Video by Josh Throne // Photos by Kellie McAnulty
Break out your best fake Italian accent and let’s start checking restaurants off the AY Magazine Pasta Bucket List. This month, AY Publisher Heather Baker and KARK host DJ Williams are going through the list and showing viewers some of the best spots to get pasta in Arkansas.
With pasta, sometimes the best food is the old comfort food – the restaurant that you’ve been going to for years. That’s where Baker and Williams are going this time – but with a twist.
This culinary duo started out with Graffiti’s, an old favorite that has been revamped.
For one, the restaurant, which was founded in 1984, is under new ownership who have shaken things up a bit. Graffiti’s is balancing its roots that diners are familiar with and some new tricks. One of the new elements is ensuring all diners can enjoy a great meal – regardless of their health conditions or preferences.
“The cool thing about this place – Graffitits right off Cantrell – is that they have options for people who may be trying to go vegan or gluten-free,” Williams says.
“Or have allergies,” Baker says.
“I’m going to be trying that out. I’m trying to the figure a little bit, so I’m excited that they have those options,” Williams says.
“I just want some of that cheese wheel,” Baker jokes.
No meal would be complete without some adult beverages, so the restaurant prepares some of its signature drinks for the part. One is a Graffiti’s soda, which has Campari, Disarrono, and orange juice. The second drink is a chocolate martini with Godiva chocolate liqueur, vanilla vodka, chocolate vodka and chocolate sauce.
But the highlights is the food! Owner Armando Bolanos prepared a big spread for Baker and Williams. The food includes the restaurant’s vegan meatballs, sea bass with veggie noodles, and a linguini dish.
“The new owners have just put a great spread in front of us,” Baker says.
“This stuff is the real deal,” Williams says.
Once the food arrived, though, the table got pretty quiet! Both Baker and Williams agreed, though, that the pasta was superb. “This pasta is delicious. They’ve used the cheese wheel and created this amazing entrée,” Baker says.
The healthy options at Graffiti’s also scored high marks with Williams. “I’m somewhat optimistic about trying to go gluten-free. This makes me feel really comfortable about it,” he says.
There are some other cool elements at Graffiti’s that will help boost its popularity. As Baker says, the owners are working to create an exciting but family-friendly atmosphere. One of the best parts is the child-care option.
“They will take your kids, give them a kids’ menu and let them play while you eat for up to two hours,” Williams says.
This makes for a great date spot or a restaurant for a family night. Best of all, the food is delicious!
Check back with Baker and Williams next week as they try another spot on the Pasta Bucket List.