A familiar face among local Democrats, out-of-state transplant Mariah Hatta considers herself 100% Arkansan.
1. Name, occupation, years in LR, neighborhood: Hana Mariah Hatta, I’ve always gone by Mariah except with my relatives in Japan who call me Hana. Hana means flower in Japanese and was my great grandmother’s name, Mariah is Gaelic and means “bitter and rebellious” and was the name of one of the earliest members of my family to immigrate from Ireland, and finally Hatta is Japanese and means “eight rice fields”. I like to think I was always destined to live in Arkansas because of my last name.
I’ve worked in politics off and, mostly, on for over 22 years. I’ve worked directly for three presidential campaigns, the Democratic Party of Arkansas, Clinton Administration in D.C., and on many other races. After years of working for other people, I started my own consulting firm in 2011. I manage and advise political campaigns, nonprofits and small businesses. Lately I’ve been obsessed with getting my clients up to speed and active on social media.
I live in a small house with a great porch swing and an awesome back yard in the Heights where I’ve been since 2004. Joining me are my two “terrors”, Streeter and Minnie Pearl, who are rat terrier mixes that I adopted through CARE for Animals.
2. What has surprised you the most about living in Little Rock? I am very lucky. I have lived in Chicago, the Cleveland suburbs, Tokyo, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. I’ve also lived briefly in Portland, Oregon; Denver, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and New Orleans.
All of those cities are amazing for their own special reasons but Little Rock is my chosen home. Little Rock is surprising because it is so livable. The food and drink scene is outstanding. We have very talented and creative chefs and bartenders. Traffic is easy. The cost of living is good and for the most part the winters are mild.
3. What is, hands down, your favorite meal you can only get in Little Rock? Such an easy and difficult question, there are so many great restaurants for a city our size. I am still in search of the perfect brunch spot but I’ve found many other favorites.
I am partial to Jay’s Pizza especially the Blue Hawaiian pizza with jalapenos or any of the pasta specials. The kale salads at Boulevard Bread Company and South on Main have inspired me to experiment and attempt to replicate them at home. I love the Mushroom Melt and the White Truffle and Pecorino burgers at Big Orange Midtown. And recently I learned of the Queso Fundido and $1 street-style tacos at Fonda.
4. Finish this sentence: My job is awesome because…I finally work for myself. I feel for the first time that I get to use all of my skills and creativity AND I’m my own boss.
5. Describe your perfect night out in LR. Last fall I saw Mavis Staples perform at Christ Episcopal Church. Immediately following her concert I headed over to South on Main to catch the end of Bobby Rush’s show. That was a perfect Little Rock night out.