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TRANSITIONS

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published February 16, 2012 at 4:42 a.m.

— Jerry Barakat is going off the deep end, you might say, with

Oceans at Arthur’s, a seafood sideline to

Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse

expected to open this weekend in the

Jerry B’s

/

Gaucho’s

area of Barakat’s restaurant megaplex in the Village at Rahling Road, just off Chenal Parkway. He’ll be serving “fresh oysters to fresh lobster and everything in between,” which he’ll have flown in several times a week, at what he describes as a “mid-range” price. Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4:30-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 821-1814.

We hadn’t been aware that it had been closed, but

Margo’s Catfish Diner, 807 Willow St., North Little Rock, was shuttered for about seven months while undergoing renovations, and has now reopened with a menu offering catfish, chicken and barbecue. Hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 372-3810.

We had noticed the noticeabout a private club license pending for a space in the 100 block of Little Rock’s Main Street a couple of weeks ago. Now we know what it is:

Maduro Cigar Bar & Lounge, 109 Main St., now open (with grand opening activities Friday). On its Facebook page is this description: “a unique cigar & martini bar, lounge & shop,” locally owned and operated, with a “Latin-inspired decor, dark red walls and dark brown leather furniture.” For the cigar fans, there’s a large walk-in humidor and two other large wall humidors with handmade cigars from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras (“among other areas,” saith the Facebook page),” plus various cigar-related accessories for sale. For those who prefer to drink while, or instead of, smoking, the full bar will focus on rums, tequilas and bourbon-based drinks, “but wealso have a great selection of the best Scotch, whiskey, mezcal, wines, ports, cognac and beer.” They’ll also offer French-press coffee, tea and a selection of meat-and-cheese trays and similar snack foods. The owners have installed industrial-strength smoke eaters and air purificationdevices. Hours are 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 374-3710; the website, apparently still under construction: madurolounge.com.

Just up the street, at 315 Main, it has been a really bad week for

Porter’s Jazz Cafe

  1. The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division picked up its alcoholic beverage permit because the establishment, which had opened in September, had never obtained a sales tax permit. ABC Director Michael Langley said earlier this week that to the best of his knowledge, the permit has not been reissued. There were also reports in this newspaper that the owner of the former Gus Blass Co. building was suing for payment of back rent for the first floor and basement the cafe occupies, and that the neighboring RoseLaw Firm was complaining about the restaurant’s exhaust fan spewing grease on their cars. To the best of our knowledge, the establishment is not currently open or operating; we were unable to reach anybody at the restaurant’s phone number, (501) 324-1900, though it hasnot been disconnected. As of Tuesday, the website, portersjazzcafe.com, still carried a notice about a Valentine’s Day event that evening as though everything were normal.

And speaking of Facebook, it has become a source for information on all kinds of establishments, such as a new Hot Springs restaurant/ cafe called

Chunky Dunks, 4915 Central Ave. From its Facebook page: “You are gonna LOVE the fantastic food & fun atmosphere. ... You can pull right up in your boat and have a great burger on our deck or enjoy a comedy act or band on the weekends.” Danny Jones and Casey Jones are the general managers/culinary team. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday. The phone number is (501) 525-3335.

One of our sharp-eyed colleagues spotted this item in the list of building permits that appeared in this paper’s Feb. 5 Business section. “Alessi Keyes Construction, 1406 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, $1,393,000.” The address is that of the

Packet House Grill, the once and future high-end restaurant, which is set toreopen after many years as an office building, and that figure gives you an idea of what’s involved, and what’s at stake - or is that steak? Anyway, we’ll keep you posted.

And we almost ended up with egg, or possibly ground beef, on our faces Feb. 9 when we ran a review of

Burger Mama’s Bar & Grill, recently relocated to 7710 Cantrell Road, Little Rock: We started getting reports that the business had been shut down, with the requisite hot pink notice on the door from the state Department of Finance and Administration, for non-payment of sales taxes. Evidently, that had all been cleared up by the time the review ran; the restaurant was open that day (and subsequently) for business at its regular hours.

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 44 on 02/16/2012

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