Cotham's restaurants have a long and distinguished history in Arkansas. The original location, Cotham's Mercantile, was built over the bank of a bayou off the Arkansas River in 1912. Since its beginning, it served as a general mercantile store in the Scott area for local farmers and plantation owners. It also served as a military commissary and lockup for local law violators awaiting trial by a circuit-riding judge. In 1984, a small eating area was opened to serve lunch to the community's farmers. Soon discovered by prominent politicians, notably Bill Clinton and David Pryor, the restaurant suddenly became THE place to eat and greet for distinguished Arkansans from all walks of life. The interior of the building was used for scenes in the 1973 Burt Reynold's flick White Lightning.Adam Richman even visited to take on the Quadruple Hubcap, which was featured on the Travel Channel's "Man Vs. Food". Sadly, the mercantile was lost to a fire in May of 2017. There are currently no plans to rebuild.
A new location, Cotham's in the City, opened in October of 1999 on the corner of 3rd and Victory. This location serves as a lunch spot for the downtown crowd and has become a favorite for Little Rock locals. With a political theme, campaign memorabilia from the last several decades cover the walls. Maintaining its reputation for being "where the elite meet to eat" there is no telling who you will see during the lunch rush at Cotham's in the City. Just a stone's throw from the Capitol, this is a frequent haunt for judges, legislators and other politicians. While in office, President Bush even stopped by for some delicious chocolate fried pie. Cotham's has now become an institution in Arkansas, whose reputation for outstanding food has gained national recognition. Food Network Magazine voted Cotham's as the best burger in the State of Arkansas. Rachael Ray also featured the restaurant on her show "Tasty Travels"where she lauded the famous Hubcap Burger. If you're craving traditional southern soul food in the downtown area, stop by Cotham's in the City for a hearty lunch. Cotham's is pure Arkansas, even in the city.