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Archive for the ‘Celebrations & Festivals’ Category

New Year’s Eve Menu 2016

December 29th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

The Delicious Menu for our 2016 New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner Dance!

New Year's Eve Wine Dinner Dance

Seated at the New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner Dance


Thia year’s New Year’s Eve Downton Abbey Wine Dinner Dance with repeat a gourmet menu and pared wines with complementary wines selected by our House Sommelier.  Join us for a wonderful unique experience from the 1880’s as a treasured guest of the “Hornibrook Family”.  Our bow-tied butler will greet you with a special memento  hand made by the housee staff.  You’ll b

e served by “tailed” waiters and Victorian Apron maids and the night will waft with conversation, dancing, and champaign at the witching hour!

The Soup

Victoric and Albet’s Leek and Brie Cream Soup

North Coast Chardonnay, Clos duBois 2012

The Sorbet—Palette Cleanser

Queen Anne Rosewater Sorbet    

                                                          The Main Course

Spiced Tenderloin with mustard cream sauce

Tart a ’la Oignou avec la courgle

Salade de fromage

with raspberries,

Goat Cheese, Caramelized Almond Croutons

Garlic Vinaigrette Dressing

Yeast Rolls

Mirassou Pinot Noir 2011

The Finale

Eggnog Creme’ en croute with Blackberries

                          Oregon Pinot Gris, Vin Glacé, King Estate, 2007   








New Years Eve, Downton Abbey Style

January 6th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

winedinnertableNew Years Eve, Downton Abbey style,  proved an elegant and vintage end to 2014. Guests at the Wine Dinner Dance were met in the entry parlor by an appropriately aproned maid with flutes of wine.    Gifts of handmade Victorian paper and ribbon medallions announced them as honored guests.  Hosts, Bob and Sharon, owners of the Empress, escorted the elegantly clad guests to the formal dining room to feast on a four-course gourmet meal featuring: Pumpkin and Fig Autumn Soup with a Pumpkin-Nutmeg Creme Fraiche, Victorian Rosewater Sorbet, Beef Wellington Duxelles accompanied by Gruyere Sausage Stuffed Onions, Blueberry Goat Cheese Salad with toasted Almand Croutons; Pear-Parsnip Velvete’ with Cognac, and a dessert finale of Apple Butter Pie and fresh creme.  Each course was paired with a unique wine chosen by the house sommelier to compliment the distinct flavor of each course. winedinnerbobsharon

During dinner, lively conversation sprang up among guests representing Britian, Israel, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and various cities around Arkansas.  After dinner, up came the rugs in the main parlor for dancing and live musical entertainment began, provided by Jeff Long and Mary Kai CLark, well known local entertainers.  Flames danced in the fireplaces, candles and oil lamps throughout the parlors of the mansion, as well guests.  At the witching hour of midnight, guests toasted the New Year in with a glass of champagne to the strains of Auld Ang Syne.

It was a memorable evening and we are glad to be able, once again, to host so many wonderful guests for this New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner Dance, “Downton Abbey style”!  We hope you’ll join us next year.  Sign up for our newsletter to catch all the wonderful events throughout the year.


A Downton Abbey New Year’s Eve

December 12th, 2013 by Sharon Welch-Blair

New Year's Eve Downton Abbey Style

New Year's Eve Downton Abbey Style

Downton Abbey at The Empress

A New Years Eve Downton Abbey dinner party is our biggest special event of the year.  An elegant gourmet meal paired
with hand selected wines by our house sommelier gives everyone who loves an elegant intimate evening a chance to wear their black ties and gowns and then
dance the night away to live musicians and then toast the new year at midnight, just as they did a hundred years ago.  The event is known as the most sought
after in Little Rock and is limited to 20 couples, so make your reservations now at
Or call us now for all the added details for a special romantic getaway  package which includes the dinner, two – four nights in suite of your choice,
gourmet candlelight breakfasts and special New Years Brunch on New Year’s Day.   Mention you saw our blog and get a complimentary bottle of champagne in a silver server with your getaway package (minimum two night stay, please). 

A Magical Victorian Christmas at The Empress of Little Rock Arkansas

Empress Dining Room just before New Year’s Eve preparations


Big Fun on the 4th!!!

July 9th, 2012 by Lisa

The annual Empress of Little Rock 4th of July Brunch was a huge hit this year!  Friends, neighbors and guests joined Bob and Sharon on the Empress grounds for food and fun.  The Downtown Neighborhood Association joined the party this year, bringing with them a special treat: Mimosas for everyone! (or at least everyone of age)  Everyone else brought a delicious breakfast recipe to share potluck style and enjoyed a picnic style gathering in the plazas and gardens of The Empress.  We already can’t wait to do it again next year!

The Place to Stay on Memorial Day!

May 25th, 2012 by Lisa

This Memorial Day Weekend, The Empress invites you to come to Little Rock and join us for Riverfest, Arkansas’ largest arts and music festival.  To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the event, Riverfest, along with Bruce Cochran and Custom Beverage, will host a wine tasting event and art auction on Thursday, May 24th in the River Market Pavilions from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  Bruce Cochran has selected an outstanding array of boutique wines from over 30 wineries.  The selection includes a variety of  whites and  reds that hail from many different wine-producing regions – from Washington State to Napa Valley to Italy to the Pacific Rim, and even a couple of home-grown Arkansas wines.

The music festival this year includes billboard acts from the past and present including Lynard Skynard, Boyz II Men, Little Big Town, Third Eye Blind, Snoop Dogg and B.o.B.  Also featured are local favorites such as Brown Soul Shoes and Benjamin Del Shreve.

The Empress offers a special package to those coming to town to enjoy the music, the fun and the fireworks (the Osborne Family Fireworks are always an amazing show).

Package includes:

  • Three nights in the room of your choice (Rates vary by room)
  • Three gourmet two course breakfasts by candlelight
  • Three Day Pass to Riverfest
  • Registration to the Rock-N-Stroll 5K  (registration required by Friday, May 27th for T Shirt)
  • Fireworks and Symphony Preformance on the Grounds Sunday, May 29th
  • All the rest and relaxation after the Events you need in the gardens or the porch swing at The Empress

Rates start at $197/person to $387/person based on choice of room;   Tax and gratuity not included.  Subject to availability               

(Not responsible for cancellation of any events at Riverfest for any reason).

Call The Empress at 501-374-7966 to make your reservations today!!!

P Allen Smith~Garden Home Events

March 6th, 2012 by Lisa

P. Allen Smith is an award-winning designer and lifestyle expert and host of two public television programs, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, P. Allen Smith’s Garden to Table and the syndicated 30-minute show P. Allen Smith Gardens.  His Garden Home, located at Moss Mountain Farm in Central Arkansas,  is offering Open House Tours throughout the year.  Throughout the month of March, he will present his beautiful daffodil gardens.  All tours include a lunch and a guided tour of the house, gardens, and farm.  Joins early Spring worshipers from across the region in celebrating an early spring right of passage, the annual Daffodil Festival and enjoy a wonderful day at our very own P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm.  And join us here at The Empress for an elegant and luxurious stay to top off your trip.


Daffodil Tours

March 9, 2012
March 16, 2012
March 23, 2012
March 30, 2012

The Holidays on Parade in Little Rock

November 28th, 2011 by Lisa

The Empress invites you to stay in luxuy at an 1888 Victorian Bed and Breakfast and take in the 2011 Annual Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade.  Sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, the parade will begin at 2nd and Broadway, follow Broadway to Capitol Avenue and then proceed down Capitol Avenue to the State Capitol.  An annual tradition, this year’s parade is sure to be an afternoon of festive fun!  Santa and Mrs. Claus will be joined by various entries such as marching bands, floats, cars, animals and much more!

Following the parade at dark (approximately 6pm)  enjoy the Lighting of the State Capitol Ceremony with entertainment and fireworks!

Want a fun weekend getaway that includes Holiday Magic?  Book a room with the Empress to enjoy the festivities in style!  Ask us about our Holiday discounts!

Independence Day in “The Rock”

June 14th, 2011 by Lisa

It is going to be a Star Spangled Fourth of July in Little Rock and at The Empress! Join us for a brunch on the grounds before heading out to Little Rock’s Independence Day attractions!
Activities in Little Rock include:
Free Admission Day at The William J. Clinton Presidential Library
Fun on The Fourth! at Pinnacle Mountain State Park (includes tug-of-water, water balloon volleyball, relay races and more!)
POPS ON THE RIVER- Arkansas’ Largest 4th on July Celebration includes a performance by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, firework and concessions of beer, soft drinks, corn dogs, funnel cakes, cotton candy, etc.
Our Star-Spangled Package gives you easy access to all that Little Rock has to offer. It includes:

•Three nights in room of your choice
•Fourth of July brunch on the grounds
•Two gourmet breakfasts by candlelight
•Feather Beds, hammock and porch swing
•$15 entree gift certificate to Ciao Italian Restaurant
•Complimentary wine at cocktail hour
•Your choice of Spa Suites
•Free admission to Clinton Library and Festival
•All the (old fashioned) fun you can stand

Music, Arts, food and fun at Riverfest 2011

May 25th, 2011 by Lisa

This Memorial Day Weekend, join the Empress and Little Rock in celebrating Riverfest.  This is Arkansas’ largest and most popular festival bringing you live music, food, art and fun!  There is the Rock-N-Roll Stroll Riverfest 5K, a kidzone and tons and food and craft vendors.  The Osborne Family Fireworks are a spectacular sight as they light up the sky and the river.  And let’s not forget about the music!  There are six stages offering such nationally reknowned acts as Widespread Panic, Poison, Nelly and Charlie Daniels Band and local favorites Kingsdown, Randall Shreve and the Sideshow and Brown Soul Shoes!

The Empress offers a Riverfest Memorial Day Package that will take the worry and the hassle our of planning for the big weekend, so call us today at 501-374-7966 to set up your dream weekend!