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RESTAURANT TRANSITIONS: TAE closer to opening; Andre Poirot at Capital Hotel; B-Side reopened; Rock Town open in SoMa

Poirot ‘surfaces’ at Capital Hotel

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was originally published May 31, 2018 at 1:51 a.m. Updated May 31, 2018 at 12:45 p.m.

andre-poirot-center-with-fellow-2018-arkansas-diamond-chef-judge-paul-bash-left-and-university-of-arkansas-pulaski-technical-colleges-culinary-arts-and-hospitality-institute-director-todd-gold-has-planned-an-island-time-menu-for-the-capital-hotels-june-7-food-libations-conversations-dinner

Andre Poirot (center) — with fellow 2018 Arkansas Diamond Chef judge Paul Bash (left) and University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Institute Director Todd Gold — has planned an “Island Time” menu for the Capital Hotel’s June 7 Food, Libations & Conversations dinner.

Firefighters battle the May 1 fire that destroyed the Ozark Country Restaurant on Little Rock’s Keightley Drive.

Justin Patterson says he and and CC Key -- owner and manager, respectively, of the late Southern Gourmasian, which closed earlier this year on West Capitol Avenue -- are on the cusp of opening TAE, their Southern-theme restaurant and lounge in the Hotel Frederica (formerly the Legacy, and, of course, the Hotel Sam Peck), 625 W. Capitol Ave., Little Rock. They're waiting on a few improvements from the landlord, he says, and they'll start working on permitting this week. The name stands for "True Arkansas Eatery," and, perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, "eat" spelled backward. Patterson says the menu features "Southern comfort-type food" with a contemporary twist; Facebook page, facebook.com/truarkeat, features photos of cornmeal-crusted smoked spare ribs and tea-smoked ribs; with "a few dishes that really represent historical Arkansas food" (and yes, that includes some kind of cheese dip). The full-service restaurant will seat 50-60 for lunch and dinner with a full bar and a small framed outdoor seating area that Patterson says will probably be used for special events. Hours will be 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-9 or 10 p.m. daily. The phone number is (501) 301-0892; a website, truarkeat.com, is under construction.

There's a chance for the resurrection of Morningside Bagels, 10848 Maumelle Blvd., North Little Rock. At least that's what co-owner Roxane Tackett posted last weekend on Facebook: "This past week I was given permission to sell the Bagel shop. It is an exciting, yet emotional step toward closure. We had done some preliminary steps toward this and will now be focusing to get this done." She has been in limited communication with estranged husband and co-owner David Tackett, who, arrested April 5 on a felony warrant for damaging the shop's chairs, baking equipment and glass fixtures and for attempting to torch the Maumelle residence he co-owned, according to police. "Thank you for your patience and we look forward to posting our progress," she adds. Email her at morningsidebagels@sbcglobal.net.

One of our eagle-eyed correspondents noticed that the windows of Sky Modern Japanese Restaurant, Pleasant Ridge Town Center, 11525 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, "are all boarded up [with] construction fences around the perimeter and there's work going on." However, the woman who answered the restaurant phone number -- (501) 224-4300 -- assures us that the place is open for business. Hours are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5 p.m.-"close" Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.-"close" Saturday-Sunday.

We hadn't heard much regarding Andre Poirot since he left the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 201 S. Shackleford Road in west Little Rock, almost exactly a year ago. Now he has surfaced at the Capital Hotel, where he is directing their private dining service and has designed the menu for the hotel's latest Food, Libations & Conversations event, titled "Island Time," 6:30-8:30 p.m. June 7 at the hotel, 111 W. Markham St., Little Rock. The menu reflects the six years Poirot spent in Bermuda before moving to the United States, where he served as executive chef for Begue's Restaurant at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans and subsequently the award-winning executive chef at the Peabody Hotel before it became the Little Rock Marriott. He has teamed up with Certified Sommelier Jonathan Looney of O'Looney's Wine & Liquor for "selected libations to compliment the meal," which, in place of the usual formal wine dinner, will be served "family-style." Price is $93, including 20 percent gratuity and applicable tax. Visit tinyurl.com/y9ju9p34. (By the way, Poirot is a native of the Alsatian ski resort community of Cornimont in France, and earned his toque at the same culinary school as Denis Seyer, formerly of Gypsy's Grill, Alouette's and Restaurant Jacques and Suzanne's.)

B-Side Bistro, in the Market Place Shopping Center, 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road, which had closed for some remodeling and reorganization, reopened Wednesday with, according to owners Barbara and Tom Fuge, "great food, a charming host, efficient service, a warm welcome and a truly enjoyable dining experience." Hours are 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. The phone number is (501) 716-2700.

The Little Rock Fire Department on Tuesday announced that an electrical malfunction -- arcing near an air conditioning unit -- was at least in part the cause of the May 1 fire that destroyed Ozark Country Restaurant, 202 Keightley Drive, Little Rock.

Kontiki African Restaurant, 13420 Arkansas 111, Alexander, has filed an application with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division for a wine and beer license.

The new full-service, brick-and-mortar Conway outlet of Nepalese restaurant Katmandu MoMo finally opened May 21 at 1018 Oak St., serving a menu much expanded over what has been available from the food truck and the kiosk in the River Market's Ottenheimer Market Hall for lunch service -- 11 a.m.-2 p.m. -- and dinner, 5-9 p.m. A land line is still in the works; for the time being, call the "main" phone number, (501) 351-4169.

In case you missed this last week, Arkansas Online reported that the management of Mexico Chiquito insists the former mini-chain's two remaining restaurants in central Arkansas are not set to close. "We're still open for business and still making the best cheese dip for Little Rock and Arkansas," says Chad Jones, president of Haynie Companies, which also franchises a number of Arkansas KFC locations. It acquired the Mexican restaurant's original location in North Little Rock's Protho Junction area in 1979. The most recent closure, at the 13924 Cantrell Road location in west Little Rock, was the result of a real-estate transaction -- Pulaski County assessor's office filings show the property sold May 9 for $1.5 million to Anchor Realty Investments LLC of Maumelle. It would appear, since David "Alan" Bubbus, who owns the David's Burgers mini-chain, is listed as a company officer and registered agent on the Arkansas secretary of state's website, that that is what the ex-Tex-Mex neck of the woods will soon become.

Rock Town Distillery is now open in its new location, 1201 Main St., in Little Rock's SoMa neighborhood. The space offers a much bigger bar area than its former East Village home, with plans to extend the offerings from what has been available in the distillery's tasting room to include cocktails developed by bartender Rob Armstrong and craft beers by Little Rock area breweries including Core, Diamond Bear, Flyway, Lost Forty, Rebel Kettle and Stone's Throw. Hours, at least initially, are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday with plans, once the bar is fully up and running, for 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. The phone number is (501) 907-5244.

The burgeoning Conway-based Tacos 4 Life chain plans to open a Jackson, Tenn., location in late June. "We are rapidly expanding our brand and have been eager to open in Tennessee for quite some time," says owner Austin Samuelson. "As we enter new states, we look forward to getting to know these communities and sharing our mission and menu with them." Samuelson founded the restaurant with his wife, Ashton Samuelson, in 2014, with a global mission: For every taco, quesadilla, salad, nachos or rice bowl sold, the business donates 22 cents to feed children in need. The chain has two Conway locations -- 716 W. Oak St. and 2235 Dave Ward Drive -- and one each in Little Rock, Benton, Searcy, Jonesboro, Springdale, Rogers and Fayetteville in Arkansas; and in Frisco, Texas, and Concord, N.C. Also "coming soon": 4211 Warden Road, North Little Rock, and 4501 Phoenix Ave., Fort Smith. Visit tacos4life.com.

And in our mea culpa department, our review last week of Thai Taste at its new location, 1400 John Harden Drive, Jacksonville, incorrectly identified the venerable restaurant that was a previous occupant. It was, in fact, AP's Seafood Cove.

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 05/31/2018

Print Headline: TAE eatery is closer to LR opening

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