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What to do in Southwest Little Rock


Get your motor running at Steve's Speed Shop.

If you're one of those folks with high-test gasoline coursing through your veins, you're probably well aware of Steve's Speed Shop, Southwest Little Rock's 40-year-old chapel to St. Acceleration. Started by owner and drag racer Steve Haynes way back in 1971, Steve's Speed Shop features performance parts for all makes and models — from commuter cars to 600-horsepower drag cars — dress-up accessories, wheels, tires, stickers, T-shirts, used speed equipment, carburetor rebuilding (you remember those, right?) as well as truck accessories, racing fuel and refills for nitrous tanks. If you've ever loved a car, stop in and look around.

Chow down on the cheap.

One of the greatest blessings of the influx of Latinos into Southwest Little Rock in recent years has been the feeling of entrepreneurial spirit in the area. For a foodie, the greatest blessing of THAT blessing has been the taco trucks. With cheap, authentic and expertly-seasoned tacos, burritos, tortas and more, your average Southwest Little Rock taco truck routinely puts the sit-down Tex-Mex joints to shame. There are around a dozen that frequent the area. Drive down Geyer Springs and Baseline and you're bound to find one that can set your stomach growling from 50 feet away.

Shop at a mercado.

The neighborhood's largest Hispanic groceries — La Regional, Mercado San Jose and Supermercado Sin Fronteras — sell the essentials: queso blanco, big bottles of La Valentina hot sauce, dry peppers (with so many ways to punish yourself — chile puya, guajillo, ancho, chipotle, arbol, pasilla mulato, morita, pequin), cheap avocadoes and limes and Brenda's Tortillas, made fresh daily on 65th Street. At each store, you'll also find meat you won't usually find at Kroger like cabeza (cow head meat) along with other, more familiar (and cheaper) cuts along with big cases of flaky, puffy, sugary cookies and pastries.

Buy some botas.

When the weekend rolls around, a lot of folks down in SWLR just want to dress up and cut loose. That's where La Regia Western comes in. Want a pair of boots with pointed toes so long that they look like something out of science fiction? They've got that. Want powder blue alligator skin boots with a matching belt? Si, senor. Want a pair of custom made boots with "Freddy" emblazoned on them? Yessiree — that's a custom order the buyer never came back for — they can cut you a deal on those. Choose from their ample, rainbow-hued stock, or go nuts and order custom. If you can dream it — pretty much any boot, in any style, in any leather, in any color combo — they can probably get it on your feet, with prices from $100 to $500 or so.

Raid the lost treasures of Arkansas bureaucracy.

Arkansas state government is a kind of business, and like any business, it has its share of old junk hanging around: chairs, lamps, bookcases, gubmint cars, exercise bikes, refrigerators and a thousand other things. When all that stuff has reached the end of its usefulness to the state, it finds its way to the giant Arkansas Marketing and Redistribution warehouse at 6620 Young Road near Geyer Springs. The first, second and third Wednesday of every month, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., AM&R throws open the doors and allows the retail-buying public to paw through the state's official garage sale.

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