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Restaurant Transitions: Petit & Keet Bar & Grill grand opening; The Veg to open in downtown Little Rock

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published May 18, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.


Andina Cafe has started serving Fornetti pastries and has expanded its menu later in the day to include burgers and several fried items.

The owners of downtown Little Rock’s Legacy Hotel & Suites are looking to install a first-floor restaurant that serves “just good American food” as th...

Honey Hoisin Chicken Breast with side vegetables was a recent “Simply 600” meal (600 or fewer calories, 600 or fewer milligrams of sodium, 20 grams or...

Today is the grand opening of Petit & Keet Bar & Grill, 1620 Market St., Little Rock, the joint project of entrepreneur/restaurateur Jim Keet and culinary legend Louis Petit in the pretty-much-rebuilt-from-the-ground up former 1620 Savoy. Photos of the food have been trickling out on social media from folks attending soft-opening sessions. Executive chef Mateo Vannucci's soft-opening dishes have included Barbecued Shrimp and Grits, Rice Hoecakes with corn succotash and a Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich. Keet says, "The one thing I've been hearing is that there is nothing like this in this part of the country." Hours are 4-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday (bar opens at 4, kitchen opens at 5). The phone number is (501) 319-7675. The website is; the Facebook page,

The Veg, which has had a surprisingly long saga of missed chances in finding a new location since it left the River Market's Ottenheimer Market Hall some time ago, has landed -- in the former Lulav (et al.) space, 220 W. Sixth St., Little Rock. Owner-chef Shiem Swift says he has kept a retainer on what had been his proposed 801 W. Markham St. relocation, but "I got tired of paying rent and not opening." This spot has a kitchen large enough so he can start experimenting with breakfast items (including crepes), appetizers and entrees on his still-all-vegan menu, with weekend specials. Hours right now are 7 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays, potentially 10 a.m.-10 p.m. weekends, but an upstairs nightclub limits how late he can operate. Swift has kept the phone number he used for his River Market operation: (501) 838-3634.

Andina Cafe, 433 E. Third St., Little Rock, which used to buy pastries, etc., from Silvek's while it was still extant in the Kroger in Little Rock's Pulaski Heights, now serves cinnamon rolls and other baked goods from a Fornetti In-Store Bakery. You may recall we reported in October the advent of Fornetti, an international bakery with 8,000 European locations, at Road Runner stores in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Andina has also expanded its menu to include burgers, onion rings, seasoned fries, Cajun nachos, fried Gouda mac and cheese, chicken strips and fried calamari. Hours are 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 376-2326.

Saltgrass Steak House is reportedly planning to open its first Arkansas location in the vicinity of the north-of-the-river On the Border, 6000 Warden Road, Sherwood. The chain is one of many operated by chain-meister Landry's Inc., with a lot of outlets in Houston, many outlets in other parts of Texas and some in Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri (there's one in Branson), Nevada and Oklahoma. Attempts to reach somebody at Landry's corporate offices in Houston put us into a continuous phone tree loop.

And speaking of chains, Tuesday, permitting process permitting, is the target to open the new North Little Rock location of Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, 4305 E. McCain Blvd. As we've reported, ground has been broken for a west Little Rock location, at the southwest corner of Chenal Parkway and South Bowman Road, in front of Wal-Mart, with a late summer target to open, and construction on a Shoppes of Benton outlet is expected to start sometime this summer. Paul Hoover is the franchisee. Meanwhile, we should have described the North Little Rock restaurant as the first one in central Arkansas. Since our initial report, one has opened in Fayetteville.

Hot Springs' Ambrosia Bakery has moved, from 3909 Central Ave. to 307 Broadway, and is now serving breakfast and lunch for the first time. Hours are 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. The phone number is (501) 525-4500; check out the menu and other details at

The Park Hill Business and Merchants Association will hold its fifth Patio on Park Hill, 5-9 p.m. May 25, in the Lake Hill Shopping Center, 3800 block of John F. Kennedy Blvd., North Little Rock. The celebration will feature food trucks, music by local acts, booths for local vendors and businesses and beer, margaritas and wine. Pets are welcome but must be licensed, must be on a leash no more than 6 feet long and owners must supply their own waste bags. Admission is $1, free for kids 12 and younger. Parking is available with trolley service at nearby Park Hill Baptist Church on C Avenue and Trinity Lutheran Church on H Avenue; Park Hill businesses that are donating their parking spaces will have "free event parking" signs in their lots. Visit 25th.

The building appears to be complete and work has been ongoing in the parking lot that had been slowed or halted because of a lot of recent rains, on La Hacienda, 3024 Cantrell Road, Little Rock. We've been unable to get through to the official phone number, (501) 661-0600.

The Legacy Hotel & Suites, 625 W. Capitol Ave., Little Rock, in the midst of transforming from a hotel to a boutique lodging facility, is looking to put something that will serve "just good American food," into the renovated first-floor, revolving-door restaurant space, operations manager Kishan Patel tells Arkansas Business. The journal reports the restaurant is being listed as a separate business by real-estate firm Moses Tucker. The building opened in 1914 as the Hotel Freiderica -- the name it will apparently resume when it's complete and rebranded, sometime this summer; for a long time it was the Hotel Sam Peck, and yes, that's the grandfather of Trio's owner-chef, Capi Peck.

And Green Leaf Grill, in the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield headquarters building, 601 S. Gaines St., Little Rock, is once again sponsoring its Recipe Remix Competition, in which area restaurant-affiliated chefs re-engineer recipes to meet the restaurant's "Simply 600" nutritional criteria (600 or fewer calories, 600 or fewer milligrams of sodium, 20 grams or less of fat, 5 grams or less of saturated fat), "without sacrificing taste or appeal," according to a news release. (The U.S. Agriculture Department's Nutrient Database -- -- provides information on ingredients and determines calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat content for all ingredients.) As was the case last year, the chef/restaurant that wins the $5,000 grand prize will be expected to add that winning entree to the restaurant's static menu for one year. Second and third prizes are $1,000 and $500, respectively. Chefs should submit original recipes by Tuesday and the "rehabbed" recipe by May 30; the competition will take place June 26. Email chef for criteria, rules, regulations and more details.

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 05/18/2017

Print Headline: Restaurant Transitions


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