85: Meet Spencer Jansen

Life-long Little Rocker Spencer Jensen makes sure we imbibe like the proper grown-ups that we are.


1. Name, occupation, years in LR, neighborhood: Spencer Jansen; I am the spirits specialist and bar consultant at O'Looney's Wine and Liquor; Outside of that my time is spent as an artist and consultant on Raiser's Edge (software for non-profits); I was born and raised in Little Rock-- and currently reside in the Heights--which gives me 30 years in this great city.

2. What are some of your favorite activities in and around central Arkansas? Outside of the day to day activities of spending time with friends and family, there is a plethora of activities in Little Rock. Unlike large cities, activities don't always jump out and grab you, so I usually read our weekly publications Arkansas Times and Sync Weekly to give me inspiration for what to do in the capital city. Little Rock is full of great activities and festivals like the Cornbread Festival, the Food Truck Festival, Arkansas Literary Festival, the American Taekwondo World Expo, various great concerts, rotating exhibits at our many museums, and if I am ever off on a Tuesday night, you will find me at the Afterthought for the best free concert in the state. 

3. What is, hands down, your favorite meal you can only get in Little Rock? This is by far, the hardest question to answer. There are so many great places in Little Rock to eat--just look at Forbes listing our city as one of the five best unknown food cities in America. I am sorry, but I cannot say just one; three dishes came to mind. Maddie's buttermilk fried chicken served with greens and mac & cheese is the best comfort food on a plate. (Perfectly breaded and fried chicken cutlet with slow cooked greens and creamy mac n cheese will put a smile on anyone's face.) The Mango Tango Roll at Sushi Cafe covers all the bases a roll should in one huge bite-- total sushi bliss. Lastly, South on Main has the best thing you can find in a bowl: Pork Cheeks with gnocchi, parmesan, and a slow egg...need I say more? 

4. It's a Saturday -- what's on your agenda? Saturday is a typical workday for me.  I spend the morning with my fiancee, Brittany and our two dogs, then I will head off to work at O'Looney's Wine and Liquor off Rahling Road. I just started at O'Looney's after spending six years as bartender for the Capital Bar & Grill. I am there to help you bring the bar into your home. We have the most knowledgeable staff in the market with a sommelier, certified wine specialist, beer specialist, and myself, as the spirit specialist. Come in and see us on your day off, and I can teach you how to become an in-home mixologist.

5. Where do you make sure to take out-of-town guests when they visit? When I have out-of-town guest visit Little Rock, I feel the best way to experience our city is through food, drinks, and history. I make sure they experience the restaurants listed above along with Ciao Baci, Acadia, and Table 28.  I also make sure they take in our wonderful museums Little Rock has to offer like the Historic Arkansas Museum, the Old State House, Arkansas Arts Center, and the Clinton Library. I think when an out-of-towner enjoys our museums, they will be able to understand where Little Rock came from, where it currently is, and where it is headed.

Does anyone know how I can hide this interview from my husband? Once he reads "how to become an in-home mixologist," I may become a cocktail widow.