The look: True to its name, the open kitchen and L-shaped bar are front and center in the rustic build-out, which features rough-hewn wood and galvanized metal light fixtures. Seating is at cozy cafe tables covered with brown butcher paper.
The scene: One weekday afternoon, the dining room was buzzing with busy servers working a lunchtime rush of families with children on summer vacation and curious folks from the neighborhood who once frequented Country Cafe.
The food: Billed as "simple fresh foods, made from scratch" the menu includes starters, salads and sandwiches, plus four weekly seasonal dinner entrees ($14-$18), with meat, fish, pasta and vegetarian choices displayed on a chalkboard menu. Among the starters, find lentil croquettes and fresh veggies served with dipping sauces ($6). A North Carolina trout banh mi sandwich ($10) is dressed with pickled vegetables, cilantro and roasted poblano aioli on an airy baguette. The recent "Southern Lunch" special ($11), served with iced tea, was fried catfish with yellow grits and collard greens.
The drinks: Pea Ridge obtained its liquor license last week and plans to have a cocktail menu soon. Right now, there's a concise wine list by the glass or bottle ($5-$27) and a half-dozen beers on draft and in the bottle ($4.75-$5.50), including Creature Comforts Tropicalia and Three Taverns White Hops.
The extras: Look for a weekend brunch menu with specials listed on the chalkboard. The kids menu ($5) features a junior burger, grilled cheese or chicken tenders. For dessert ($5.50), there's chocolate ice box pie, berry tart or banana pudding.