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TRANSITIONS

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published August 22, 2013 at 3:50 a.m.

Chip’s, 9801 W. Markham St, Little Rock, has a new owner. Chris Harcrow, an old friend of the Chipman family, which opened the restaurant in 1961, took it over Aug. 12. He’s retaining the wait and kitchen staff, with one exception: Ernestine “Tina” B. Chipman, widow of founder Thomas (who died in July 2012), is retiring. Harcrow says he plans to keep the menu, the recipes, the hours - 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday - and the phone number - (501) 225-4346 - the same. That includes the pies, with which the Chipmans have agreed to help, especially with the Thanksgiving and Christmas orders. (Most popular pie, by the way: Chocolate, followed closely by coconut.) He’ll do a little modernizing of the dining room in conjunction with the shopping center’s upgrading of the parking lot and signs.

Michelangelo’s Italian Ristorante, Oak and Front streets, Conway, will close after this Sunday’s brunch. The Log Cabin Democrat reports owner Mike Coats has sold it to Carl Garrett, who will open a Conway outlet of his Table Mesa Bistro minichain, which also has locations in Bentonville, Fayetteville and Joplin, Mo., serving “modern Latin” food, including steak, seafood, fajitas and salads. Michelangelo’s will be serving its entire menu Sunday at reduced prices and the paper reports that Coats is planning to go out with a bang: A traditional New Orleans-style funeral procession at 2 p.m., with trumpeter Rodney Block leading a jazz band down Front Street to Coats’ Mike’s Place, where Coats will hand Garrett the Michelangelo’s key. Coats, who opened Michelangelo’s in 2008, told the paper he plans to renovate Mike’s Place and will incorporate some of the more popular Michelangelo’s dishes into the Mike’s Place menu.

(And yes, “mesa” in Spanish means table, so yes, the name of the restaurant really does mean “Table Table.” Which spurs us to quote food writer Calvin Trillin, who observed several times that, “In American cities the size of Kansas City, a careful traveling man has to observe the rule that any restaurant the executive secretary of the Chamber of Commerce is particularly proud of is almost certainly not worth eating in. Its name will be something like La Maison de la Casa House, Continental Cuisine; its food will sound European but taste as if the continent they had in mind was Australia.”)

South on Main, 1304 Main St., Little Rock, which opened a couple of weeks ago for lunch (11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday- Friday), is now open for dinner, 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, pretty much right on owner-chef Matt Bell’s timetable. The phone number is (501) 244-9660; the Facebook page, facebook.com/SouthonMain-LR.

A.W. Lin’s Asian Cuisine, in the Promenade at Chenal shopping center, 17717 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, has finally unveiled its long-awaited new Asian fusion menu, as well as new lunch options, a Sunday brunch and a catering service. The new menu expands the selection of Thai and other Southeast Asian dishes; additions for lunch include “multiple-course dishes, mini appetizers and classic rice and noodle dishes,” according to a news release. Today is the last day to take advantage of the “grand reopening celebration” - all menu items, including seafood and sushi, will be no more than $4.99 - but the restaurant will offer dine-in and to go discounts Tuesday-Aug. 29 and at brunch this Sunday and Sept. 1. Hours are 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Call (501) 821-5398 or visit awlins.com.

All American Wings, 9201 Maumelle Blvd., North Little Rock, appears to have closed, barely a year after it opened. The phone number, (501) 771-2100, returns a “sorry, this number has been disconnected” recording.

The Young family is marking the 26th anniversary next week of the establishment of Murry’s Restaurant at its present location, on U.S. 70 East between Hazen and Carlisle.Paterfamilias Olden Murry, a former Mississippi riverboat cook, built the original Murry’s in DeValls Bluff in 1982. But it burned down in 1987 and the second generation of the family, Stanley and Becky Young, reopened in Hazen. It’s best and very widely known for the catfish (which Garden & Gun magazine featured prominently in its “50 Best Southern Foods” list in its October/November 2012 issue), but third-generation scion Yolanda Young, who helps out her parents at the restaurant on Saturdays,says the place “serves everything,” including steaks, frog legs and seafood (fried shrimp, lobster, occasionally crab legs). Hours are 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The phone number is (870) 255-3266.

And an update on Gene Hickman, who says he expects to reopen the former Sir Loins Inn as Sir Loins Steak and Lobster House on or about Nov. 1: Hickman, despite his claim that he has settled all of several legal issues, is still facing theft-of-property allegations involving his former Cabot home-building operation, according to Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Graham. Following a court appearance Monday, a pretrial hearing has been set for 1 p.m. Oct. 21, with a jury trial set to start Nov. 19.

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 email to: eharrison@arkansasonline.com

Weekend, Pages 38 on 08/22/2013

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