We've been on the hunt for some of Central Arkansas's best biscuits and have found them at Dogtown Coffee and Cookery. We've been trekking out to North Little Rock to work our way through the enticing offerings of this small, cozy joint just off JFK Boulevard. We also discovered Dogtown's merits do not end with breakfast; it offers both breakfast and lunch items seven days a week. So if the biscuits aren't enough to hook you, something else surely will.
We first sampled Dogtown's "True Southerner" breakfast ($6), which is simply a clever way of saying biscuits and gravy, nothing more. The biscuits here are quite an achievement in the field of flour and water, and finer we have not had in Central Arkansas. All the necessary elements are here: a golden brown exterior, tender, flaky inside with a noticeably healthy helping of butter for a rich, dense and delectable biscuit. These biscuits would have made a wonderful companion to any number of condiments, whether sweet or savory. We could not pass up the offer of a few ladlefuls of creamy, white sausage gravy.
In regard to biscuits and gravy, we generally find fault with the gravy. The perfect gravy, in our book, must be thick, peppery, rich, and generously endowed with crumbled sausage. Dogtown's sausage gravy could afford a bit more sausage and a pinch more pepper. As it was, the gravy leaned a little on the bland side.
Luckily, another round at breakfast brought us slightly better fortune. The "Dirty South Biscuit" ($5.50) is topped with crispy fried chicken strips, cheddar cheese, dill pickle slices and a coarse-ground honey-mustard dressing. This is one gorgeous biscuit dish. The handful of golden chicken strips, with crunchy exterior and juicy interior, played particularly well with the briny dill and sharp zest of mustard seed. A touch of honey added a much-appreciated sweet note to the mix.
A number of items on Dogtown's breakfast menu taunted us, but the "Waffle Melt" sandwich ($8) won. Dogtown's decision to replace ordinary bread with two crispy waffles is not only brilliant, it makes us wonder what else we should be attempting to stuff between two waffles — meatballs, peanut butter and jelly, corned beef? Questions yet to be answered. In this case, Dogtown's waffle sandwich takes two bright, golden waffles and fills them with smoked turkey slices, thick-cut bacon, and cheddar cheese, then throws the entire thing on a buttered griddle as you might treat a traditional grilled cheese. The waffles come out with a crunchy crust, buttery and greasy, the cheese is perfectly melted. Thick-cut bacon such as this is a beautiful thing, offering a bit more chew than its thinner, often overdone counterparts. The sandwich gets a light dusting of powdered sugar and is paired with a cup of thick maple syrup for dipping. It was a sweet, salty, crispy delight.
With such wonderful breakfast and brunch options, we were a little afraid that lunch would not be able to deliver equally exceptional dishes. But Dogtown's lunch items might outshine their morning predecessors. You will definitely not want to miss Dogtown's version of shrimp and grits with Andouille sausage ($12.95). Creamy, tender, perfectly cooked grits form the delicate base for the dish, which gets topped with a handful of plump, pink shrimp and slices of spicy sausage and smothered with a signature "slap-yo-mama-sauce," a rich cream-based sauce with hints of lobster stock. It was decadent.
Another lunch item that hits the mark is the trio of pulled pork sliders ($9). The tender pork comes sopped in a sweet and spicy house-made Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce. The pork is piled high on two buttered and griddled rolls, which get a faint char from their brief stint on the burner. Lastly, the pork is crowned with a pickled slaw, which adds a crunchy and slightly sour element to an already exceptional dish. The sliders are paired with a chunky, creamy potato salad heavy with dill, which despite its side-item status may be one of best iterations of potato salad we've ever tasted.
Despite having made several visits to Dogtown Coffee and Cookery, we feel we have only scratched the surface of a menu that likely holds many more tasty treasures. Perhaps on our next visit we'll try the house burger with jalapeno relish, chicken fried steak sandwich, or Creole omelette topped with sausage and their "world championship" cheese dip. With such great things going on at Dogtown, it's no surprise that they have developed quite a loyal following.
6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
Credit cards accepted, drive-through available. No alcohol.