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Top Picks - Capture Arkansas


By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published July 31, 2014 at 1:54 a.m.


D’Carlo Ristorante & Pizzeria on Stagecoach Road has closed, owner-chef Matthew Dodd has confirmed.

You could call it mixed signals: While one of our sharp-eyed readers was telling us that D'Carlo Ristorante & Pizzeria on Stagecoach Road at the Pulaski/Saline County line had recently started serving lunch, we were getting word from vendors that the place was shuttered tight as a drum during what were supposed to be business hours. They added that they were unable to get through by phone, sometimes not even getting the ancient voicemail message at (501) 407-0400 from founder Carl Orlando that new-ish owner Matthew Dodd never got around to changing. Sure enough, Dodd now confirms the restaurant has closed.

We've learned that Little Rock's second outlet of Memphis-based fried-chicken mini-chain Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken is expected to open Friday in the Bowman Curve Shopping Center, 400 N. Bowman Road, formerly the west Little Rock branch of Buffalo Grill. No word yet on hours, and there wasn't yet a listed phone number by deadline, but the number for the River Market outlet is (501) 372-2211.

We got a little ahead of ourselves last week, alas, regarding the long-term survival of the the Gilbert Cafe, 22 N. Frost St., Gilbert. Owner Melissa Welbourne reports, with resignation, that the pending sale fell through, and she closed the cafe after business on Saturday. Welbourne says she'll turn the building back into a residence, but if somebody comes along at some point and wants to reopen it as a cafe, all the gas, water, electric, etc., connections will remain in place to reconvert it.

After what appears to have been a few delays, Another Round Pub and Grill finally opened last week in the former Villa space in Rock Creek Square Plaza Shopping Center, 12111 W. Markham St., Little Rock. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 313-2612. The website,, is still under construction, but you can check out the menu via the Facebook page,

Donnie Ferneau Jr. has applied to the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division for a restaurant mixed-drink license for his Good Food by Ferneau, which he is in the process of moving into the former Argenta Market space, 521 Main St., North Little Rock. The "Description of Business and Entertainment Activities" attached to the application provides a couple of new nuggets of information: They'll be serving "casual dine-in and take-out customers until 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday and until 2 a.m. Friday-Saturday," and the place will feature music -- "rock 'n' roll, country and jazz bands on the weekends." No word if the license will also cover Chef Travis McConnell's Butcher and Public, which is also going to be operating in that space.

It kind of slipped up on us but the Chipotle Mexican Grill, Little Rock's second, is now open at 100 S. University Ave. You'll remember the lot once held an office building that was demolished to make room for this. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. The phone number is (501) 404-2557.

And a new McDonald's opened Monday at 5506 MacArthur Drive, North Little Rock. Like most area Mickey D's outlets, it'll be open 24/7. The phone number is (501) 753-4218.

It is not, in any way, a restaurant, but Chick-a-Deal, a Fayetteville-based mini-chain with outlets in Batesville, Blytheville and Paragould, has opened a Little Rock location, 800 Reservoir Road near Rodney Parham Road. It markets, at a bargain, frozen nonstandard chicken nuggets that don't fit restaurant requirements for size, breading, shape and texture at "huge savings." Hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday; the phone number is (501) 725-5991.

And speaking of chicken, you may have been following our reports that Rodney Cummings was looking to bring his All-American Wings back to the downtown Little Rock storefront (215 W. Capitol Ave.) it once occupied while presumably continuing to operate at 4605 Lynch Drive, North Little Rock. However, this letter to Cummings from Robin Powell of the North Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission found its way into our inbox: "I have tried unsuccessfully to contact you concerning the A&P 3 percent taxes you have collected for March, April, May, June & July 2014, but failed to remit to the North Little Rock City Clerk's office. I am in the process of filing a Certificate of Indebtedness (lien) against you. NLR Code Enforcement visited your restaurant on Monday and Tuesday (21st and 22nd) and said it looked like you were closed. I estimate that you owe approximately $595 for these months, which includes the penalties." The letter requested Cummings pay the balance in cash to the City Clerk's office by 4:30 p.m. Friday. We had not yet heard back on the outcome by deadline, but we'll keep you posted.

One of our sharp-eyed observers reports the North Little Rock Planning Commission has approved site construction plans for a BJ's Brewhouse at the southeast corner of McCain Mall, east of the Sears auto shop, on McCain Boulevard. It'll be central Arkansas' second outlet; the first opened in March in the Shackleford Crossings shopping center, 2624 S. Shackleford Road, Little Rock.

Garden & Gun magazine has included the venerable Pancake Shop, 216 Central Ave., Hot Springs, as one of "The South's Best Breakfast Joints" of 2014 in its annual "Southern Food" issue. The clincher, apparently, was the establishment's signature blueberry buckwheat pancakes: "It's the rare restaurant where the dreaded announcement of an hour wait for a table doesn't sound like a sentence to breakfast purgatory. But this 74-year-old institution in the Arkansas spa town's compact center has you covered. The host will send you off to the Savory Pantry next door, where you can wander with a cup of coffee and sample items like strawberry-chipotle jam or bacon-blue-cheese whipped mustard to your heart's desire. Once seated, you'll find the pancakes worth the wait. The buckwheat cakes with blueberries go down particularly well with orange juice squeezed that morning." Owner Keeley Ardman DeSalvo says that to mark the honor, the restaurant will pour coffee for anyone who shows up with a copy of the issue through Aug. 31. Hours are 6 a.m.-12:45 p.m. daily; the phone number is (501) 624-5720.

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:

Weekend on 07/31/2014

Print Headline: TRANSITIONS


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