There are plenty of beloved restaurants in Little Rock, but perhaps only one that requires diners to type before they can finish their biggest menu item. Cotham’s in the City has become world famous for its quadruple burger patties, after being featured on the Food Network show “Man Vs. Food.” The hubcap features four huge burger patties that total one pound of meat .
“Every time it airs people come and buy it,” said Erin Griffin, who has co-owned and operated Cotham’s with her husband John since it opened in 2001. “We’ve already had two people finish it. “It’s practically impossible, so it’s more of a novelty. But people will come from places like Ireland and come here and order a quadruple. It’s crazy.”
Cotham’s has managed to thrive despite only being open 15 hours a week, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday. The Griffins have tried serving breakfast and dinner in the past, but found that didn’t work as the surrounding area is packed with 9-to-5 businesses and the State Capitol, leaving nothing to attract. people in the neighborhood on nights and weekends.
But what makes it work is its staggering popularity at lunchtime, with the joint particularly packed with lawmakers and their staffs during the annual legislative season. Griffin notes that the unusual arrangement is hugely popular with her own staff.
“Our kitchen staff works 30 to 35 hours a week due to prep, cooking and cleaning,” Griffin said. “We are paying our staff higher wages than ever, so many don’t even need a second job. And our servers can make a lot of money while still having time to pick up their kids from school and go to their baseball games.
Yet despite all these advantages, Griffin says his biggest challenge right now is finding enough staff.
“Before, we had stacks of apps for waiters because it’s so good here, but now we don’t have enough apps for service or kitchen staff. It’s amazing, and I don’t know where the workers are. We are proud to have supported our staff and hired anyone who wanted to come back after the pandemic was over.
Another part of the magnet draw for customers are the daily specials that Cotham serves with two sides for just $10.49. Mondays feature ½ burger (which is also served daily due to its popularity), while Tuesdays feature chicken and dumplings, Wednesdays chicken fried steak, Thursdays fried chicken, and Fridays ribs pork.
Catfish is another favorite on the menu and is part of the restaurant’s daily dishes. And for dessert, the restaurant offers a Mississippi Mud Pie that costs $4.99 for a half portion and $8.99 for a full one.
Cotham’s slogan is “Where the Elite Meet to Eat”, a reference to the many lawmakers who regularly eat there due to the restaurant’s walking proximity to the Capitol building. But Griffin also notes that President George W. Bush dined there while in office and that Bill Clinton preferred the original location to Scott, Ark. throughout his tenure as governor.
As she considers her two-decade history with the restaurant, Griffin notes that the current economic climate is extremely difficult to manage, but she is showing resilience in the face of the monetary tsunami facing the nation.
“We never want to raise our prices more than once a year, and we’ve already done that this year as costs continue to rise, and that makes it a brutal time to open a restaurant,” Griffin explained. . “Absolutely anyone opening one right now rather than having one has lost their minds, in my opinion. It’s tough on all sides, with inflation, staffing and everything. But we’re still there, and we will stay.
Cotham’s in the City is located at 1401 W. 3rd Street in Little Rock. Call (501) 370-9177 or visit cothams.com.
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