A new restaurant opened in West Little Rock this year that is bursting with great options for veg heads, like myself. With a name like The Main Cheese, it’s a pretty safe bet that there would be plenty of things for the vegetarians of Central Arkansas, but what about vegans?
The storefront where The Main Cheese currently lives has been home to many restaurants in the five years I have worked in West Little Rock, but I believe this one is here to stay. The decor is adorable, and the atmosphere is casual and relaxed. The menu is kept simple and full of local flavor, and there are plenty of things to keep a vegan coming back for more.
On my first trip, I was immediately drawn to the Caponata appetizer, a warm dish of eggplant, diced tomatoes, black olives, capers and spices. It’s served with a generous amount of pita bread that you just want to keep slathering with this amazing dip. For dinner, I decided to go with one of the salads. I settled on the Southwestern Quinoa Salad, because who doesn’t love quinoa and avocado? The waitress was unsure of the ingredients in the dressing, so I had her bring it on the side, and although it was marked as vinaigrette, it was definitely cream-based. It was no problem for her to swap it out for some balsamic, however, and I was good to go. The salad was full of delicious, fresh flavors, and I’d definitely order it again.
On my second trip to The Main Cheese several months later, I resisted the urge to order the Caponata again (yes, it was that good) and went with the Hummus Sampler. My dining partner and I both agreed that this dish was great. The samples of hummus came out with oil on top, the way real hummus should be, and was served with well flavored and crispy pita chips. Again, for my main course, I ordered a salad. Now, vegans don’t need to be relegated only to the “salad” portion of the menu, but when the description says, “wonton strips and Thai peanut dressing,” I’m in! The Thai Peanut Fusion salad was full of cabbage, bell peppers, wonton strips and peanuts and was definitely something I would have again. I ordered it with black beans in addition to the edamame, a little trick I emplore to add extra protein to my meals while dining out. To my surprise and delight, they had a vegan sorbet from Loblolly Creamery on special that day, so I ordered it as well. It was light, sweet and cold, which was perfect for the hot summer day.
I will definitely be going back to The Main Cheese. There are several sandwiches on their menu that I think could be altered to be made vegan. Of course, it would be fantastic if they were to start carrying a few plant-based cheeses in addition to the huge variety of cheese they already carry. A girl can hope.