The Starving Artist Café in Little Rock, Arkansas was only known to me via the radio show Tales from the South. I would tune in the radio show and listen to old-fashioned southern story-telling and picture the restaurant. Last year, my husband and I experienced the dinner and show in person.
Honestly when my husband and I went, we were expecting more rudimentary café food. Not to knock cafe food, but we did not expect the high quality dishes or preparations by Chef and owner Jason Morell. Shame on us.
Because I was actually participating in the show, I was unable to eat much because of my nerves. I chose the Panini with buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil AND a glass of red wine which I didn’t really enjoy until after my reading. The rest of the table could indulge in the entrees offered: Ahi Tuna with creole cream, bone in pork loin with brown apple butter and fresh salads and soups. Of course there are nightly specials as well with fish and pasta of the day. Outside of Tuesdays, there are still lunch and dinner services to enjoy.
Tuesday evenings start with dinner and music then the show’s creator and host Paula Martin Morell introduces the night’s theme. The show is recorded, so there can be some do overs if someone just completely flubs. On the night I read, I was last of three readers, so everything was affected by my nerves. Even with that, the atmosphere was warm and welcoming and the food tasted and smelled delicious. Picture as the website describes: “Reminiscent of a French artists’ loft in historical space with handmade wood and mosaic bars and works from local artists covering the walls and shelves.” The other readers were real published writers, so I felt pretty out-classed but happy to be in the moment. The audience is very supportive and really listens.
This is NO dinner theater. The audience has already eaten and plates cleared. They laugh, clap and react, and during the readings there isn’t excessive chatting with a waitress or ordering. This is a well-oiled machine of food, service and show. It was a pleasure as a reader and as an audience member. (I posted my reading experience in my About section.)
If you can’t enjoy the setting of the dinner and show, I highly recommend listening to the show. The website gives lots of ways to tune in: http://www.talesfromthesouth.com/listen.html
“Tales from the South” is broadcast Thursdays at 7 p.m. on KUAR (FM89.1) in central Arkansas. You can find it streaming online at kuar.org, Thursdays at 9 a.m. or listen along with 140 million European listeners on World Radio Network at wrn.org. For more information, log onto talesfromthesouth.com. For reservations at Starving Artist Café, call (501) 372-7976.”