Not only does the accessible menu, large in size and variety, describe dishes, but it also includes color photographs to ...More Details >
One of the first questions any happy couple encounters — especially new couples — can also often be one of the most entertaining: how did you two meet? Was it a hot night with winds blowing? Ripped jeans with skin showing? Was there a crazy exchange of numbers with a coy invitation to call, maybe? If so, that would make a great song.
Seriously though, we went looking for this (in our way), because the answers of how couples came to be couples can be as interesting and varied as the people themselves. Whether online, in competition or in the classroom, the stories are as fun to hear as they are different.
Of course, the details don’t always have a catchy beat. Maybe there’s an “aha” moment; maybe not. Maybe love grows gradually in the face of initial hesitation. While not as lyrical, it can still be a great tale. Because every relationship has to start somewhere.
Meet: Corri & Jack
Building a life and a business at the same time.
by Stephanie Maxwell
Meeting with Corri and Jack Sundell at The Root Cafe, I might as well be in their home. You don’t need family photos on the walls to see the legacy there. It’s in the dishes they serve, recipes they’ve created together, and in the postcards and handmade decorations trimming the walls.
That’s because The Root is a place they have built as a team; they were planning and preparing for it right alongside a growing relationship.Home is where the heart is, isn’t that what they always say?
Corri and Jack share a passion for local food, so it was only a matter of time before their paths crossed, and they both remember the night they finally did. Corri was working with the Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative at the time, and Jack went to see a holiday art show that she was helping curate. “I came in, and I saw her, and I asked her to show me a certain painting,” Jack says.
“Actually, it was a photograph,” Corri says.
“Oh, that’s right, it was a photograph. Of maybe a kid on a bicycle?”
The two knew of each other from the then-very-small food club at the Arkansas Sustainability Network, an organization which has since grown and morphed into the Arkansas Local Food Network, and even though he was genuinely curious about this certain photo, Jack was more interested in the girl who could show it to him.
This was in the fall of 2007, right around the time the idea for The Root began germinating, as Jack puts it. By Groundhog Day, they were dating, and from that point on, their futures — as individuals, as a couple and as partners in the restaurant — were intertwined. It’s an uncommon approach to a relationship, but for them, it works.
“It’s the foundation of common interests, and then on the other end, you know, the common goals give you something to work towards together,” Jack says. “I think it’s a really special thing.”
“This is our dream and we both had a vision for it ... so it’s easy to be a team,” Corri adds.
They talk about the time before The Root opened — having separate jobs, but still staying focused on the restaurant coming through. So from the start, they were working together.
“We were working on events, fundraising and stuff like that,” Corri says.
“Canning workshops, preservation workshops, we would do those things together. I’d get stressed out, and yell,” Jack jokes, “so Corri got to see what it’d be like to work with me in the restaurant ...”
“You did not yell. He did not yell,” Corri assures me.
Though there are other couples who share a workspace, the Sundells see their work as more than just a job. Their life together is living out their dream. “It’s very exciting,” says Corri. “It’s exciting to think of recipes together, and think of what’s going to be in season, and think of events. It’s something we both really enjoy, and it’s this exciting thing we have in common that we can share.”
Meet: Amber & Kelly
Rivalry and romance kickstarted on the field.
By Spencer Watson
The Dr. Phils of the world may say that turning a relationship into a competition is a bad idea, but a relationship begun in competition? Well, that’s worked out quite well for Amber Davis and Kelly Ward, who will be married this spring. Both are participants in the Little Rock Kickball Association and met through that organization — playing on opposing teams, in fact.
“We absolutely stomped them,” recalled Davis of the fateful day they met.
But the beauty of kickball is the camaraderie, and such is it that both teams ended up going out for drinks together after. When Davis went to pay her tab, she found it had been taken care of.
“I went to pay, and they said Kelly had already paid it, and I said who is Kelly?”
Turns out the two shared a mutual friend who facilitated an introduction — and even a lot more than that. See, Davis wasn’t exactly optimistic about the prospect.
“I’d dated people from kickball before, and I’d decided I’m not going to do this,” she said. “But he was very, very persistent.”
Encouragement from the shared friend to give him a shot and finding themselves in the same places seeing the same people eventually melted Davis’ resolve. In September, she finally agreed to a real date. It wasn’t exactly the most auspicious of occasions — the Arkansas game against University of Louisiana at Monroe at War Memorial. While the loss was only the beginning of a miserable season for the Hogs, it worked out for the happy couple, who met up again in October. It was at karaoke at a bar that they first kissed, just a sweet peck on the lips. But it was in that moment that Davis said she knew that was it.
“It sounds so cliché and ridiculous, but it’s the truth,” she said.
Together, they’ve not only started playing on the same kickball team, they discovered a mutual love of sports that extends to college football (obviously) and started playing softball together as well. Oh, and hunting, which was a surprise. In fact, that interest was more a surprise to the family than how she met her fiancé, Davis said.
“My parents are not really surprised by anything I do,” she laughed. “But what really threw my mother for a loop was the first time he asked me to deer camp.”
Turns out she loved it, and has done hunter education and even bagged her own kill this fall. That she’d fall for a country boy into hunting (even one from Little Rock) was something of a surprise to Davis, a Bryant girl who said that kind of guy was “not [her] type at all.”
Then again, the whole relationship — or at least how it started — is something of a curiosity, she added.
“I really never in a million years thought I’d meet my future husband through kickball. It even sounds ridiculous when you say it,” said Davis. “But here we are. We’re getting married this spring at War Memorial Stadium.”
Meet: Faith & Jeff
Couple met online but sealed the deal with a flight suit and a ukulele.
By Stephanie Maxwell
If you’ve never tried online dating, then you’re probably a little skeptical, despite the growing numbers of couples meeting online these days.
Faith and Jeff White were skeptical, as well.
“I was a little bit against having that be my ‘story,’” Faith admits.
But she was willing to try it, and after a not-so-successful experience on another dating site, Faith decided to give eHarmony a shot right around the time that Jeff’s subscription happened to be close to an end. Faith’s profile picture was a shot with her ukulele, and that’s what first caught Jeff’s eye. He plays in the local band 5 Point Cove and says he can’t imagine being with someone who isn’t musically inclined. Faith not only plays ukulele, but also has a background in theater, so they both have performance close at heart.
Though online dating seemed somewhat cliché at first, they agree that it took a lot of pressure off the dating scene for them — one being new to town, the other being shy — and even if their paths had crossed elsewhere, it might’ve been months, maybe a year before they figured out if the other was interested. “EHarmony was really just the catalyst,” Jeff says.
Also serving as a catalyst for the Whites’ relationship was a late January snowstorm: Jeff found Faith’s profile in the midst of the winter weather, and with roads covered in ice and not much else to do, the two whizzed through all five steps of eHarmony in 24 hours (“It’s basically a standardized test for love,” Jeff says.)
Once the snow cleared just enough to brave the roads, Jeff came to meet Faith at her house, a move that Faith admits sounds a little crazy thinking back on it — “I didn’t even know him!” Faith, originally from Wisconsin, served a cheese plate, they exchanged mixed CDs, “and we talked for a long time,” says Jeff (“I talked,” Faith reminds him).
“I kept noticing all of this NASA paraphernalia so I asked her what was the deal — and she’s like, ‘You wanna see my flight suit?’
She came back, and I’m like, I don’t even know what’s happening right now. This girl, who I don’t know, who is really cute, has just come in the room with a flight suit on, which is awesome, and that had never happened to me before,” recalls Jeff. “And it has never happened since.”
“It better not!” Faith laughs.
“And that’s when I knew, I think. At least that I wanted to date her.”
It didn’t take long for Faith to come to the same conclusion about Jeff. “So our very first date was at the end of January, it’s getting close to Valentine’s Day and the pressure’s on ... so by our first Valentine’s Day, we’ve only been dating for two weeks — he bakes me a pie and writes me a song. So every year [for Valentine’s Day], he bakes me a pie, writes me a song.”
You must have been really impressed.
“I’ve never not been impressed with Jeff.”
Now, three years later, they are married and have a house in North Little Rock, a mutt named Moose and a baby on the way. Would they change any of that for a different story? It’s not likely.
“We’re a good fit, for a lot of reasons,” Jeff says.