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Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 2:42 p.m.
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TRANSITIONS

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published August 7, 2014 at 1:56 a.m.

Michael Chaffin, the chief operating officer of Little Rock's Capital Hotel, says the hotel's restaurant that used to be Ashley's at the Capital will reopen for dinner Friday as One Eleven at the Capital, reflecting the hotel's 111 W. Markham St. address. The restaurant has undergone a complete physical makeover that Chuck Magill, the hotel's marketing director, described in May as designed to make the place feel more "convivial" but still classy. The kitchen has also undergone a complete makeover and expansion that has made possible an expansion of Chef Joel Antunes' menu, which Chaffin says is in the same style but "deeper than what was there previously."

There will be an additional 25 menu items spread across all three meals, primarily for lunch and dinner, including a couple of steak options that a new grill has made possible. Among the other new equipment: a smoker for seafood. The new kitchen is also aimed at increasing seating capacity for restaurant seating and private dining.

They'll be phasing in service over the next couple of weeks. Dinner will be 5:30-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; breakfast hours, starting Saturday, will be 6:30-10 a.m. Monday-Friday, 6:30-11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Starting Wednesday, they'll be serving lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays. And the 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday brunch returns Aug. 17. The new lobby bar will be open all hours that the restaurant is serving. The hotel phone number is (501) 374-7474.

Jeremy Pittman, co-owner of Pizzeria Santa Lucia, a popular food truck moving into brick-and-mortar quarters at Terry's Finer Foods, 5018 Kavanaugh Blvd. in Little Rock's Pulaski Heights, says he hopes to be open on or about Labor Day, pending the delivery, expected next week, of the huge, authentic, brick-floor, wood-burning, 1,000-degree Mario Acunto pizza oven they're importing from Naples, Italy. In the meanwhile, he confirmed that they'll be selling pizzas, made in their Forno Bravo mobile oven, noon-6 p.m. Saturdays in front of the restaurant/grocery store. The business's phone number will remain (501) 666-1885.

There appears to be a new tenant on the horizon at the revolving-door space at 5900 W. 12th St., Little Rock, now vacant for some time but occupied at one time or another by Mama Bea's Big Burgers, a couple of short-lived Chinese buffets, at least a couple of short-lived Mexican restaurants and was one of the many places that restaurateur and community activist Robert "Say" McIntosh set up shop. One of our sharp-eyed colleagues spotted a sign that another outlet of Sharks Fish & Chicken -- with outlets on Colonel Glenn and Roosevelt roads in Little Rock, Kiehl Avenue in Sherwood and Camp Robinson Road in North Little Rock -- is "Coming Soon!"

Leroy and Michelle DuBre, general managers-owners-operators of Kilwin's Little Rock on the ground floor of the Arcade Building, 415 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, confirm an Aug. 17 target opening date. 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. The website, kilwins.com/littlerock, lists the hours as 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Check out the Facebook page, tinyurl.com/ly78wmy. And we have a phone number: (501) 791-6122.

Robert Tju confirms things are still on target for an Aug. 15 opening for Oishi Hibachi & Thai Cuisine, 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, in what has so far housed Cafe 5501 and before that RJ Tao. Tju, who also runs Sushi Cafe, 5823 Kavanaugh, says he's looking at a mid-November target for a second outlet on Cantrell Road just west of Interstate 430. We'll keep you posted.

We didn't use to pay that much attention to the buffet menu at Murry's Dinner Playhouse, 6323 Colonel Glenn Road, Little Rock, until Larry Shields, formerly of Maddie's Place, took over as chef in January 2013, replacing Pat and Denzel Roland, who had been in charge of the kitchen since, as the local idiom goes, Hector was a pup. The menu does change as the productions do, and Shields has been matching the theme of his menus to the shows. The current production -- Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! -- and his Oklahoma Chuck Wagon Dinner menu run through Aug. 30; the latter includes, on the carving station, camp-smoked pork loin with chipotle coffee rub and pit-roasted beef butt with barbecue glaze. Entrees: frontier bison enchiladas, pigs in the cornfield (pork chops, sausages and corn), kettle-fried chicken and vegetarian pasta Alfredo. And side dishes (all named after characters in the show, of course) include Aunt Eller's mash tators, Ado Annie's hominy, Curly's red bean pie, Laurey's fried apples and Cord's sauteed field greens. Show times, ticket prices, etc., are available by calling (501) 562-3131 or at murrysdp.com.

West Little Rock restaurant Capers is one of 20 restaurants across the country to receive Achievement of Excellence Awards from the American Culinary Federation, which honored chefs, culinary industry professionals and food service establishments at its 2014 National Convention, July 25-29 in Kansas City, Mo. (That convention, by the way, was held in Little Rock in 2013.) A complete list of everything that got handed out is available at acfchefs.org/ACF/Events/Convention/ACF/Events/Convention.

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 on 08/07/2014

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