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By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published October 17, 2013 at 2:56 a.m.


Denton’s Trotline in Benton is no longer serving its signature catfish — the restaurant closed last week after 30 years.

Paula Morrell confirms she and husband Jason, who had been co-proprietors of Starving Artist Cafe, 411 Main St., North Little Rock, are divorcing, “but the restaurant is staying open,” she says. Negotiations are still in progress, and she is no longer on the premises, “but they are restructuring and have a new front of the house manager and are gearing up with a new fall menu and holiday and special event caterings.” Paula Morrell, who will keep control of her Tales From the South shows, will continue to put them on at the restaurant on Tuesday nights, and they will also tour the state under the auspices of the Arkansas Arts Council’s Arts on Tour Roster. The phone number will remain (501) 372-7976 and the website,

Thanks to Shelli Russell and her blog, as well as a sharp-eyed colleague, for calling this one to our attention: Denton’s Trotline, 2150 Congo Road, Benton, has closed after three decades. Robert Denton, son of the owners, posted this message on the restaurant’s Facebook page at 5 p.m. Oct. 11, thanking loyal customers and staff: “With sadness after 30 yrs. we have decided to close our doors. There [are] several factors that have led to this decision. Road construction on Military [Road], chain restaurants, the recent arrest of the sheriff brought unwanted attention & political pressure. … This is a very difficult time in our lives as we try to pick up and move on. Our son Buckley and his wife Shana are open in Malvern (Denton’s Trotline Express) and they would love to have you come see them. Thank you, Tommy & Von Denton.” Tommy Denton, who answered the restaurant phone - (501) 315-1717 - on Tuesday, confirmed that the restaurant in fact had shut down more than a week ago. He cited the road construction as the primary factor but said the negative public reaction to the June arrest by Benton police officers of then-Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington outside the restaurant, which had a private club license and a full bar, on charges of public intoxication and refusal to submit to arrest, came as a surprise. “That hurt us,” he says. “It probably put the nail in the coffin.” (Pennington, by the way, after some controversy, subsequently retired.)

A sign on the front door of the Packet House Grill, 1406 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, says the restaurant has “closed for lunch temporarily.” The restaurant’s Facebook page, to which the notice referred customers with questions, and a voicemail message at the phone number, (501) 372-1578, provides this information: “We will still be open for dinner and happy hour,” 4-9:30 p.m.Tuesday-Friday, 5-9:30 p.m. Saturday. We’ll keep you posted.

Michael Juiliano, aka Hot Dog Mike, has erected a sign outside his storefront-operation-to-be, 402 E. Third St., Little Rock, and kitchen and other equipment is going in. Juiliano posted on the Hot Dog Mike Facebook page last week, “I don’t have an official open date yet, but it’s getting closer. Still have a couple loose ends and pipes. The plumber needs to get it done then I can schedule my inspections.” We’ll keep you posted if he keeps us posted.

Acadia, 3000 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, is making its seasonal menu transition to fall Friday; among the highlights: pan-fried crawfish and sweet corn cake with a horseradish-celery slaw; the seasonal pan-seared sea scallops, which will come with curried banana salsa and coconut milk-raisin risotto; and a seared flat-iron steak with a blackberry demi-glace and barbecue mashed potatoes. The telephone number remains (501) 603-9630 and the website, 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:

Weekend, Pages 38 on 10/17/2013

Print Headline: TRANSITIONS


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