Jess and I were driving around Little Rock the other day trying to find a good place for lunch. For most people, this is like a pretty mundane activity: pick a kind of food you like and figure out the best place that serves it within a set budget. Unfortunately, Jess and I both can be a bit picky and indecisive when it comes to figuring out just what exactly it is we want to eat. We knew we wanted something light, and since it was a lovely day, we really wanted to eat outside. We were near the Heights by this time and so decided to swing by Boulevard Bread Company for a sandwich; it was an excellent choice. Boulevard’s fresh-baked bread and tasty ingredients make me wonder why anybody would ever waste time at one of the chain sandwich places.
Jess’ sandwich order was the PLT, a spin on the classic bacon-lettuce-tomato combo made with thinly sliced, crisp-fried pancetta, a cured and rolled pork belly bacon that we both just love. The bread was just the way we like it – a good, crusty exterior with a soft, chewy middle; and unlike some places that claim to bake their bread fresh daily, Boulevard’s bread does more than act as an edible holder for the meat and toppings – it actually has flavor. In addition to the pancetta, the sandwich was piled with rich, ripe tomatoes and crisp green lettuce. I had a bite or three and I can say that the PLT is one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.
Another one of those “best sandwiches” has to be my own Boulevard selection, the porchetta, a sandwich made with homemade slow-roasted Italian-style pork, tomato, lettuce, and a pungent (but excellent) aioli. There’s something about a well-made aioli coupled with ripe tomatoes that makes a perfect flavor combination, and when added to the tender pork and served on a chewy ciabatta roll it really becomes a thing of beauty. The ciabatta bread here was just slightly oily (in a good way) and had a good flavorful tang to it. I had a cafe au lait with my sandwich, and I have to say that they pour a pretty good cup of coffee, too. In addition to the sandwiches, Boulevard has soups and salads available as well as a great number of breads and pastries (of course.) Cured meats and other delicacies are available on shelves and in a small cooler as you walk in, and it was tough leaving without dropping some serious money on all the good things they had on display.
The location we ate at is at 1920 N. Grant St. in the Heights, but they also have locations in the River Market, at UAMS, and on Main Street. There aren’t many places to get a quick sandwich that tastes this good, and they also have daily dinner specials, so give them a try – and Enjoy!