NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Behind every good restaurant is often a good story— and that’s certainly true for Marty’s Place, a new upscale restaurant on Maumelle Boulevard in North Little Rock.
Truly it’s a story of looking at misfortune and seeing opportunity. The building itself started out as an IHOP that was owned and operated by one of the current owners, Marty Gunaca.
Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic brought the restaurant business to its knees, a crippling freeze set in, resulting in burst pipes all over the region. The IHOP was no exception, and busted pipes left the restaurant space in ruin.
It would have been easy to throw in the towel and give up after taking two major blows back-to-back, but instead, Marty and his business partners, his son Derrick and long-time associate Ricardo Aguilera, begin laying the groundwork for something bigger and better.
You see, the three had worked for chain franchises most of their careers where they had to operate by others’ rules and ways of doing business.
But they often discussed how they’d do things differently if ever given the opportunity.
While it didn't happen how they envisioned it, this unfortunate situation presented a golden opportunity.
Slowly and meticulously the trio bounced around ideas and concepts. Rumors swirled around town as to what the future of the prime location might be. The three were amused, but diligently focused on crafting a unique dining experience at an affordable price.
The result of years of planning and preparation is Marty’s Place, a fine dining experience serving a wide range of menu items all handcrafted by a well-respected chef.
Despite the vast expanse of the menu, from a burger to shrimp scampi to egg rolls, each menu item is done very well. Each bite is a reminder of the high-quality ingredients used and the meticulous effort put into each dish.
As impressive as the food is the space itself. It’s beautifully decorated, with vibrant paintings lighting up the entire restaurant, each one created by Marty’s wife. The music playlist is curated by Marty himself, something he’s especially proud of.
Marty’s is open 7 days a week, and their hours and menu can be found on Facebook.