North Little Rock’s Waldo’s hits the spot

There’s plenty of chicken joints in and around town.

The list of local spots is long and has plenty of good choices, depending on your personal taste.

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You can also get some pretty good chicken, along with adult beverages, at Stickyz Rock ‘N’ Roll Chicken Shack in downtown Little Rock, among other places.

So, chicken and beer isn’t exactly a new combination here but there’s a new entrant in an already competitive market in Waldo’s Chicken and Beer at 4221 Warden Road in North Little Rock.

The building occupies the spot once held down by the late Johnny Carino’s along North Little Rock’s venerable restaurant row. Covid hasn’t been kind to the local dining scene as the ongoing pandemic has left some spots empty, while others have been moving around.

Still though, given the pedigree, Waldo’s is a worthy new restaurant that’s certainly worth checking out. 

There’s already a handful of Waldo's around the southeast as the restaurant concept was brought here by Jim Keet, the brains behind many of the very good places to eat in central Arkansas already.

There’s the eponymous Petit and Keet in Little Rock. There’s Cypress Social on the Boulevard and then there’s half a dozen and counting Taziki’s.

Waldo’s has been open, of the soft sort, for the past week, and on a recent Sunday night, it was doing a brisk business as people were there checking it out.

It was a little hectic, given the crowd but things moved fast and one can peruse the menu while waiting to order.

Directly behind us was a customer who was already on his third trip to Waldo’s in the six days it had been open, so that’s pretty high praise.

The menu is straight forward – chicken. You can get it fried, grilled and as tenders. You can also get the yardbird in sandwich form. Salads for the health conscious and your normal selection of soft drinks and tea. There’s also a full bar. Because “Beer” is in the restaurant’s name.

Lifetime dining companion had already studied the menu online, and determined that the “Feed the Flock tender meal” was the best choice.

She was right, as usual.

The meal came with 12 big, and well made fried chicken tenders, some very good cole slaw and four misnamed cheddar biscuits. They’re really more a mini-muffin, not that that’s a bad thing.

Two sides were also included and we went with french fries and collard greens, that were also really, really good.

The dipping sauces were also made in-house and of the three flavors we sampled, all were tasty.

If you didn’t know the Keet connection, the Taziki’s cups they were using for soft drinks gave away the game but we were told branded cups would eventually be available.

Plenty of tables, both inside and out, made for plenty of seating, despite the crowd.

The one downside was the “booty buster” metal chairs out of the patio. Good for the restaurant as “table turn” is important though as no one wants to sit in them for very long.

On the plus side, it was a shocking amount of food that checked in at under $40 that was dinner for two, plus three leftover lunches during the week that followed.

There’s also a drive-thru, that wasn’t open yet and a grand opening will be soon.