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TRANSITIONS

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published March 3, 2011 at 4:14 a.m.

Boulevard Bread

owner Christina McGehee says she expects the new bakery-catering facility-cafe-small grocery store at 1417 Main St., Little Rock, to open Tuesday. All of Boulevard Bread’s “baked production” will now take place at this location, shipping bread and other baked goods to its other three locations in the River Market’s Ottenheimer Market Hall, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the original space at Grant Street and Kavanaugh Boulevard in the Heights. The new location will also be a neighborhood cafe with coffee, Wi-Fi, grab-to-go sandwiches (prepackaged, but made fresh that day; they can be eaten on the premises, but won’t be made to order, as they are at the other locations), soup, deli meats and cheeses. And it will incorporate a small grocery store as well as the company’s entire catering operation. Hours will be 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, and the phone number is (501) 375-5100.

Meanwhile, McGehee says, the space in the original Heights location that used to house the bakery will eventually go toward expanding the number of dinner specials and soups, hot breakfasts and, even more eventually, expanding the seating area.

We were inundated this week with calls and e-mails expressing consternation over the closing of the

Crooked Hook, 1802 S. Arkansas 161, Jacksonville, which apparently occurred Feb. 17. However, one of our sharper-eyed correspondents spotted a note on the door saying the place has closed for remodeling and will eventually reopen under new management, though with no indication of just when that will be. Information still lists the phone number, (501) 982-9276, as active, but all attempts to reach it were cut off before we could connect.

Michael Ayers closed his Pierre’s Gourmet Pizza Co. on John F. Kennedy Boulevard just north of McCain Boulevard in North Little Rock in September 2009. He has recently resurfaced as

Pierre’s Gourmet Pizza Co. Express Kitchen, serving pizza, calzones, salads and subs out of a converted RV. Until this week he’s been parking weekdays in a lot at Third and Izard streets in downtown Little Rock, but he’ll soon be on the move, operating in Conway; near the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; and maybe outside Verizon’s Riverdale offices at the top of the week; and returning downtown late in the week. Ayers says he’s still nailing down the details. Hours are 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. weekdays wherever he’ll be. The phone number is (501) 410-0377.

Ontario, Canada-based franchise-chain outfit

The Pita Pit

is planning to open five locations in Little Rock and its environs over the next two years, the first popping up sometime in the next six months somewhere in the vicinity of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, says Kevin Quinn, Pita Pit’s director of franchise development.

The chain, which has more than 180 outlets in the United States and nearly 300 in North America, started out on big NCAA Division I college campuses “but has since expanded to many cities and communities without a collegiate presence,” according to a news release.

Quinn says expansion plans cover most of central Arkansas, possibly including Conway and Pine Bluff, which are also college towns. Right now, the only other area in Arkansas they’re looking at is Fayetteville, which could subsequently spin off into other parts of the Northwest Arkansas “metroplex.”

Pita Pit’s menu offers white or wheat pita-wrapped meat and vegetable sandwiches, breakfast pitas, soups and salads. And the company has cut its franchise fees to fuel its expansion, especially “in its prime market, college towns.” Interested? Check out the website, pitapitusa.com.

And speaking of chains, Spartanburg, S.C.-based

Denny’s

says it’s offering a wider range of lower-fat, lower cholesterol and higher-in-fiber menu items through its “Better for You” and Fit Fare options, including a “Build Your Own Grand Slam” that “allows guests to customize their breakfast by choosing four of their favorite items from a list of 17 ... like yogurt, egg whites, turkey bacon, chicken sausage and hearty wheat pancakes.” That, according to a news release, would let you “cut calories by more than 35 percent” compared to the regular Grand Slam’s egg-meat-and-pancakes pile-up. Oh, and speaking of Grand Slams, the chain has gone back to giving diners a free one on their birthdays, according to its website, den nys.com.

Has a restaurant opened - or closed - near you in the last week or so? Does your favorite eatery have a new menu? Is there a new chef in charge? Drop us a line. Call (501) 399-3667 or (501) 378-3513, or send a note to Restaurants, Weekend Section, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 121 E. Capitol Ave., Little Rock, Ark. 72201. Send e-mail to:

eharrison@arkansasonline.com

Weekend, Pages 41 on 03/03/2011

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