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Restaurant Transitions: Midtown Billiards, Three Sams BBQ reopening; new Freddy’s location

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published May 11, 2017 at 1:54 a.m.


The first of three Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers outlets in central Arkansas is close to opening in North Little Rock; ground has been broken on a west Little Rock location and there’s one in the works for Benton.

Andre Poirot (left, judging the 2016 Diamond Chef competition with Paul Bash) has left the Crowne Plaza Hotel in west Little Rock.

Midtown Billiards owner Maggie Hinson tells Arkansas Online she plans to reopen the bar, billiards and burger joint, 1316 Main St., Little Rock, by the beginning of June. Three-fourths of the restoration work on the establishment, gutted by a Sept. 19 fire, was complete as of May 4, reports Arkansas Online's Brandon Riddle. Hinson says the bar area is in progress, the ceiling is in place and bathrooms have been installed; kitchen equipment installation should be finished by the end of this week. Hinson says patrons should expect the same raffish atmosphere the place achieved over more than 40 years in its current location; part of the bar setup involves removing some of its newness and "aging" it to something closer to its antique character.

And speaking of post-fire recoveries, we're no closer to getting an actual target date for the re-opening of Three Sams BBQ and Catering, 10508 Mann Road, Mabelvale, which has been rebuilding after a March 2016 fire, but this May 5 Facebook post indicates that it's perhaps not so far off: "We are getting closer every day to reopening!! Thank you all again, for your CONSTANT support and encouragement. Believe me, NO ONE will be happier to reopen than the Three Sams family." Co-owner Annette Jones has in the interim been selling barbecue sandwiches, barbecue-stuffed potatoes and desserts out of the Three Sams' catering truck in the parking lot, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday. The listed number is (501) 407-0345.

Chef Andre Poirot tells us he is no longer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 201 S. Shackleford Road in west Little Rock. We have no other details. Poirot had been the award-winning executive chef at the former Peabody Hotel before it became the Little Rock Marriott, and before that was executive chef for Begue's Restaurant at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans. A native of the Alsatian ski resort community of Cornimont in France, he earned his toque at the same culinary school as Denis Seyer, formerly of Gypsy's Grill, Alouette's and Jacques and Suzanne's.

The North Little Rock location of Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, 4305 E. McCain Blvd., North Little Rock, the first Arkansas outlet of a Wichita, Kan.-based chain with two more central Arkansas locations in the works, has a target opening toward the end of May. A company spokesman says they're "currently working through final building touches and inspections, so we should know an opening date within [this] week." Hours will be 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. No phone number yet. Meanwhile, Paul Hoover, the central Arkansas franchisee, also broke ground last week for a west Little Rock location, the southwest corner of Chenal Parkway and South Bowman Road, in front of Wal-Mart, with a late summer target to open. The 2,800 square-foot, free-standing restaurant will seat 100 inside and more on the patio, and will have drive-through service as well. And, Hoover reports, "We are currently working through the permitting process and hope to announce the start of construction in Benton sometime this summer." That'll be among the burgeoning number of restaurants at the Shoppes of Benton, the mixed-use development fronting Interstate 30. Freddy's menu features cooked-to-order "steakburgers," Vienna Beef Chicago-style hot dogs and shoestring fries and desserts prepared with premium frozen custard.

June 15 is now the target date for the opening of the first Arkansas location of Gandolfo's New York Deli (headquartered, not in New York, but in Lawrenceville, Ga.) in the former Boneheads Grill space in the Promenade at Chenal, 17801 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock. Check out the menu, which features mostly sandwiches with Big Apple-related names, including Rockefeller Reuben, King of Queens, Carnegie Hall, Godzilla and I Love New York (the latter, corned beef, pastrami, Swiss cheese and spicy mustard or Russian dressing on rye), at the website, Hours will be 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.

And an update on the second location of Zin Wine Bar in the Market Place Shopping Center at 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock: Partners Troy Deal, Michael Puckett and Jeffrey Owens say they expect an early summer opening. It will be larger than the downtown space -- approximately 2,000 square feet, and "will feature clean, modern design with a large U-shaped bar that seats 12, and there will also be a lounge area. The new space will include a garage door that can be opened during patio season." And a larger kitchen, which will be serving "imported meat and cheese platters, spicy dips, panini sliders, stuffed peppers, olives, nuts and more." The new space will, as does the original at 300 River Market Ave., Little Rock, hold weekly wine tastings, special wine tasting events, music and Paint Night Little Rock. The downtown phone number is (501) 246-4876.

St. Joseph Center, 6800 Camp Robinson Road, North Little Rock, will host "Lettuce Grow: A Celebration of Spring," 6-9 p.m. Friday, a benefit featuring hors d'oeuvres from Matt Bell of South on Main, libations, an art show, a silent auction, music, a book signing by Janet Carson and the grand opening of the St. Joseph Farm Stand. Tickets are $50 in advance, $65 at the door. Visit

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium is marking American Craft Beer Week (Monday-May 21) and its 19th anniversary in the River Market, 323 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, with daily specials and events -- including $2.50 American drafts all day Monday, beer-company-sponsored happy hours Wednesday-May 19, and the May 20 19th anniversary party, with 19 rare beers available all day, cake and ice cream at 5 p.m. and music at 8. Call (501) 372-8032 or visit


Our mother wants nothing to do with Mother's Day, but if you're looking to honor your mom with a special meal on Sunday, here's the list of places that have turned in their plans and information on how to make reservations:

• The Capital Hotel 111 W. Markham St., Little Rock, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Mother's Day Brunch on the Mezzanine ($58, $25 children 6-11, free for kids 5 and younger) and a three-course, prix-fixe lunch menu in One Eleven ($68, $25 children 6-11, free for kids 5 and younger). 12:30-2:30 p.m. Saturday: Mother-Daughter Tea in One Eleven, with tea, finger sandwiches and pastries ($38, plus $10 per glass of champagne). (501) 370-7068; email

Cache, President Clinton and River Market avenues, will offer its usual brunch menu, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with specials at specified seating times; spaces, as of Tuesday's deadline, were still available at 10 a.m, 1 p.m. and thereafter. Complimentary valet parking is available. (501) 850-0265.

• Heritage Grille Steak and Fin at the Little Rock Marriott, West Markham and Louisiana streets, Little Rock, is serving its usual $19 buffet brunch and from-the-menu dinner (11 a.m.-2 p.m. for brunch, with music and $5 "unlimited mimosas"; 5-10 p.m. dinner), with a special promotion: Make reservations by Saturday and actually show up for the meal and be eligible for prize packages for Ava Bella Day Spa. Free valet parking. (501) 399-8000.

• The Crowne Plaza on South Shackleford Road, Little Rock, will offer a champagne brunch, seatings from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., in the hotel Atrium and Cafe 201, with cold-food, soup, carving, "action" (omelet, waffle and shrimp and grits), hot-food, breakfast, dessert and kids' stations. $34, $30 senior citizens (60 and older), $18 children 6-12, free for kids 5 and younger with a paying adult. (501) 223-3000.

• Next-door Riverdale restaurants Loca Luna, 3519 Old Cantrell Road, and Red Door, 3701 Cantrell Road, are keeping special Mother's Day Weekend hours. At Loca Luna, 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday; brunch: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday; (501) 663-4666, At Red Door, 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday brunch. (501) 666-8482;

• B-Side Bistro, in the Market Place Shopping Center, 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, will be open regular Sunday hours, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., offering its usual brunch menu and some specials. (501) 716-2700.

• Starting at 11 a.m., Mimi's, 11725 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, will serve up a three-course, prix-fixe ($18.99) meal, with mimosa and wine specials plus complimentary seasonal bread (Raspberry Brown Butter) and a Mother's Day gift (a card with embedded wildflower seeds ready for home planting). With the purchase of a second entree and two beverages, mom gets a free entree on any Mimi's return visit between May 15-28 (that's Mother's Day in France). Breakfast starts as usual at 7 a.m. (501) 221-3883.

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 05/11/2017

Print Headline: Restaurant Transitions


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