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TRANSITIONS

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published May 23, 2013 at 2:57 a.m.

Several readers checked in last week to report the closing of the Denny’s at 4300 S. University Ave., Little Rock, and yes, the restaurant has closed, and yes, the phone number - (501) 562-5651 - has been disconnected, and yes, the restaurant has disappeared from the chain’s website, locations.dennys.com/AR. But no, we don’t know why it closed, and nobody from New Horizon Restaurants Inc., which has been operating area Denny’s outlets, returned our phone call by deadline. According to that location’s website, it leaves the Denny’s at 310 S. Shackleford Road as not only the only remaining Little Rock outlet but the only one in central Arkansas. (Denny’s continues to operate in Russellville, Fayetteville, Bentonville, Springdale, Fort Smith, Texarkana and West Memphis.)

And while we’re discussing the closing of chain and franchise outlets:

The Quizno’s kiosk in the food court at Park Plaza, 6000 W. Markham St., Little Rock, has closed, and everything in the space has been stripped out, including the kitchen sink. It’s next to an already vacant space that used to house a Back Yard Burgers outlet. Mall officials say they’ve gotten proposals from prospective replacement tenants but no leases have yet been signed.

And Arby’s outlets at 7426 Cantrell Road and 301 N. Shackleford Road in Little Rock have closed; if the TV commercials have left you panting for a roast beef sandwich on King’s Hawaiian buns, you’ll have to visit the remaining ones on Chenal Parkway, Rodney Parham Road and Geyer Springs Road in Little Rock; John F. Kennedy Boulevard north of McCain Boulevard and East McCain in North Little Rock; and the one in Sherwood.

We’re getting reports that the new Little Rock location of Memphis-based Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, 300 President Clinton Ave., in Little Rock’s River Market District, is in the midst of its soft opening through Riverfest/Memorial Day weekend and plans a grand opening for Tuesday. Information cannot yet provide us with a telephone number.

So, is The Fold: Botanas & Bar, 3501 Old Cantrell Road, Little Rock, actually open? The restaurant’s Facebook page says yes and lists these operating hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday. A series of delays postponed the original planned opening for more than a year, and co-owner Bart Barlogie Jr. had hoped to have at least a soft opening by Cinco de Mayo (further delays pushed that back for a couple of weeks). A call to the restaurant’s listed phone number, (501) 916-9706, returns only a forward to a voice mail box. The restaurant’s website, thefoldlr.com, is still under construction (but it’s “the future home of something cool”).

And speaking of Mexican restaurants, still no answer at the listed telephone number, (501) 916-2421, for Mamacita’s Bar & Grill, 5923 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock. We remain vigilant.

And still speaking of Mexican restaurants, the Downtown Little Rock Partnership’s weekly newsletter included this little tidbit last week: “Interested in a location for a Mexican restaurant? There is an opportunity on Main Street! Moses Tucker Real Estate is seeking a Mexican restaurant for up to 4,500 [square feet] in the newly renovated Mann Building, Fourth and Main in downtown Little Rock. A great finish package is available. Contact Eric Nelson at (501) 951-1802 or [e-mail] enelson@mosestucker.com.” The new restaurant, whatever it might be, would be neighbors with the resurrected Bruno’s Little Italy, already under construction in that building project.

Steinhaus Keller Restaurant & Biergarten has taken over thespace formerly occupied by the long-standing but now defunct Hot Springs Brau Haus on the lower level of Spencer’s Corner, 801 Central Ave., Hot Springs. The restaurant is advertising itself in the Hot Springs Sentinel Record as “Arkansas’ newest German restaurant and biergarten,” featuring the largest selection of German bier in the state,” and with “full service bar and live entertainment.” Hours are 3-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday, 3-9 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 624-7866, which happens to be the Brau Haus’ former number.

And an update on the status of Arkansas outlets for Dallas-based Dickey’s Barbecue Pit: We reported a couple of months ago that locations were open in Siloam Springs and Lowell; the new Rogers outlet will open sometime in June at 4204 W. Green Acres Road, says Jami Zimmerman, senior public relations manager at Dallas-based Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc. Meanwhile, a planned Little Rock location has migrated to Bryant, 3213 Main St., with a planned July opening. A previously undisclosed North Little Rock outlet is still waiting on a lease, Zimmerman says, and restaurants in Fayetteville and Searcy are still on the drawing board. Dickey’s serves “on-site,smoke-it-all-night” Texas-style barbecue, including pulled pork, brisket, chicken, turkey and ham, with three tomato-based sauces (original, sweet and spicy). Check it all out at dickeys.com.

Last week we reported activity at the long-vacant former Sir Loins Inn, 801 W. 29th St, North Little Rock. It’s for real. Gene Hickman, who bought the building in January, will reopen the restaurant sometime this fall as Sir Loins Steak and Lobster House. Hickman says he’s having to replace practically the entire contents of the building because thieves stole everything, from the copper wiring and the plumbing to the fire extinguisher system. Everything will be the same as it was in “the day,” including the salad bar and the steak and seafood menu, with the addition of a humidor for cigars and a two-tier outdoor deck on which to smoke them.We’ll keep you posted.

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 40 on 05/23/2013

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