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The Capital Hotel in Little Rock

The Capital Hotel in Little Rock
Written by Paula Disbrowe | Photos courtesy of the Capital Hotel

Little Rock’s Front Porch

“Rules are made at the State house; laws are made at the Capital Bar.” So say the locals. The Capital Bar & Grill is the gathering spot for Little Rock’s business and political leaders and visitors alike. The kitchen turns out comfort food with an emphasis on Arkansas bounty. Standout snacks include their signature pimento cheese served with housemade soda crackers, fried biscuits with black pepper cheese fondue, and addictive spiced pecans. Pair with one of the bar’s hand-crafted cocktails like the Seersucker, made with Four Roses bourbon, Aperol, Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot liqueur, Lillet, and orange zest.

But don’t stop there. With options like duck pot pie (with white beans and turnip greens), and crispy-seared trout with baby potatoes and charred green beans, it would be a shame to miss dinner. For lunch, opt for the daily blue plate special, especially if it’s Wednesday’s wildly popular fried chicken. The hotel’s recently renovated restaurant, One Eleven, has been reimagined with hardwood flooring, original artwork, and plenty of natural light—the backdrop for James Beard award-winning chef Joel Antunes’ creations.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Reigning as the grand dame of Arkansas for more than a century, the Capital Hotel anchors downtown Little Rock. Take in the setting with a stroll on the nearby trail that follows the Arkansas River past the revitalized River Market District, old industrial bridges, and a wetland preserve.

THE VIBE

With its original green-and-white tiled lobby, soaring columns, and stained glass, the Capital has one of the most beautiful lobbies in the South. The staff’s quiet efficiency creates an atmosphere that’s refined—not stuffy. In other words, it’s easy to feel at home. Guests are received and escorted to their room (no check-in desk required). Peace and quiet is one of the hotel’s hallmarks.

THE DIGS

Combining 130 years of character with the comfort of a modern luxury hotel, the ninety-four-room property prides itself on its “human element,” an investment in staffing and training. For instance, Frette linens are cleaned and hand-pressed in-house, and guests sleep on mattresses hand-crafted by a local manufacturer. When the light fades, blackout curtains are drawn during a meticulous turn-down procedure that includes slippers on a linen bedside mat and pillows topped with a regionally-produced toffee.

WHAT TO ORDER AT ONE ELEVEN

Oysters rockefeller, because Antunes’ inspired preparation—a hybrid between the classic and oysters bienville, made with mushrooms—is unlike any other.

Tender venison ravioli served alongside seared venison tenderloin—a tip of the hat to the deer-hunting mecca that is the state of Arkansas.

Parisian chocolate cake, created for the Capital by famed Parisian pastry chef Sébastien Dégardin, who spent a month training the restaurant’s pastry team. This sumptuous, velvety creation was his parting gift to the hotel.

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