by Max Brantley
The Meat Shoppe, the fine meat, barbecue and poultry institution from Gravel Ridge, is coming to Little Rock. Owner Kent Berry said that their new store in the River Market -- to be called “Kent’s Downtown” -- should be open by mid-May in time for Riverfest. For those familiar with the River Market, Kent’s Downtown will reside in the space once occupied by Shaka’s Smoke Lounge, which recently closed after more than ten years there.
Berry said that Kent’s Downtown will serve all the goodies The Meat Shoppe in Gravel Ridge is known for, including ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken, turnip greens, baked beans and other fixins. Like the store in Gravel Ridge, Berry said the Little Rock incarnation will also sell fine cuts of beef – including thick-cut and marinated steaks -- as well as chicken, pork and several varieties of sausage. I had one of their marinated T-bones at a friend’s house a few weeks back, and I’m here to tell you that it was, hand’s down, the best steak I’ve every had, anywhere, in my life – even in a restaurant. It sure wasn’t my friend’s grillwork that made it amazing, so I’m now a firm believer in Meat Shoppe steaks.
And don’t fret, Gravel Ridgers, Berry said the original “flagship store” will stay open.
-- David Koon