The Faded Rose, the Riverdale restaurant serving up traditional New Orleans staples, recently celebrated its 38th birthday. Thirty-eight years for any business is no small feat, but in the restaurant industry, it represents a near monumental accomplishment.
The restaurant started in 1982 with the co-owners and husband-and-wife duo of Ed and Laurie David. Son, Zac David, who grew up in The Faded Rose, returned after college in 2004 to take over day-to-day operations as general manager. The family has seen their fair share of challenges through the years, but nothing quite compares to the recent events of a global pandemic.
“For me– and my dad will say it as well– this is different than anything else. And he has gone through three or four recessions within the restaurant’s 38 years,” says Zac David.
While the restaurant continues to remain closed for dine-in services during Phase I of the reopening, a strong takeout business has kept things afloat. Fridays and Saturdays remain strong, as do Wednesdays, thanks in large part to the crawfish season, and The Faded Rose’s ever-popular, mid-week mudbugs boil during this time of year.
“It is going well. We are selling less than we would in a typical situation, but we are still going through 80 to 100 pounds of crawfish every Wednesday,” says David.
Unfortunately, this Wednesday, May 20, marks The Faded Rose’s last Crawfish Wednesday for a while. The restaurant is temporarily closing for about three weeks for some back-of-the-house improvements. Included in this is a kitchen revamp that will feature a new walk-in cooler and flooring. The plan is to be back open by June 15, at the latest. Most, if not all the dining room, will remain unchanged.
For those worried about The Faded Rose’s future, these kitchen improvements should help ease any skepticism. The David family remains concerned, yet cautiously optimistic about what is down the road, for both their restaurant and the Little Rock food community.
“Long term, food-wise, I think Little Rock is on an upward trajectory. Everybody who is able to stay in the game is going to be for the better when we get through to the other side.”
Until then, The Faded Rose will rely on a strong base of diners who have helped support the restaurant over these past 38 years and continue to do so with takeout and curbside services during the pandemic. Popular dishes like the gumbo, shrimp and grits, soaked salad, blackened ribeye, filet, Rose’s Hot Red Pepper Shrimp, The Judge’s Cheese Dip, and Rose’s Famous French Fries still rule the day, as do the loyal customers who love these classics.
The Faded Rose is ready for what the future holds.
“It’s important to be there for the community, be consistent with your hours, and be there for good days and bad days.”
Indeed, and here’s to better days ahead.
The Faded Rose
1619 Rebsamen Park Rd (501-663-9734)
Hours: Open Daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m.