LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- In the midst of all the ever changing food trends and big ideas in Little Rock, some places have found a way to make a name for themselves for decades.
In partnership with the food experts of Arkansas' top food blog, Rock City eats, THV11 looks at places that have been around for the long haul. We talk with local restaurants who have been in business for over 30 years to find out what the secret ingredients are to long-term success.
For one restaurant, they find wisdom in the old saying, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” That's been the mantra for Faded Rose where few things have changed over the last 30 years. Owner Ed David said that he could put their first menu in the middle of their current menu because every item on there is still there. He said the biggest problem for them is trying to throw in new dishes on the menu.
“The problem for us is to add a dish because the average customer comes in here knowing what they want to eat,” said David.
Greg Henderson, food expert at Rock City Eats, said the David family stands out because they bring a lot of original, authentic New Orleans flavor to Little Rock.
“It’s hard to get that from other places in town that don't have that level of history and that level of authenticity,” said Henderson.
K-Hall and Sons is another place that has become a community staple. It’s a place that's so much more than a restaurant. It’s a grocery store, too. Their secret to success is visible the minute you walk in their store. Everyone who comes in becomes family. Owner David Hall said they know most people by their first name and everyone knows his family. That’s not too surprising, considering there are four generations of Hall family members who work or help out there.
“We’ll have people come in everyday asking us if we have things in stock,” said Hall. “If we don’t, most of the time we try to get it for them because we have personal relationships with our customers.”
Another reason they have stayed successful is because they have adapted over the years from selling great ingredients to market fresh food. They went from a little market stand with no electricity, to operating a restaurant with fast, delicious southern comfort food for people on-the-go.
“They have changed and adapted to whatever the community needs and whatever the community wants out of it,” said Henderson. “It’s really a centerpiece to the community on Wright Avenue.”
Up next is a place that has constantly innovated over the years. Capi Peck, owner of Trios, said they have continued to be successful by having all the things people have loved since they opened in the 1980s. Yet, they are committed to staying innovative and creative.
“We don't skimp on ingredients and we've been doing the local thing before it was the cool thing to do,” said Peck.
A big part that hasn't changed involves the people who work there.
“We have staff who worked here in high school and now their children are in high school and they are working for me,” said Peck. “We’ve got eight or nine people that have 25 plus years here.”
As it turns out, all three of these businesses have stuck to the basics for decades. They keep their staff around for the long haul, create great food, and offer unmatched service. It turns out the secret ingredients to success aren’t so secret or complicated after all.