At River Rock Grill: Beauty, delicious food in abundance

Set on 188 acres atop scenic Petit Jean Mountain, Winthrop Rockefeller Institute was originally part of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller’s homestead and model cattle farm. Now it is an amazing lodge and conference center — “committed to developing diverse educational programs that nurture ideas, policies and activities to make life better in Arkansas.” 

The Rockefeller Institute recently completed a major expansion project with everything from 17,000 square feet of space and 16 meeting rooms to mountain elegance in accommodations and a full service business center.

And while you are there — you must dine at River Rock Grill, open for dinner 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The delightfully refreshing chef is Heather Welch. Chef Welch trained at the Florida Culinary Institute and has a background in the Caribbean flavors and influences. However, the delightful offerings of River Rock Grill include local Southern favorites, with fresh vegetables and produce from area gardens.

Yes, there are vegetarian offerings and delectable fresh grouper, but Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Salad Wedge with Matag Dressing and an amazing chicken pot pie with gruyere béchamel sauce may even show up on the menu!

Chef admits, “My love is for the orchestration of the entrée with the sauce, the marriage of the sides with the entrée — all done with a high-class, Southern flair.”

The Institute is a grand place to relax, enjoy the mountain air and view, see the winding replica of the Arkansas River and dine in an atmosphere that represents why we all love to live and travel in the 501 and in Arkansas.
Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and River Rock Grill may be reached at 501.727.5435 or