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Restaurant Transitions: Jay’s Pizza has new owners; Arkansas Burger Company shuts temporarily, cites 'health emergency'

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published July 27, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.


Jay’s Pizza in the River Market’s Ottenheimer Market Hall has new owners.

Stone’s Throw Brewing, East Ninth and Rock streets, Little Rock, marks its its fourth birthday Saturday with a giant Block on Rock Birthday Bash.

EJ’s Eats & Drinks, 523 Center St., Little Rock, is now serving scoops, cones, malts, floats and shakes from Loblolly Ice Cream.

Arkansas Burger Company, 7410 Cantrell Road, temporarily closed last week for what a handwritten note on the door described as a "health emergency." Through our Tuesday morning deadline we only got a voicemail message at the restaurant phone number, (501) 663-0600, even during normal business hours (11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday), so, no, we do not know when they'll reopen.

Jay Baxter, the founder of Pompeii and who operated Jay's in the former Mollie's location on West Grand Avenue in Hot Springs, has sold Jay's Pizza in the Ottenheimer Market Hall, 400 President Clinton Ave., in Little Rock's River Market, to J&H Family LLC. "The guys who make up that LLC are Mazhil Rajendran and Ulaganathan Eswaran," Baxter says, noting that they're planning to keep all of his recipes, especially the made-in-house dough and sauce, the same. "The buyers plan on extending the hours where possible, River Market approved, of course," Baxter adds. "And they are taking the delivery business for real." Current hours for the kiosk: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 374-5297.

We now have a tentative opening day -- Tuesday, pending the approval of health and fire department permits -- for Ninja Bar-Sushi-Grill in the former Osaka Japanese Restaurant storefront, 5501 Ranch Drive, Little Rock. Co-owner Hendri Phang confirms it's linked to Wasabi Sushi, Bar & Grill, 101 Main St, Little Rock, which he said his brother owns. Hours are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. daily, 4:30-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4:30-10 p.m. Friday & Saturday, 4:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 367-8659; the website,, is up and running and includes the menu.

And we have some more details on the Oven Warming Event, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 7 preceding the official Aug. 8 opening of the the downtown Potbelly Sandwich Shop, in the the Lyon Building, 401 W. Capitol Ave., Little Rock. It's open to the public; for $5, customers will get a regular sandwich, chips and a fountain drink and proceeds will benefit Access, a Little Rock nonprofit that offers full-time education, therapy, training and activities for children and youths with learning disabilities. The restaurant phone number: (501) 747-1297.

The Little Caesar's outlet in the Colonnade Shopping Center, 315 N. Bowman Road, Little Rock, has reopened after a weeklong remodeling. They're answering the phone at (501) 224-9555.

Stone's Throw Brewing, 402 E. Ninth St., Little Rock, will bring together five of its competitor breweries and nine area food vendors, marking its fourth birthday with a giant Block on Rock Birthday Bash, 4-10 p.m. Saturday. You can throw back drinkables from Stone's Throw, Damgoode Brews, Flyway Brewing, Rebel Kettle Brewing Co., Rock Town Distillery and the Water Buffalo and Buffalo Brewing Co. Comestibles come from BlackHound Bar B Q, Desiacs Sandwiches, Hot Rod Wieners, Katmandu MoMo, Loblolly Creamery, A Lively Brew, Reggae Flavas, Slader's Alaskan Dumpling Co. and Southern Gourmasian. The Big Dam Horns will perform. Event proceeds go to Preserve Arkansas. Nearby, the Arkansas Arts Center will set up a giant biergarten on the lawn of the Pike-Fletcher-Terry House, Seventh and Rock streets, where members of the Rackensack Folklore Society of Pulaski County will be picking on the porch starting at 4 p.m. Take a blanket or just sit in the grass. Call (501) 244-9154 or visit'

And the Capital Hotel, 111 W. Markham St., Little Rock, is hosting "Food, Libations & Conversations," 6:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 3, on the mezzanine level. "We're abandoning the traditional wine dinner formality for a more intimate and convivial experience," according to the announcement, "an Italian family-style dinner of Italian staples interpreted through the creative lenses of the Capital's culinary team and paired with four wines and two beers personally selected by Certified Sommelier Jonathan Looney" of O'Looney's Wine & Liquor. Cost, $99.11, includes all service charges and taxes. Call (501) 374-7474; tickets are available through the Facebook event page,

EJ's Eats & Drinks, 523 Center St., Little Rock, has started serving scoops, cones, malts, floats and shakes from Loblolly Ice Cream, including a set of "grown-up shakes" (e.g., a signature Kahlua Vanilla shake). Hours are 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 666-3700.

Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, 505 Donaghey Ave., Conway, has closed and its phone number, (501) 764-4227, has been disconnected. One of our correspondents spotted a sign on the door thanking customers for 15 years of support. A second location in Pickles Gap that opened March 1 has also closed.

Clampit's Country Kitchen and Meat Market has opened at 5398 Arkansas 7 North, Hot Springs Village, in the former Charlie's Pizza location, Village residents Joey and Lynn Clampit, proprietors. In addition to well-known meat brands, including Stockyard Beef and Petit Jean, they'll also offer fully cooked entrees to go, "sweet treats (including sugar-free options)" and freshly smoked barbecue items daily." The store will feature a unique set of Arkansas products, including desserts, jams, jellies, hand-poured candles, hand-made soaps and a vast selection of marinades and rubs. And the Clampits say they're eventually planning to offer a Hot Springs Village area meal delivery program. Hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 204-5030.

Legoria's Rhythm & Rocks Jazz Bistro will hold a grand opening celebration and concert by Grammy Award-winning jazz guitarist and singer Jonathan Butler, Sept. 4 at its new venue, on the second floor of the newly restored historic Citizens Bank Building, 723 Central Ave., Hot Springs. According to a news release, the upscale venue is "designed for mature adult music-lovers 21 years of age and older and will feature live musical performances from local, international and Grammy Award-winning artists," performing jazz, blues, neo-soul, R&B, Motown, Latin, classical, country and gospel music, plus "special evenings featuring spoken word, poetry, comedy and special events." It will have a full-service bar and a daily menu of "appetizers, salads, sandwiches, traditional bar/bistro foods and nightly entree specials." Tickets for Butler's concert are $55, $75 for reserved seating. Call (870) 413-1667 or (501) 701-4799.

You may have read or heard about Jeff Franklin's pending farm-to-table restaurant near the Woodrow Street exit from Interstate 630, either in this paper, in online reports about the next neighborhoods to become potential restaurant hot spots or in conjunction with Franklin's other project, which is to erect a solar-covered charging station, with three quick plug-ins for electric cars, on the same property. (That property, by the way, near West Seventh and South Woodrow, is on the west side of Woodrow Street, directly across from a patch of ground for which restaurateur Mark Abernathy once planned a barbecue place.) Franklin says he's talking with several people about financing options, hopes to start construction before the end of the year and to be open before next summer. He says he hasn't yet developed a menu for the restaurant, and won't have a name for it until he has put together the menu.

And a historic house on the grounds of Pinnacle Mountain State Park may be in search of a restaurant. The 1845, two-story log "dogtrot" on Pinnacle Valley Road received a renovation in 1921; the then-owners, the Butterfields, named it Remembrance Farm after they moved. In the late 1930s it housed writers John Gould Fletcher and Charlie Mae Simon. The state bought it along with an old stable in 2005 and "mothballed" it in an attempt at preservation. And we're told it'd be a prime candidate for the National Register of Historic Places, but its condition has seriously deteriorated, and the state Parks and Tourism Commission is seeking ideas for an adaptive use for the house that will warrant the investment it would take to preserve it. That's where Commissioner John Gill comes in. He's proposing leasing the house for a restaurant that would serve park visitors -- starting with simple picnic-type cuisine for campers but perhaps eventually graduating to something more elaborate, even a bed-and-breakfast. Any enterprising restaurateur or hotelier with interest can call Gill at (501) 376-3800 or State Parks Director Grady Spann at (501) 682-7743.

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 07/27/2017

Print Headline: Restaurant Transitions


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