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By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published January 17, 2013 at 2:20 a.m.

Though its telephone number, (501) 372-2211, has not yet been disconnected, Redbone’s Downtown, 300 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, has reportedly closed. Also reportedly, the prime “suspect” to fill the space is a Little Rock outlet of Memphis-based minichain Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken.

Last day of business for Kierre’s Kountry Kitchen, 6 Collins Industrial Place, just on the North Little Rock side of the Maumelle/North Little Rock boundary, will be Feb. 2. Owner Martha Kierre, who founded the place with husband Lee in 1994 as a sideline to a real estate business and kept it running after he died in 2006, is retiring. Hours ’til then will be 6 a.m.- 2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; the phone number is (501) 758-0903.

The White Water Tavern, 2500 W. Seventh St., Little Rock, has stuck its toe into the lunch pool, opening for lunch noon-2 p.m. Fridays. Dinner hours are 5-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday; the bar is open 2 p.m.-2 a.m. those same days. The phone number is (501) 375-8400.

Next! Bistro & Bar, 2611 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, which had stopped serving food in the wake of the Christmas storm (caught between power failures and lost business that complicated their cash flow), is “back in business with a revamped menu,” says co-owner Ashlee Long. This week’s list of “Blackboard Bites,” featured appetizers and entrees, includes a brie-gouda-havarti-smoked cheddar cheese plate; a white cheese dip “with a kick”; a portobello mushroom stuffed with pesto, mozzarella and tomato; and salmon tacos with back bean pico de gallo. The phone number is (501) 663-6398. We recommend calling ahead to check the operating hours; the Facebook page still lists them as 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday, but the place hasn’t heretofore been opening before 5 p.m.

And speaking of weatherrelated delays, the reopening of the newly renovated and far-west Little Rock Chi’s, 17200 Chenal Parkway, is now set for Friday. The restaurant will feature a smaller version of the new, expanded, Sichuan-oriented menu that’s currently available at the parent restaurant, 6 Shackleford Drive (overlooking the intersection of West MarkhamStreet and Shackleford Road). Hours for both establishments are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily; the phone number on Chenal remains (501) 821-8000 and the original-location number is (501) 225-8878. And we’re awaiting news on the weatherhindered imminent opening of a new Chi’s in the former Union Bistro space, 3421 Old Cantrell Road in the Riverdale neighborhood.

A reader asked us to check into the status of the Frostop, 4131 John F. Kennedy Blvd., North Little Rock, shuttered by a pre-Christmas fire. We can’t confirm anything directly, but the listed phone number, (501) 758-4535, returns a “disconnected” message.

A sharp-eyed reader spotted a “Now Hiring” sign for Home Fresh Burgers at the former Hop Drive-In location, 7706 Cantrell Road, Little Rock. It appears to be the same Home Fresh Burgers that was originally announced to open on Main Street downtown across from RAO Video. We couldn’t get anybody to answer the listed phone number, (501) 219-8140, for confirmation or a target opening date. We will keep you posted.

Another sharp-eyed reader who lives near the Sweet Tea Cafe, 612 Office Park Drive, Bryant, says the place has “disappeared” along with its catfish and coconut pie. A call to the listed number, (501) 213-0268, provides, not a disconnect announcement yet, but a message that the holder of the number “is not accepting calls.” We’lltry to keep you posted.

In case you missed the news earlier this month, the Arkansas Queen riverboat ceased operations Jan. 6 and it is pulling out of North Little Rock; the owners cited an alleged breach of contract by the city for not replacing the barge wherein had been located the side restaurant-bar the Salty Parrot, and which sank into the river in March 2009. The city says it had no such responsibility and is looking into the possibility of coming up with another riverboat. If you had placed a deposit for a river cruise or were left holding a prepaid gift certificate, call (501) 372-5777for refunds.

We mentioned, when we reported that former 1620 owner-chef Evette Brady was stepping down into semiretirement (while the restaurant transitioned into 1620 Savoy), that she’d be doing an occasional cooking class. For the year’s first one, she will be grilling, sauteeing and baking at 3 p.m. Feb. 3 in the 1620 Savoy kitchen, 1620 Market St., Little Rock. The class will be paired with a wine tasting with Bob Carter from Glazer’s Distributing. Cost is $75; make reservations early because space is limited. E-mail

And speaking of cooking classes, former Capital Hotel Executive Chef Lee Richardson will be offering a “crash course in Beef Wellington” at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 at Eggshells Kitchen Co., 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock. Cost is $50, which includes a glass of wine and water; you’re welcome to bring your own “extra beverages.” Call (501) 664-6900 or visit

Dallas-based Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc., billed as “the world’s largest barbecue chain,” is developing new locations in Lowell and Siloam Springs and planned locations for Rogers, Fayetteville, Searcy and Little Rock, according to a recent news release. We’ll keep you posted.

You may recall that not too long ago the crashing and burning, figuratively speaking, of corporate owned-and-operated Bennigan’s restaurants. However, Bennigan’s Franchising Co. is up and running and creating what it calls a “legendary comeback.” That includes the recent opening of a new restaurant at 237 S. Main St., Jonesboro. Hours are 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.- 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and the place has a private club license so it can serve alcoholic beverages in dry Jonesboro. The phone number is (870) 336-1962. Bennigan’s, according to a news release, has agreements to develop more than 30 new restaurants in 2013 in New Jersey, Maryland, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Minnesota, Florida, Tennessee and Michigan. Manzar Riaz, the Jonesboro franchisee, says he plans to open three additional Arkansas Bennigan’s restaurants over the next four years. We’ll keep you posted.

And Pravin T. Shetty, who operates the Ramada Inn in Batesville, says the hotel’s Daily Bread restaurant has closed; the hotel dining room, however, is serving all three meals daily. The hotel telephone number: (870) 698-1800.

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:

Weekend, Pages 38 on 01/17/2013

Print Headline: TRANSITIONS


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