don’t be afraid of ordering alligator. This protein is quite mild, has a nice, subtly chewy texture, and pairs wonderfully with a little sweet heat.

After all of the fried delights to start the meal, I decided to health things up a bit with my entrée of the House Smoked Salmon Salad. I’ve gotten this salad several times before and it never disappoints. Word to the wise though, given the amount of salmon piled on top of romaine, even the half-order makes for a sizeable lunch portion. Red onions, tomatoes, and candied walnuts also reside in the bowl, as does a delightfully light and refreshing lemon-herb vinaigrette. My tablemate continued his meal motto of “go big or go home” and opted to order the grilled shrimp po-boy with truffle Parmesan fries. The sandwich comes on the iconic Leidenheimer bread and is dressed with remoulade, shaved lettuce, and tomato. Coupled with the super crispy hand-cut fries, it makes for a delightful meal.

In retrospect, our only mistake was not saving enough room for the bread pudding dessert, but no one is perfect. Well, I take that back. On this Thursday afternoon, Maddie’s Place was perfect. From the fast, efficient service to the flawless execution of dishes, the restaurant has proven it’s humming along like it was before the world was turned upside down.

 

Maddie’s Place

1615 Rebsamen Park Road

Phone: (501) 660-4040

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

 

READ MORE: Lunching in Little Rock: Maddie’s Place