Video by Greg Spradlin of Camp Friday Films.
Local Lime, the latest restaurant from the chefs who brought Little Rock ZaZa and Big Orange, is scheduled to celebrate its soft opening tonight through the weekend and, after closing on Monday, officially open on Tuesday. It's located in the Promenade at Chenal across from the Nike Factory store and the Chenal 9 movie theater. The new venture is a partnership between Scott McGehee and John Beachboard, who started ZaZa and Big Orange together; Herren Hickingbotham, who’s also an investor in Big Orange, and Ben Brainard, a local chef who’ll serve as the owner/operator of Local Lime. Brainard, a Little Rock native, trained under McGehee at Boulevard before serving as chef at the short-lived Valentine’s restaurant at Dickey-Stephens Park. More recently, Brainard has managed the Little Rock outlet of ZaZa.
The tagline of Local Lime is “tacos and tequila.” The former, Brainard said, are “California-style street tacos” — made with soft corn tortillas and small enough that they can be consumed in two or three bites. The latter reflects the Local Lime bar’s tight focus, said Lee Edwards, newly hired to run Local Lime’s bar and eventually oversee the burgeoning restaurant group’s beverage service. Edwards said Local Lime has a broad selection of tequila and mezcal, which they’re going to push through flights and a rotating list of interesting cocktails, including six or seven margaritas — a house margarita that Edwards said is “hands down the best frozen margarita in Arkansas and possibly in the South” along with nontraditional takes like a pineapple and cilantro margarita and a basil and jalapeno margarita.
The dining room of Local Lime is oriented around a large horseshoe bar, which Brainard said lends itself to a menu with a number of appetizers, including several nachos and a ceviche that uses sushi-grade tuna and is one of Brainard’s favorites. Beyond tacos and apps, the menu also includes several entrees, including a bacon-wrapped grilled shrimp dish, as well as a selection of salads that McGehee said are unlike any in town.
A patio in front of the restaurant features a retractable ceiling and walls, which means the restaurant will be able to use it year-round.
Local Lime will be open Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. and 11 a.m. until midnight on Friday and Saturday. It will likely be closed on Monday, Nov. 26. The restaurant’s phone number is 448-2316. The address is 7815 Chenal Parkway, Suite F-105.