What's NEW on the Local Menu?
New restaurants are a hot category in our annual Readers Favorites poll. Two new establishments tied for the win in our 2012 results: Larry's Pizza Buffet and Beef 'O' Brady's.
Discovering a new restaurant is a quest with some peril for both sides. First, the pioneers and adventurers brave the experience instead of choosing a familiar eatery. And what a scary time for the restaurateurs - sometimes the first impression is the only chance they will get to gain the loyal patrons they're hoping to win over.
Opened 15 months ago, Beef 'O' Brady's at 12000 U.S. 71 South, near Rye Hill, has been an instant hit. Crowds took an immediate liking to the atmosphere of family-friendly casual dining and the memorability of local sports teams and leagues that cover the wall of the neighborhood pub. Beef 'O' Brady's is a franchised family sports pub concept that was founded in Florida, but each restaurant is identified strongly to its own community – in this case, Fort Smith and Greenwood.
Two couples, Randy and Kim Didier and JLee and Joyce Didier (the guys are brothers), launched the venture after Kim discovered Beef 'O' Brady's while living in Fort Myers, Fla.
Sports fans, especially, warmed right up to watching the Razorbacks or Sooners play on the big screens. The patio was adopted by a newly reorganized University of Arkansas alumni club for watch parties. The Hogs great season made it even more fun.
The pub's menu has lots of kid-friendly selection at affordable prices. Adults can choose from a big roster of classic starters and "game food," such as breaded chicken tenders, wings with 11 sauces, Cheese Bacon Pub Chips, onion rings and Nachos 'O' Brady.
Award-winning wings come as main courses, too, along with Angus beef burgers, slides burgers and a build-you-own choice with a variety of cheese and toppings.
The fresh salads and wraps on the menu offer tasty alternatives to a burger. The bar menu offers signature cocktails and beers.
Larry's Pizza, opened last year at 2919 Towson Avenue, had the challenge of breaking into the pizza game. What pizza eater doesn't have a personal and long-time loyalty to one pie?
Larry's responded by presenting an astonishing variety of pizza toppings on a buffet, but took it further by bringing the buffet right to the table. When a fresh pizza exits the oven, wait staff stop by to offer each table a hot slice to enjoy. The temptation and convenience lead the diners to try something they've not sampled before and thus new favorites are discovered.
The menu includes classic submarine sandwiches on sourdough hoagies, with ham, turkey, BLT or pepperoni. The Speciality Sub is made with meatball, buffalo chicken, chicken Cordon Bleu or can be ordered like a custom pizza. Calzones are made to order, too.
Larry's Pizza has lunch and dinner buffet, salad bar and kids' pricing, plus dessert pizzas. There's even a family take-out choice with pizza, cheese sticks, dessert and 2-liter beverage.
River City Deli at Stonewood Village had barely opened its doors when the rave reviews from early diners started pouring in. The New York-style delicatessen has premium meats roasted in-house, fresh-made bread, soups from scratch, desserts, salads and more. Mother and son Susan Tucker Haid and Jason Haid are the busy, excited proprietors and the deli is already open seven days a week.