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It is no secret that The Pantry and The Pantry Crest are two of the most beloved restaurants in Little Rock. The former, located on 14401 N Rodney Parham, has been the hallmark of consistency in food and service for several years. Thanks to some recent renovations to the nearly 11-year-old restaurant, diners can now expect a refreshed setting in which to enjoy their charcuterie boards, Jägerschnitzel, and cheesecake.
“We have completely rebuilt our bar from scratch, added wine on draft, and changed out our lounge seating. The workstation for our service staff is completely new. We have also added panels to the ceiling to help with acoustics and modernized all the operational systems, including our lighting, internet, and music system. The entire restaurant got new paint and some amazing photography art by Rett Peek Photography,” says owner Tomas Bohm.
The one big knock on The Pantry has long been the acoustics. On a busy Friday or Saturday night, when the place is typically at or near capacity, it can be tough to hear your tablemates. For Bohm, improving the acoustics was his number one priority.
“I’ve heard over the years, ‘We love your place, but it is so loud, and there’s an echo. We just can’t come back.’ So, I really wanted to make this update for about five years, ever since I opened The Pantry Crest. That restaurant looked so nice and up-to-date. For The Pantry, this was the right time to make some changes,” says Bohm.
The new bar area will jump out at you the most. It is sleek, clean, and just seems much bigger than the previous rendition. And while this is impressive, the addition of professional photographs of employees, which are displayed on walls towards the rear of the restaurant, is what will pull at your sentimental heartstrings. It’s a classy move by Bohm, one that honors the folks who continue to make The Pantry what it is today.
So, what has the response to all of these changes been like?
“We knew people would be afraid of change, especially with a business that has been around for almost eleven years, but people love it and feel very comfortable in the revamped space. Our goal was to make it look fresh but still be The Pantry.”
By my second visit to the new space, it was honestly hard to remember The Pantry as it was before. The changes to the restaurant seem both profound and subtle, a true compliment to the designers. The space is still cozy and welcoming, but the modern touches make a big difference. Oh, and the sound issues are vastly improved, which is music to many diners’ ears. Pun intended.
And as for the aforementioned top-notch food and service? Knowing Bohm and his team, I doubt those two things will ever change.
11401 N Rodney Parham Rd (501-353-1875)
Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-12 a.m.; Saturday 4 p.m.-12 a.m.; Closed Sunday
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