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TRANSITIONS

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published August 20, 2015 at 1:45 a.m.

CORRECTION: David’s Burgers will be opening a location in the east end of the River Market’s Ottenheimer Market Hall. An item in this column incorrectly reported its location. Also, food trucks will gather for “Patio on Park Hill,” 5-8 p.m. Thursday Aug. 27 at the Lakehill Shopping Center, on John F. Kennedy Boulevard, North Little Rock. This column carried an incorrect day for the event.

You will recall we reported a month ago that Juanita's Mexican Cafe and Bar, 614 President Clinton Ave., in Little Rock's River Market District, was up for sale. As Cyd King reported in our Wednesday Business section, it now has a new owner: Derek Montgomery, who lives in Greenbrier and bought it -- lock, stock and entertainment operation, which was supposed to have stayed in the hands of Juanita's Live Music LLC, managed by Reed Lewallen -- for an undisclosed price. His new chef, Sterling Burns, who comes from Texas, will keep the core Tex-Mex menu, we're told, but is planning to add his own Asian-infused and Caribbean-infused specials.

Target opening date is Aug. 31 for the newest Newk's Eatery, moving into the former Far East Asian Cuisine & Bar, 11610 Pleasant Ridge Road, Little Rock, which closed in November (formerly Hunan Oriental Cuisine), in the western spur of the Pleasant Ridge Town Center, 11610 Pleasant Ridge Road, Little Rock, off Cantrell Road. Hours will be 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. The phone number listed on the Newk's website (newks.com), (501) 812-3996, apparently had not yet been connected as of our Tuesday deadline. Other Arkansas outlets of the Jackson, Miss., chain/franchise operation: 314 S. University Ave., Little Rock; 4317 Warden Road, North Little Rock; on Higdon Ferry Road in Hot Springs; on East Johnson Avenue in Jonesboro; and a new location, 637 E. Joyce St., in Fayetteville.

And speaking of the Pleasant Ridge Town Center, somehow it slipped under our radar, but the Orange Leaf outlet therein has closed. We've learned that there's an early December target opening date there for Blaze Fast Fire'd Pizza, a Pasadena, Calif.-based chain/franchise operation that offers "generously sized personal pizzas ... sent to a blazing hot open-flame oven -- the centerpiece of the restaurant -- where dedicated pizza smiths ensure the thin-crust pies are fast-fire'd and ready to eat in just 180 seconds ... all for about $8." Blaze Fast's first Arkansas location is set to open in late October -- around Oct. 22, according to a company spokesman -- at Conway Commons, 601 Elsinger Blvd., Conway. Check out the menu and details at blazepizza.com.

Blaze Fast's three-minute pie eclipses the five-minute one promised by Pie Five Pizza, a Dallas-based fast-casual pizza chain that, according to its website (PieFivePizza.com), provides "a personal handcrafted pizza ... cooked in custom-designed, state-of-the-art pizza oven -- all in under 5 minutes." Arkansas franchisee Rob Byford says there is an Oct. 30 target date for the opening of the first Pie Five outlet, next to the Academy Sports and Outdoors store at Hurricane Creek Village in Benton. He's currently searching for a Little Rock location for the second, with another eight projected, approximately two a year, for the next four or five years.

David Alan Bubbus, president of David's Burgers, says he has a mid-September target date for the opening of his latest outlet, in the Gateway Town Center, where you will also find the Bass Pro Shop, where Interstates 30 and 430 meet. (Take the Bass Pro exit from I-430 and hang a right onto Bass Pro Drive.) Bubbus says he's excited about the progress being made on the planned outlet in the west end cap of the River Market's Ottenheimer Market Hall (former occupant Boulevard Bread Co. has moved farther into the market hall), for which he has signed a letter of intent with the city and is hoping to make an announcement soon about an opening date. And he is working on an outlet in the food court of North Little Rock's McCain Mall, similar to the one he has in Little Rock's Park Plaza. We'll keep you posted.

Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co., 215 Center St., now has its beer license, and has started serving three brews in bottles -- a local pale ale (Diamond Bear), a light Chinese lager (Tsingtao), and an American amber ale (Fat Tire) to, according to its Facebook page, "perfectly complement those savory bowls and steamed buns, as it's traditional in China to pair a chilled bottle of beer with a round of jiaozi [dumplings] or mo [buns]." The lineup will change seasonally. The phone number: (501) 372-1739.

Meanwhile, Fresh: An Urban Eatery, 1706 W. Third St., Little Rock, expects to receive its wine and beer license on or about today and to start serving by Sept. 1 a limited list of local brews -- one amber and one wheat -- and a handful of domestics; the wine list will probably feature some Arkansas wines and maybe a California pinot noir. Their phone number: (501) 319-7021.

The combination KFC/Taco Bell, 4424 W. Markham St., closed Aug. 2 for renovations, which are currently underway. Looks like they're keeping the building superstructure but not much else.

Zangna Thai Cuisine, in the Shackleford Crossings Shopping Center, 2604 S. Shackleford Road, Little Rock, has been tweaking its hours and is now closed on Mondays. Hours are now 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4:30-9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. The phone number is (501) 227-7785.

We reported a few weeks ago that the Chef Shuttle restaurant delivery service was expanding into Northwest Arkansas. It's now active in Springdale and, as of Friday, will be in Fayetteville and Farmington. The expanded coverage area includes ZIP codes 72762 and 72764 in Springdale; 72701, 72703 and 72704 in Fayetteville; and 72730 in Farmington. Northwest Arkansas restaurant partners include Big Rub BBQ, Boneheads, Hapa's Hawaiian Grill, IDK? Cafe, Shogun Japanese Restaurant and The Crumpet Tea Room & Restaurant in Bentonville; Abuelo's, Bariola's Pizzeria, Chennai Cafe, JJ's Grill, Kirby's Kupcakes, Mellow Mushroom, Mimi's Cafe, On the Border and The Big Chill in Rogers. The list of Fayetteville restaurants so far includes Burrito Loco, Ginger Rice and Noodle Bar, Jammin Java, JJ's Grill, Little Greek, Mellow Mushroom, Sassy's Red House BBQ, Shogun Japanese Restaurant, Tropical Smoothie and Wasabi. Chef Shuttle also serves, in central Arkansas, Benton, Bryant, Cabot, Conway, Hot Springs, Jacksonville, Little Rock, Maumelle, North Little Rock and Sherwood. Visit chefshuttle.com.

And in our nostra culpa department, our item last week on North Little Rock's first food-truck event, "Patio on Park Hill," sponsored by the Park Hill Business & Merchants Association, 5-8 p.m. Friday at the Lakehill Shopping Center on John F. Kennedy Boulevard, mentioned that the shopping center housed Ira's Park Hill Grill and La Salsa. The former restaurant, which replaced E's Bistro, is currently doing business. The latter closed a few months ago.

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 08/20/2015

Print Headline: TRANSITIONS

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