There’s no time like a new year to try a new skill. And with many local shops and organizations offering hands-on learning—not to mention endless resources online—now is a wonderful time for first-timers to pick up a skein of yarn and a pair of knitting needles. Knit one, purl one; knit one, purl one; knit one… Master these two stitches and you’ll soon find yourself longing to curl up on the sofa and fall into the easy rhythm of this centuries-old craft after a long winter day.
Founded in 2011 by Sally Mengal, Little Rock’s Loblolly Creamery has grown steadily over the years. While its first residence was in The Green Corner Store on South Main Street, the brand soon opened an ice cream truck available for special events, and then, in 2017, set down some more permanent roots with the opening of a Scoop Shop at 1423 S. Main St. According to creative director Christen Byrd, that addition has allowed the brand to extend their hours, expand their flavor offerings (they have about 30 options available at any given time), serve coffee and beer, and even rent out a party room. “It’s allowed us to grow like crazy, and we love it,” Christen says.
Erin Wood, Director of Et Alia Press
After a short career in law, Erin earned her masters in writing. Soon after, she helped found Little Rock-based Et Alia Press, which publishes books about emerging artists, health and wellness, and local histories. “These shelves are filled with books that I used more in years past—researching for college or grad school papers, heavy case books for law school, and high school favorites that have my notes in the margins.”…
When Kelly Lovell and Walt Todd started barbecuing together over a decade ago, they didn’t necessarily see it turning into a full-time gig. “They started out at tailgates, barbecuing whole hogs, serving at weddings and competitions—it was just a hobby with a little bit of pocket change,” says Walt’s wife, Brett, who also handles the business’s marketing and sales. “If you would’ve asked us then if we’d be here now, having a food truck and doing this full time for two years, we’d be like, ‘What?’” This year marks 10 years for the Count Porkula food truck. In September, the business hit another milestone when it opened a permanent location at The Rail Yard, the newest addition to Little Rock’s budding East Village.
Lindsey Gray, owner of Eggshells Kitchen Co.
HER ’HOOD Chenal. “I’ve lived in west Little Rock for my entire life. I’m a Little Rock native, born and raised.”
HER KITCHEN MUST-HAVE “My red KitchenAid mixer. I got it as a wedding gift 15 years ago, and it’s been the most used and loved item in my kitchen!”
HER HOME’S STYLE “With three rowdy boys at home, our home has to be mostly function over form. I tend to favor neutral decor with a pop of color, but everyone has their own flair in their space.”
COOKING OR BAKING? Baking!
FAMILY RECIPE “My favorite thing to bake is my grandmother’s pound cake. I love it plain, but every family member tops it their own way to make it their favorite, whether with chocolate sauce, strawberries, or whipped cream.”
Pure Joy owners Meghan and Matt Feyerabend seem to thrive on community and authenticity. Since opening the Siloam Springs scoop shop (as they often refer to it) in June of 2017, they’ve adhered to their commitment to bring customers real, homemade ice cream without artificial ingredients and to bring their community a bit of hope in the form of championing children. The spirit and the shops tasty treats are catching on: Later this summer they’ll open a new location in Bentonville’s 8th Street Market and add a mobile cart to their catering options.
Neely Phelan, the owner and designer behind the eponymous jewelry line
HER HOOD: “Within the last year we moved back to Little Rock from Orlando and currently live in Pleasant Valley.”
HOMEWORK: “Being a multi-tasking working mom, I often find myself working at my dining room table, kitchen bar, or in the family room. I always have a candle burning and a vase of fresh flowers. I currently have the Voluspa ‘Laguna’ scent going. In addition, you can often find a random Netflix drama series playing in the background.”…
New to town and quickly becoming a crowd favorite, Little Rock’s Fassler Hall is a German pub featuring local and European brews and house-made sausages along with a weekend brunch. “Fassler Hall is all about bringing the community together. It’s why we have communal seating—so you can grab dinner with your all of your friends or sit down with someone from the community that you may not know and have a beer,” says general manager Ashley Price.
Dylan Turk, curator at Crystal Bridges
Above: “The majority of the books belong to my mother and were passed down from her mother, Loretta,” Dylan explains. “To me, merging a library and a dining room is the perfect pairing, because the books promote conversation and hold the experiences of each dinner party, brunch, or jam session around the table.”
HIS ‘HOOD Just off the square in downtown Bentonville
HIS FAVORITE ROOM “My mother and I have a hobby for hosting experiences. These are more than dinner parties because they connect food, music, art, and the stories of a diverse group of people. The dining room is my favorite space in the house because it is the anchor for these experiences.”…
In an approach they describe as “bean-to-bar and beyond,” Bentonville’s Markham & Fitz Chocolate Makers uses fair-trade sourced cacao beans from their partner farmers in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Nicaragua to create their confections, which—as you can see—are not limited to chocolate bars. Their commitment to these relationships and the ones they create with customers in the shop are two of the ways they “celebrate people” every day.
Meet the chocolatiers | Lauren Blanco and Preston Stewart are the brains and brawn behind Markham & Fitz.They dream up the menu, prepare the treats (including pastries, sipping chocolate, and eight different types of chocolate bars), and serve the array of goodies in-store six days a week….