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Thursday, July 24, 2014, 10:51 p.m.
Top Picks - Arkansas Daily Deal

TRANSITIONS

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published April 17, 2014 at 2:40 a.m.

Correction: Art historian Mary Ann Caws will discuss the Modern Art Cookbook at 6 p.m. April 24 at the Arkansas Arts Center, in MacArthur Park, Ninth and Commerce streets, Little Rock, followed by an Artists’ Buffet at 7. An item below gave an incorrect date for the event.

Evidently, we got ahead of the facts when we reported a couple of weeks ago that Lee Richardson, the former executive chef at the Capital Hotel, has taken over Packet House Grill, 1406 Cantrell Road, Little Rock. Subsequent indications are that whatever deal might have been on the boards may have since fallen through. Nor can we countenance any rumors we’ve received that Paul Bash, formerly of Graffiti’s and the Purple Cow, might be in the picture. What we do know for sure: a Rector Phillips Morse “for sale” sign has sprouted outside the restaurant.

We’d say it’s fairly obvious that previous business owner-chef Wes Ellis is out, and apparently so is Betty Richards, who bought the building, built in 1869 as a U.S. senator’s home. (It became a restaurant in the mid-’80s, then an office building, and Richards reportedly spent a bundle renovating it back into a restaurant.) The restaurant phone number, (501) 372-1578, has not yet been disconnected but we couldn’t get anybody to answer it by deadline.

And speaking of for-sale signs, one has also popped up at the restaurant space at 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, that most recently housed Rocket 21 before it moved to North Little Rock. So apparently nothing will come of restaurateur Frank Fletcher’s intention to put something else in there.

Not far away, at 722 N. Palm St., to be precise, it looks like the opening of Pantry Crest, the Hillcrest “branch” of west Little Rock’s The Pantry, will not take place anywhere near owner-“food evangelist” Tomas Bohm’s original April/ May estimated target. In fact, Bohm says, his plans to rebuild the 100-year-old house “from the ground up” ran into some major construction setbacks, including the need to pour an entire new foundation. Now he’s estimating that he’ll complete construction by the end of June or the early part of July, and hopes to open by late August. He won’t open for lunch; hours will be 4 p.m.-midnight Monday-Saturday. We’ll keep you posted.

Jackson, Miss.-based Newk’s Eatery opened its Midtown restaurant Monday in the Park Avenue development, 314 S. University Ave., Little Rock. It’s the mini-chain’s 10th company-owned store and it marks its 10th anniversary. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. The phone number is (501) 663-6395. The other three Arkansas locations are in Hot Springs, North Little Rock and Jonesboro.

Management of new Mexican restaurant Cilantros Grill in Lakewood Village, 2629 Lakewood Village Place, North Little Rock, says they expect to open this weekend or Monday at the latest. Hours will be 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 812-0040.

Rodney Cummings, owner of All-American Wings, has checked in about his new location at 4605 Lynch Drive, North Little Rock, where he’s operating 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday (with an all-you-can-eat-for-$11.99 deal 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 4-6:30 p.m. on weekdays). The phone number is (501) 615-8123. And, Cummings says, he’s looking to reopen a second location in his original storefront, 215 W.Capitol Ave. downtown Little Rock, some time in late August or early September.

Drew Weber, U.S. Pizza’s chief executive officer, says he expects the mini-chain’s Heights location, 5524 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, which has been pretty much rebuilt from the ground up, to reopen somewhere in the first two weeks of May. And he says a Cabot outlet is on the books for the fall.

Leroy & Michelle DuBre will be the general managers-owners-operators of Kilwins Little Rock, expected to open this summer on the ground floor of the Arcade Building, 415 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock. It’s the first area franchise of a Michigan-based candy-ice cream confectionery, featuring “kitchen-made fresh from premium ingredients and original recipes,” according to the company website. They’ve got a local website under construction, kilwins.com/littlerock, and a Facebook page, tinyurl.com/ly78wmy.

We’ve received a couple more Easter brunch options (and remember that if you haven’t made a reservation at any place you’d normally be brunching, you’re likely not to brunch):

Red Door, 3701 Old Cantrell Road, Little Rock, is offering special Saturday and Sunday brunches, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Make reservations at (501) 666-8482.

Next door, Loca Luna will be serving its regular Sunday brunch, but isn’t taking reservations this weekend.

Easter Brunch at 1620 Savoy, 1620 Market St., Little Rock, will feature discounts on brunch beverages; on the plates, you’ll find Gouda cheese toast, lump crab potato hash,shrimp and grits and a Southern-fried-chicken-filet Benedict. Call (501) 221-1620 or visit 1620savoy.com.

The spring menu at Acadia, 3000 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, includes a savory oyster-bacon bread pudding served with a spinach-fennel cream sauce appetizer and, among the entrees: shrimp, roasted sweet potatoes, bell peppers, fresh basil and red chili flakes stewed in a coconut milk-curry broth with white rice; crawfish, Andouille sausage and bell peppers stewed in a creamy Creole sauce with cheddar grits and red cabbage slaw; and this season’s preparation of pan-seared sea scallops, which involves roasted banana-sweet potato mashers and a charred poblano cream sauce. And yes, they’re keeping the perennial Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese. The phone number: (501) 603-9630.

And we don’t mean to make a habit of mentioning Mylo Coffee Co., 2715 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, on a weekly basis, but the new Hillcrest coffee-pastry-lunch emporium is now closed on Mondays.

In conjunction with the Arkansas Literary Festival, art historian Mary Ann Caws will discuss the Modern Art Cookbook at the Arkansas Arts Center, in MacArthur Park, Ninth and Commerce streets, Little Rock, at 6 p.m. today, followed by a 7 p.m. tasting of dishes such as Cezanne’s baked tomatoes and Robert Motherwell’s whiskey cake. Admission to the lecture is by free ticket - call (501) 372-4000; to the Artists’ Buffet, $20 - call (501) 907-5946.

Wildwood Park for the Arts, 20919 Denny Road, Little Rock, will hold its 16th annual Wine & Food Festival, 6:30-9 p.m. May 2, featuring more than a hundred wines and dishes from Table 28, Cache, the Capital Bar and Grill and the Chenal Country Club, among others. The fundraiser will also feature entertainment and a silent auction. Tickets are $75. Call (501) 821-7275 or visit wildwoodpark.org.

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, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock,Ark. 72203. Send email to: eharrison@arkansasonline.com

Weekend, Pages 36 on 04/17/2014

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