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Thursday, July 31, 2014, 9:01 a.m.
Top Picks - Capture Arkansas

TRANSITIONS

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published July 10, 2014 at 1:53 a.m.

Springdale-based Restaurant Management Group LLC and MarketPlace Concepts LLC have an early fall target date to open a MarketPlace Grill in the former Johnny Carino's in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center, 11600 Pleasant Ridge Road, Little Rock. The mini-chain has outlets in Springdale, Fort Smith and Conway, with a MarketPlace Express in Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville. The company expects to hire 80-90 employees for the new restaurant. Check out the menu at MarketPlaceGrill.com or visit the Facebook page, facebook.com/MarketPlaceGrill.

Continuing central Arkansas' Mexican restaurant boom, Ray's More Than Mex Family Dining has opened as the first business in a new strip center, 10815 Colonel Glenn Road, Little Rock, near Steve Landers Toyota, between Interstate 430 and Shackleford Road. According to the website, raysmorethanmex.com, "Ray's More Than Mex is a family-run business named after our father and grandfather, Ray Hamilton, a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame who played for the football Razorbacks in the late '30s and went on to a pro career before and after World War II." The menu, also available on the website, is Mexican with a distinct Arkansas accent, and the kitchen proudly makes its own gelato. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 228-4089.

Dixie Cafe has rolled out a new menu as of Wednesday, which, according to a spokesman for the chain, "will have all your old favorites, plus over 20 new items." Those include cheese dip, chili cheese dip, chili dog, chili cheeseburger, a 10-ounce rib-eye steak with or without mushrooms and a choice of five pasta dishes. Check it out at dixiecafe.com.

One of our sharp-eyed observers reports ground has been broken this week for a new Waffle House at 4517 Camp Robinson Road in North Little Rock. No word yet on a target for it to open but we'll keep you posted.

And speaking of sharp-eyed observers, bless them for keeping us in line when we occasionally stray. A couple of them wrote in to remind us that the Grandpa's Catfish on Mission Road in North Little Rock, whose closure we reported last week, actually closed several years ago and the building is now gone. One speculated that perhaps the tipster who sent that "news" in might have been thinking about the nearby Catfish Hole, 603 E. Spriggs Road, North Little Rock, whose closure after 38 years in business we actually reported in late May.

Twelve Arkansas restaurants made it on Wine Spectator's 2014 Restaurant Wine List Awards, which highlight eateries around the globe that offer the best wine selections and which will appear in the magazine's Aug. 31 issue, on newsstands July 22. Several are holdovers from the 2013 list -- six in Little Rock (Cajun's Wharf, Capers, Ciao Baci, Copper Grill, So Restaurant-Bar and Sonny Williams' Steak Room) and four in Northwest Arkansas (Bordino's and Vetro 1925 in Fayetteville and River Grille and Ruth's Chris Steak House in Bentonville), plus two new entries: Local Flavor Cafe in Eureka Springs and Postmasters Grill in Camden. All carry the one-glass designation of the magazine's entry-level Award of Excellence (the lowest and least exclusive of three levels). Check out WineSpectator.com.

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 07/10/2014

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