Little Rock boasts only one vegetarian restaurant. Yes, you read that right. One.
There are, of course, vegetarian friendly menus scattered around town, but there is only one with an entirely vegetarian menu – 4square Deli & Gifts. It was very convenient for a tourist traveler like me as it’s located right in across from the Little Rock River Market and down a few blocks from the Museum of Discovery.
What I like about this place is that unsuspecting carnivores are lured into 4Square Gifts by the walls filled with local Arkansas jellies, jams, spices and gifts. There are only a few stickers scattered around indicating that they serve vegetarian fare so it looks more like a gift market with a snack counter. It’s only if you’re paying attention to the menu closely that you finally realize “Hey, there’s no meat in here!” On second thought, I wonder how many people actual notice the lack of meat in the first place.
As for the menu, I also loved the selection of light items – wraps, salads, paninis, and soups. I ordered an Indian spiced chickpea wrap. I bit into the wrap and was surprised with the depth of flavor from the spicy seasonings to the chickpeas to the hunks of tofu. I had just come off of a long bike ride in 100+ degree heat starving and tired. Man, this wrap was good. Exactly what I needed to nourish both the stomach and the soul.
I also grabbed a sprouted mung bean salad from their refrigerator to munch on while waiting for my wrap. This light and bright salad was tasty and satisfying. As I sat eating it, I heard the woman next to me say, “That bean salad looks really good. Look.” She was right, it was really good – very crunchy and very zesty.
4Square Deli & Gifts is a hidden gem in downtown Little Rock. It’s definitely worth a visit to get a great light meal to eat at one of their cafe tables or to take on a walk across the street to the River Walk for an impromptu picnic along the water.