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Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 1:21 p.m.
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TRANSITIONS

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published September 26, 2013 at 2:38 a.m.

the-fourth-incarnation-of-brunos-little-italy-should-finally-open-to-the-public-next-week-at-310-main-st-in-downtown-little-rock

The fourth incarnation of Bruno’s Little Italy should finally open to the public next week at 310 Main St. in downtown Little Rock.

The Bruno brothers - president Gio and executive chef Vince - say the long-awaited and several-times-delayed reopening of Bruno’s Little Italy, 310 Main St., Little Rock, will take place sometime next week. They’re taking a few days in the wake of five recent invitation-only soft openings to evaluate and fix any issues that have resulted, and take care of pesky little details like getting the menu designed, printed and programmed into the point-of-sale system. Initially the restaurant will be open only for dinner, 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (with plans also to open from 4 to 5 for to-go orders only), with expansion to lunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays, a couple of weeks down the line. The phone number is (501) 372-7866.

Hot Springs pharmacist Russ Jefferson, better known in restaurant circles as the owner of the former Hot Springs Oyster Bar and the much-loved S.O.B. in Little Rock, is getting back into the restaurant business. He’s looking to open Frenchies at 2012 Central Ave., Hot Springs, formerly the location of Pompeii, which closed in 2010. His target is to be up and running by Oaklawn’s opening day, which is Jan. 10. “It’s going to bea Cajun joint, and nobody’s going to touch our price or touch our quality. We’ll be serving French Quarter favorites from New Orleans,” he says. He has been renting the space and putting the pieces together for about a year and a half, while at the same time pursuing a claim against BP that he filed after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which he says forced him to close his Spa City oyster bar. (The oil company, he says, paid compensation to all the end users of his seafood supplier - except him. The claim was recently denied; Jefferson says he’s planning an appeal.)

Frenchies will be open only on weekends - Jefferson says he’s keeping his day job at a local hospital - “but I’m going to do some things I haven’t done before.” That includes a Saturday-Sunday morning breakfast, beignets and cafe au lait, a la the BigEasy’s Cafe Du Monde, using “the exact same coffee that they use.” And he plans to stand by the motto he established at previous establishments: “Fresh seafood at a sailor’s price.” The menu will feature combinations of shrimp, oysters, stuffed crab and catfish, plus a couple of etouffees. We’ll keep you posted.

Little Greek Restaurant is now open in the former Cheeburger Cheeburger space, Pleasant Ridge Town Center, 11525 Cantrell Road, Little Rock. It’s the first Arkansas outlet of a Tampa, Fla.-based minichain with 11 Tampa Bay-area locations and three in Texas. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. The phone number is (501) 223-5300.

Mike and Vera Ramirez have opened La Chiquita Mex Cafe, 13724 Arch St., in southeast Pulaski County’s Landmark community. An online search reveals that over the past decade that address has housed at least one Mexican restaurant, a country cooking establishment, a Chinese restaurant and something called The Dinner Bell (possibly aka Southern Bells Diner or Southern Belles Diner). Hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 888-1027.

The list of building permits in Sunday’s Business section shows one for $100,000 for a Dunkin Donuts at 6725 John F. Kennedy Blvd. in North Little Rock’s Indian Hills. It’s the location of the former Dogtown Coffee & Cookery, and it’s confirmation of reports we’d been getting for some time, but had been unable to certify, that North Little Rock’s first Dunkin Donuts was, in fact, in the works there.

Twin Peaks keeps finding ways to get its promotions into the newspaper. Now, we’ll bet you didn’t know that today is “National Lumberjack Day,” but the Dallas-based chain is marking the occasion at all its restaurants by offering one free Twin Cheeseburger (with caramelized onions, mayonnaise, mustard and choice of cheese) to anyone (besides the wait staff ) wearing the chain’s signature lumberjack red and-black buffalo plaid.

We drove by the U.S. Pizza, 5524 Kavanaugh Blvd., in Little Rock’s Pulaski Heights, which we reported a couple of weeks ago is closed for remodeling. When Drew Weber, U.S. Pizza’s chief operating officer, said it was a big project, he wasn’t kidding: The building has in fact been gutted and only the cinder-block superstructure is intact, awaiting reconstruction.

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 09/26/2013

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