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Friday, August 29, 2014, 11:09 a.m.
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TRANSITIONS

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published June 19, 2014 at 2:00 a.m.

Georges “Georgie” Launet, now head pizzaolo for Pizzeria Santa Lucia, prepares a catering tray for a 2012 benefit.

We reported last week that Donnie Ferneau Jr. will move his Good Food by Ferneau catering/take-out business, focusing on gluten- and sugar-free meals, to the former Argenta Market space, 521 Main St., North Little Rock, leaving still open by the deadline for this column the questions of an opening date and the status of his planned new Southern-cuisine restaurant, The Still, in the Capitol Lofts project, which is what the developers are calling the eventually rebuilt Hall-Davidson Building, 200 block of West Capitol Avenue in downtown Little Rock. We'll reprise what he told our Business section guru Jack Weatherly shortly thereafter: Ferneau said he hopes to have Good Food open by mid-July. And plans are still on track, if perhaps not the timeline, on The Still -- Capitol Lofts partner David Robinson told Weatherly that, because of construction delays, opening day may be as far away as spring 2015. We'll keep you posted.

We also have a slightly more precise target of early August for the opening of Pizzeria Santa Lucia, which, like Baja Grill up the street, is a popular food truck moving into brick-and-mortar quarters, in this case, at Terry's Finer Foods, 5018 Kavanaugh Blvd. in Little Rock's Pulaski Heights. The key, says Georges "Georgie" Launet, head pizzaolo (that's a "gourmet" term for a man who makes pizzas in a pizzeria), is the delivery date of the huge, authentic, brick-floor, wood-burning, 1,000-degree pizza oven, currently on the high seas en route from Naples, Italy. Once it reaches a South Texas port, it'll spend two weeks in customs, after which it gets shipped to the Colorado company from which the pizzeria bought it. They'll then ship it here for installation. It'll take a few weeks after that to get it seasoned and into proper pizza-making condition, Launet says. But once it's up and running it'll turn out pizzas in less than five minutes.

Launet notes, by the way, that the true Neapolitan-style pizza itself may take some getting used to by Arkansans used to crisper crusts -- by design and tradition, it'll have a soft bottom and might better be eaten with knife and fork (though New Yorkers consuming similar "New York-style" pies have solved that problem by folding the slice). Launet says the pizzeria, which is taking over the space that Terry's Finer Foods the Restaurant occupied before it moved to the other side of the grocery store, will stay open late, primarily to provide food for customers of the bar (Launet promises a wide variety of domestic and imported beers); the late-night menu might include, in addition to pizza, a charcuterie plate and pies from the pie shop now open inside Terry's. We'll keep you posted.

The closing Sunday of Lemongrass Asian Bistro, 4629 E. McCain Blvd., North Little Rock (the the owners are moving back to Missoula, Mont., to open a new Asian-Mediterranean restaurant called Face Club) leaves a large hole in the already threadbare Thai restaurant tapestry. It leaves just two full-fledged Thai restaurants -- Chang's Thai & Asian Cuisine, 9830 Arkansas 107, Sherwood (and that's on the far north side of Sherwood, by the way), and Thai Taste, 1516 W. Main St., Jacksonville. Both are worthy but, one might argue, on the periphery of the metropolitan dining scene. And there's the Bangkok Thai Cuisine kiosk in the River Market's Ottenheimer Market Hall, 400 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, open for limited hours with a limited menu. A few area Asian restaurants offer one or more Thai-style dishes, and Lulu Chi promises that the menu her Oishi, a teppanyaki steak house in progress in the strip center at 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock (formerly Cafe 5501 and RJ Tao Restaurant & Ultra Lounge), will have at least a small Thai component. We'll keep you posted.

The Pink Olive Cafe, a Greek-Mediterranean restaurant that had been operating on the 19th hole of the DeSoto Golf Course, 102 Club House Drive, Hot Springs Village, has moved to the Hot Springs Mall, 4501 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is now (501) 525-0002.

And one of our sharp-eyed observers reports the closing of Sabores Mexican Cuisine, which replaced Patron Mexican Grill in December in the Tinseltown shopping center, 17324 Interstate 30 North, Benton. The telephone number, (501) 778-4111, has not yet been disconnected, but nobody answered calls placed during peak meal periods.

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 06/19/2014

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