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Restaurant Transitions: Flavor of India, Fonda, Smokey Joe’s all close; Daylight Donuts, Heights Corner Market now open

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published April 6, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.

Flavor of India, in west Little Rock’s Market Place Shopping Center, which introduced chaat and South Indian dishes into the area dining scene, has closed.

Today is the last day at Cache for chef Joseph Salgueiro, who landed there after the demise of 1620 Savoy, where he had been executive chef. As of April 13 he'll be the executive chef at the Pleasant Valley Country Club. General manager Michael Auerbach, in a letter to club patrons and staff, said the club conducted "a nationwide search to identify a highly capable culinary professional" to find Salgueiro (even though he was practically on the club's doorstep), and praised his new chef as "a talented chef and leader as well as a positive and personable individual. We especially liked his professionalism, his creativity and his staff development and mentoring track record." Salgueiro's resume includes stints with Capriccio's Grill at the former Peabody Hotel in Little Rock and the Four Seasons in his native New York. Salgueiro says via Auerbach's letter that he's "excited to join the Pleasant Valley Country Club team" and is "looking forward to re-creating classic dishes as well as creating new and fun trendy dishes for the 'foodies'" who are members of the club. The club number, by the way, is (501) 225-2234.

Flavor of India in the Market Place Shopping Center, 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, appears to have closed. One of our eagle-eyed correspondents last week found the front door locked and the dining room full of kitchen equipment; the exterior neon sign is gone. As of deadline, the phone number, (501) 224-4567, had not been disconnected per se, but a cheery recorded voice told us "the person you are trying to reach is not accepting calls ... please try again later." It's the fourth Indian restaurant to go under in that strip, preceded by Kebab & Curry, Amruth, and Curry in a Hurry; we're purely speculating, but it's likely that at least one factor in its demise was its proximity to the popular Taj Mahal, catty-cornered and just half a block away on Market Street.

Meanwhile, Zin Urban Wine & Beer Bar has announced, via its newsletter, that it plans to open a second location in that shopping center -- not, apparently, in the Flavor of India space, because the newsletter says it "will be located on the west side," that is, on the other side of Market Street. It's set to open in early summer 2017 "and will be larger than the downtown space ... with approximately 2,000 square feet. The new bar will feature a garage door that will be open during patio season, and it will include a larger kitchen," and as with the original Zin, 300 River Market Ave., Little Rock, will serve fine wines by the glass and also have "4 popular local brews on tap." And there will also be a dedicated party room that can accommodate about 40. The phone number for the downtown original is (501) 246-4876. We'll keep you posted.

Another member of our our eagle-eye corps reports the apparent closure of the combination Dunkin' Donuts/BaskinRobbins, 6725 John F. Kennedy Blvd., North Little Rock, next to Indian Hills Shopping Center. It looks pretty definite: "The menu board is covered with black plastic and all the doors have hand-printed 'closed' signs on them," reports our correspondent. The phone number, (501) 835-1818, had not been disconnected as of Tuesday, but we couldn't get anybody to answer it, even during ordinary peak business hours.

And speaking of doughnuts, the DaylightDonuts at 102 Markham Park Drive, Little Rock, is open. Hours are 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 6 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday. The website daylightdonuts.com/find-your-daylight, which for some months listed the location as coming soon, now lists the phone number as "coming soon."

Fonda Mexican Cuisine and Tequila Bar, 400 N. Bowman Road, Little Rock, has apparently closed. We got a disconnect notice at the listed phone number, (501) 313-4120.

And a recent fire has closed, at least temporarily, La Regional, 7414 Baseline Road, Little Rock. The folks who answered the phone number, (501) 569-9394, said they have no idea when it will reopen, but that they are answering the phone there indicates the damage is not too extensive. We'll keep you posted.

The former Backyard Burgers kiosk at West Ninth Street and Broadway in downtown Little Rock has been vacant for several years, and last week it was razed to the bare ground. No, we don't know what is going to replace it, but we'll keep an eye on it.

Maumelle Mayor Mike Watson, in a recent monthly report on the city, notes that Chick-fil-A was expected to break ground on its Maumelle Boulevard location this week, with a planned grand opening in the fall.

Some interesting details have surfaced regarding the resurrection of the IHOP, now open at West Markham Street and University Avenue, Little Rock. Susan North, who runs owner-franchisee Golden Cakes Inc., says it took a couple of years of finagling to:

• Get the owner of the property to agree to another 30-year lease.

• Get IHOP's corporate office to agree to a nonconforming, custom-design footprint for the peculiarly long, thin lot (the new place, by the way, is much more open, airy, bright and inviting than the former cramped space).

• Obtain variances on the various Midtown zoning and use limitations that the new restaurant would have to surmount.

• Obtain all the necessary city permits.

Heights Corner Market opened Friday ­in the former Terry's Finer Foods location, 5018 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock. Co-owners Eric and Lou Ann Herget are reportedly looking at opening a restaurant in one of the former Restaurant at Terry's spaces -- the one on the north side -- and, once they've obtained a liquor license, a bar in the other restaurant space, the original "Sidecar" space on the south side (which, you may recall, started out life as Sue's Pie Shop). Meanwhile, the market hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and the phone number is (501) 663-4152.

Owners George and Sharon Qandah are retiring and as of Saturday have closed Smokey Joe's Bar-B-Que, 824 Military Road, Benton. A message at the phone number, (501) 315-8333, provides instructions to anybody who might be interested in buying the equipment.

And April 16 is, as you probably know unless your calendar is broken, Easter Sunday. Which is one of those days that everybody and his grandmother -- literally -- goes out for brunch after church. We've gotten a couple of notices on brunch buffets and special menus, which follow; we'll run the most complete list we have next Thursday (send information via email by Monday to eharrison@arkansasonline.com). Meanwhile, we highly recommend making reservations for wherever you plan to feed.

• Crowne Plaza Hotel, 201 S. Shackleford Road, Little Rock, Easter champagne brunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Crowne Plaza Atrium and Cafe 201.Chef Andre Poirot is preparing cold-food, carving, omelet, waffle, shrimp-and-grits, hot entree, hot breakfast and dessert stations. $34, $30 for senior citizens (60 and older), $18 for children 6-12, free for kids 5 and younger with a paying adult, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations: (501) 223-3000, Extension 6679.

• Wyndham Riverfront, 2 Riverfront Place, North Little Rock, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Carving, waffle and omelet, entree, vegetable, salad and dessert stations. $24.95, $22.95 for senior citizens, $14.95 for children 5-11, free for kids under 5 with paying adult, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations: (501) 907-4826.

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 04/06/2017

Print Headline: Restaurant Transitions

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