Pokey D’s has opened at the corner of Markham and Scott streets in the Heritage West Building (on the first floor, one level below the Arkansas Times). The space has been home to several short-lived restaurants, but Pokey D’s is a second location of what has been a successful venture in Southwest Little Rock for Steve and Sheila Leeks.
Steve Leeks retired from the Army and returned to his hometown to open Pokey D’s on Baseline Road. Sheila, a native of Chicago, brings the Second City touch to the menu: Chicago-style hotdogs and polishes, Chicago-style Italian beef, barbecue and rib tips, as well as traditional soul food on Fridays and Saturdays. They’ll bring the same menu to the new River Market area location, including Dorito pie (chili, cheese, onions, peppers and chips). Rib tips are a big seller on Baseline, Steve Leeks says. They’ll smoke meat at the old location until they can get a permit for an old-fashioned hickory smoker downtown.
“Ninety-five percent of what food I sell is not down there [in the River Market], so it’s to give Little Rock and downtown a different taste,” Steve Leeks said of opening the new location. “That and just the growth of Little Rock and the River Market itself is what interested me.”
The restaurant name is the way Steve and Sheila honor a couple of deceased family members: Pokey was the name of Steve’s brother and D was Sheila’s sister’s nickname.
The Leeks will continue to operate the Baseline Pokey D’s (565-5866). Meanwhile, the downtown version will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, with live jazz featured on Thursday. Saturday, the restaurant will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“All of our food is homemade,” Steve Leeks said. “My daughter coined the phrase, ‘We serve nothing out of the can except the soda.’ We’ll have to change that for downtown, because we’ll have fountain drinks down there.”
CAPITOL BISTRO This breakfast/lunch/coffee shop took the place of the Sufficient Grounds location in the Victory Building several months ago, and on a recent visit we were more than happy with the change. Don’t get us wrong, we like SG too, but Capitol Bistro holds its own. From the menu of a dozen sandwiches, we had the Bistro Club ($6.25), served the way we like it — with bacon — and a delicious pesto mayo that set it apart from other respectable clubs we’ve eaten around town. It was enormous, too — we took half of it with us. The side of pasta salad was tiny and forgettable, so next time we’ll try the potato salad or cole slaw. Our dining companion ordered the chicken salad ($5.75), which she declared fine, but she raved about her cup of chili con carne ($2.50; it’s also available in larger servings, including in a sourdough bowl for $4.50). We had a good mocha latte for dessert — a bargain at $2.75 for a small, $3.25 for large. Other lunch options include corned beef; ham, chicken and turkey wraps; a BLT; a fruit plate; and four meal-sized salads. Breakfast is more limited, but still has plenty of choices: bagels, muffins, croissants and even a couple of breakfast sandwiches, plus the usual coffee drinks. 1401 W. Capitol Ave., Plaza D, 371-9575, BL Mon.-Fri., $ CC No alcohol.
CRAZEE’S CAFE “We are Crazee about our customers,” says the menu at this Midtown neighborhood bar/burger emporium, and it shows. A diverse crowd of professionals, young things and barflies (we are guessing here, based on Crazee’s full bar) pack the place to fill up on ample burgers that come with cheese, or barbecue sauce, or jalapenos, or Italian sauce and mozzarella, or with Swiss and mushrooms and grilled onions, all on properly greasy buns. Catfish is a big draw here, too; the $9.95 dinner — four fillets fried just right in a peppery batter on top of a mound of crisp French fries — is meal enough for two. (The catfish special on Friday is a couple of bucks cheaper for three fillets.) Our waitress was on her toes and nice, too. There’s lots of bar food to sample — chili nachos, fried mozzarella sticks, buffalo popcorn shrimp, boiled shrimp, buffalo wings, potato skins — as well as a daily lunch plate, salads, all kinds of sandwiches and footlong hotdogs, but the cat and cow are this funny farm’s prize animals. A big television is suspended at one end of the room for those who don’t want to miss a beat in the world of sports. Yes, Crazee’s is a bar, and the aroma of legal weed permeates the place, but not as badly as at some other places we’ve visited. In fact, a non-smoker would be crazee to forego the fish and occasional burger here. 7626 Cantrell Road. Full bar. CC $$ 221-9696 LD Mon.-Sat.