Recently I wrote about my Little Rock favorites, and unless you’re familiar with the area, you may be surprised to learn that Little Rock Air Force Base isn’t in Little Rock, Arkansas; it’s in Jacksonville, Arkansas which is north of the Arkansas River that divides Little Rock from North Little Rock.
When we were last stationed at LRAFB we lived south of the river in Little Rock proper. This time we moved closer to the base so Mister Jupiter could have a shorter commute, and so that I could have a garage to park in – it’s the classic story of moving out to the suburbs for the space. So now that we spend more time north of the river, here are the things up here that spark joy.
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If you’re new to LRAFB – welcome! In general you can expect the usual spread of active duty families; loads of families on base, loads of families in the immediate area. The smaller the town, the cheaper the houses, lots of chain restaurants on the highway, and little treasures if you look for them.
☞ Related: Five Favorites in Little Rock, Arkansas
Zaffino’s by Nori (2001 E Kiehl Ave, Sherwood, Arkansas 72120)
Zaffino’s is where you go for solid Italian meals, white tablecloths, it’s good for groups, and always served with a smile. Nonna Nori especially loves babies and kids, so little ones are definitely welcome to dine with the family. Good wine, great pasta & sauces, add a little good conversation and you have my favorite recipe for a good time.
Zaffino’s closed permanently, Bennett’s by Keith & Co. is now operating in that space.
Walters Community Center, LRAFB (940 Arnold Drive, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas 72099)
This wonderful community center was the source of a lot of annoyance years ago! I was on base (something rare at the time) and someone mentioned the library, and said that I just HAD to visit that day – so I did…well, I tried. Instead of a building number I was given dated relative directions (“It’s by the chapel, in the old BX”), which was useless for me. Everybody neglected to tell me that the LRAFB Library is INSIDE Walters Community Center. My first base had a dedicated library building, and the exterior was labeled “Library” so I was looking for “Library” not “Walters Community Center.”
Again, for those in the back. The Little Rock AFB Library is inside Walters Community Center. Also inside is Wally’s Java, a playground, and the Airmen and Family Readiness Center. Great resources all around – but not obvious from the building’s exterior.
☞ Related: New Duty Station Resources You Need
Kroger on JFK, North Little Rock (6929 JFK Blvd., North Little Rock, Arkansas 72116)
This is the best stocked Kroger in the area! It’s physically large, and full of all sorts of off-the-beaten-path foods and kitchenware. I often look for non-standard groceries, and they rarely disappoint. I can buy A2 milk, free-range eggs, grass-fed lamb, fresh eucalyptus, all while knowing that their employees are there to help me find what I’m looking for. They also have a good beer & wine selection, olive bar, deli, sushi bar, abnormally large hummus selection, and indoor seating if you need to eat your sushi right away.
Skinny J’s, North Little Rock (314 N Main St, North Little Rock, Arkansas 72114)
Skinny J’s is an American restaurant with a long bar, lots of TVs, and lots of booze. In the past we used to swing in late at night for bar food, but now we’re more likely to pop in early for brunch. The menu is large and varied, so definitely take your time. A friend told me that her husband liked their oysters, so I started getting oysters each time I dined in too because they are good. As it turns out, my new favorite brunch is hot coffee & oysters with lemon…and Skinny J’s is one of the few places where I can actually order those together without looking like a lunatic. Not into oysters? No big. Check out the reuben egg rolls – yum.
Two Sisters Catering & Café (3130 E Kiehl Ave, Sherwood, Arkansas 72120)
Busy lunch spot, they cook big homestyle meals and fancy cakes. To be honest I rarely eat there because I limit purchased sweets, and eat like a bird compared to the local population. I’m including them in this list because everyone else loves it. They have daily specials, a drive-thru (but not fast-food speeds), plus a grab and go freezer inside for a meal you can bake at home.
☞ Curious about life near another military installation? Check out Non-Chain Restaurants around Fort Leavenworth, Kansas