By Brian Jewell
Courtesy Capital Hotel
The big story in Little Rock is its growth and revitalization, but one of my favorite places in town has a history that dates back to the late 1800s. Established as a luxury property near the end of the 19th century, the Capital Hotel and its restaurant, the Capital Grill, have a heritage of high style in downtown Little Rock.
The Capital Hotel sits right across the street from the convention center in the River Market District. Although I’ve never stayed there overnight, I’ve been fortunate to enjoy several great meals and cocktail receptions at the Capital and to tour the property to see some of its distinctive late-19th-century architectural touches.
The hotel makes an immediate impression when you first enter its lobby, blending historic style with modern luxury. Employees are happy to point out some of the notable elements, such as the first electric light fixture to be installed in a Southern hotel, as well as the elevator that was built large enough to transport a guest and his horse to an upstairs room.
Just off the lobby is the Capital Grill, an elegant restaurant that serves gourmet versions of traditional Southern food, such as rice-fried catfish and grilled-quail Arkansas rice grits. I’ve enjoyed both a leisurely lunch and an epic dinner at the Capital and have always left dazzled and deliciously satisfied. Next time I visit Little Rock, another meal at the Capital is at the top of my to-do list.