Central Arkansas isn't blessed with too many options on the breakfast front. Only a small handful of eateries serve up anything besides the traditional bacon, eggs, biscuits and gravy. And an even smaller number offer any kind of breakfast on the weekend.
So we're thrilled that Lilly's co-owner Nancy Tesmer and chef Jeffrey Moore have stepped in to fill the void with B-Side, newly open as a stand-alone restaurant in the former party room of Lilly's.
Moore and Tesmer respect old standards, but aren't always content in playing them straight. On the experimental side of the spectrum, B-Side's take on biscuits and gravy is the decadent — but oh so delicious — biscuit mountain ($11), two mounds of stacked buttermilk biscuits, sausage and pommes rosti (fried potatoes and parsnips), with sausage gravy poured on top and fried eggs plopped on top of that. The grits ($3.50), mixed with smoked gouda and slow cooked, might be the best cheese grits in the state. Hushpuppy-shaped beignets ($9) aren't as pretty as Cafe du Monde's puffy squares, but they're perfect for sharing and come lightly dusted with confectioners sugar and served with a side of very thick, creamy lemon curd and whipped cream. French toast ($7) is served on a stick, wrapped in bacon and drizzled in maple syrup. And figgy piggy ($12.50) is a fig-glazed pork tenderloin served over sweet potato hash.
Drifting into slightly more standard territory, there's a daily frittata ($8), which, on a recent visit, came stuffed with caramelized onions, tomato and smoked gouda and topped with spicy aioli, with an English muffin and a dab of homemade strawberry preserves on the side.
B-Side offers several classics unadorned. Like the classic ($7), which comes as advertised — two eggs any way, toast and bacon or sausage. The waffles ($6) are thick and airy and recommended. Mimosas ($6) are on the champagne-y side, coffee — roasted especially for B-Side by Guillermo's Gourmet Blends — is on the dark side, and hot tea (like at Lilly's) is served up in a pot for two.
If we had any complaint about B-Side, it's that, thanks to the crowd, we had a rather extensive wait on a recent Sunday morning visit. We were surprised to find how quickly news of the restaurant has spread; it confirms just how much this area has craved a new face in the breakfast market.
11121 Rodney Parham Road
(next to Lilly's DimSum Then Some)
Finally, a restaurant that appreciates parsnips.
7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Credit cards accepted.