The AY Pasta Bucket List, sponsored by Graffiti’s Restaurant, is coming to a close, and we’ve saved one of the best for last. This restaurant is iconic, having put Italian food on the map in Arkansas. Opened in 1949, Bruno’s Little Italy has been a staple of Little Rock’s food scene for more than 70 years.
It was a no-brainer for our culinary adventurers to make a stop at Bruno’s for the last hurrah of the Pasta Bucket List. However, this trip ran into trouble when KARK host DJ Williams couldn’t make it. AY Publisher Heather Baker couldn’t make the trip by herself, so she decided to enlist some help.
KARK meteorologist Pat Walker stepped in to save the day. And he was excited to say the least!
“I’ve been watching yours and DJ’s segments for so long, and t always makes me so hungry, and I’m so glad to finally be part of it,” Walker says. “I can’t wait!”
Waiting inside, Chef Vince Bruno was hard at work preparing the delicious dishes for Baker and Walker. These include Bruno’s famous Spaghetti Bordelese, ravioli with meat sauce, and the Chicken Vincenzo.
The Spaghetti Bordelese has a storied history at Bruno’s, having been inspired by an early customer. “My dad’s first patron asked my father to make spaghetti Bolognese, and he did. It is thinly sliced fresh garlic cloves sautéed in olive oil and spices over vermicelli pasta,” Bruno says.
In fact, all of the dishes prepared except one date back to the beginning of the restaurant. This history, and the family’s background in food, makes the Bruno family well-equipped to prepare some tasty Italian food – especially pasta. “This is a family that knows how to do Italian since 1949. These two dishes were created in 1949, and this was Vince’s creation,” Baker says.
Before digging in, Baker and Walker joked about DJ Williams’ absence, with Baker noting that Williams always talks about linguini in a fake Italian accent. “DJ is always talking the linguini,” she says.
“But this week, we have the ravioli,” Walker says.
Once all of the food is ready, they are ready to dive in headfirst. In fact, Walker says he could become a permanent Bucket List host. “This looks great. I’m willing to take DJ’s job any day of the week,” he says.
Taking a bite of the Spaghetti Bordelese, both Walker and Baker are immediately won over by this deceptively simple dish. “Wow. The garlic is fantastic,” Walker says.
“Garlic and butter – they can’t go wrong with that,” Baker says. “That is authentic sauce right there.”
Not only is the food delicious, but the restaurant is in an ideal location for a night out. “Coming down to Bruno’s. It’s a great location downtown Little Rock on Main Street. It’s great atmosphere, all downtown,” Walker says.
While that concludes the Pasta Bucket List, there’s more on the way. Baker says the next series will be focused on food trucks. Make sure to check it out!