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TRANSITIONS

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published December 5, 2013 at 2:45 a.m.

A “Chick’s Plate” and fried mushrooms from Slim Chickens. A new west Little Rock outlet for the Fayetteville-based mini-chain opens today.

The second Little Rock outlet of Fayetteville-based mini-chain Slim Chickens opens today in a former Arby’s in the Westchase Plaza shopping center, 301 N. Shackleford Road, Little Rock. The menu and hours - 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily - will be the same as its predecessor, at 4500 W. Markham St.; so is the general manager, Rob Byford. The phone number is (501) 954-9999. Byford says plans are proceeding for a third location elsewhere in west Little Rock (a May press release from the Slim Chickens headquarters listed the Chenal Curve shopping center on Chenal Parkway, but Byford says that hasn’t yet come to fruition). Byford is also connected to a Slim Chickens location in the Fairgrounds Crossing shopping center on Higdon Ferry Road in Hot Springs, which he expects to open in early February. Keep “abreast” of progress at slim-chickens.com.

And speaking of chicken, J.R. Stop, a gas station/ convenience store at 14008 Arch Street Pike, Little Rock, on Friday will open a Chester’s Chicken franchise. The Chester’s menu (chestersinternational.com/menu/chicken-menu) will feature bone-in chicken, tenders and boneless wings; side items of potato wedges, fried okra, coleslaw, fried corn and biscuits; salads; livers and gizzards; and breakfast sandwiches on biscuits. Hours will be 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday (no chicken on Sunday). The phone number is (501) 888-4124. In part because Chester’s outlets are individually franchised, a corporate spokesman says company policy forbids disclosing a total number of Arkansas stores and was unable by deadline to detail what other outlets might be in the area. Nor does the company website provide a list of locations.

And speaking of Hot Springs, DeLuca’s Pizzeria Napoletana, 407 Park Ave., is up and running and is currently pitching pies Wednesday-Saturday from 6 p.m. “until the dough runs out,” says co-owner Anthony Valinoti (whose accent is instantly recognizable as having come from Brooklyn). Valinoti, who runs the place with his girlfriend, Nicky Lambertus, says that’ll probably continue to be his operating hours through the end of the year. In January, once Oaklawn’s racing season starts, he’ll likely be open noon-8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday, closing Tuesday and Wednesday, when the ponies don’t run. Keep up with the latest details via the restaurant’s Facebook page, facebook.com/DelucasPizzeriaNapoletana; the phone number is (501) 609-9002.

And still speaking of Hot Springs, Big Easy Jazz Cafe has either opened, or is soon opening, at 538 W. Grand Ave., Hot Springs. The address was at one time, for a long time, the legendary Mollie’s. Garden Secrets Restaurant & Health Food Market, which replaced Mollie’s, closed in October 2012. The jazz cafe has a Facebook page - facebook.com/pages/BIG-EASY-JAZZ-CAFE/1427343644147633 - that proclaims its offerings include “New Orleans cuisine, live jazz and blues weekly,” but as of deadline there’s no listed telephone number and no additional details on hours or anything else. We’ll keep you posted.

For those looking for updates on the supposed reopening of the former Sir Loins Inn in North Little Rock as Sir Loins Steak and Lobster House, Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Graham says Nov. 19 legal proceedings have been reset for the week of Jan. 21. The case involves theft-of-property allegations against a former Cabot home-building operation belonging to entrepreneur Gene Hickman. Hickman had said his target date for reopening the venerable steakhouse was on or about Nov. 1, but since then he has repeatedly declined comment on the restaurant project.

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 39 on 12/05/2013

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