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story.lead_photo.caption BASH Burger Co. is in a parking lot located at Benton’s Congo Road exit behind Kum & Go. - Photo by Gareth Patterson

BASH BURGER’S BENTON LOCATION IN FLUX

Just as soon as it became an immensely popular Saline County location, BASH Burger Co. has announced it is temporarily suspending its business on Military Road in Benton. BASH hasn’t given specific reasons for this move but says it was an issue that didn’t relate to any health department activity or state regulation. It appears to be a simple business move.

As previously reported here, BASH purchased a second mobile unit, which it will continue to operate. BASH says that truck is booked through the middle of November, mostly at events in the Little Rock area, so keep an eye out for it around town. Owners Chase Turner and Ryan Ashcraft say that once their Little Rock bookings are over, they will continue pursuing a permanent Saline County location.

In my earlier review of BASH, I noted the truck had seasoning issues but showed promise. On every visit since then, the food has been better and better, to the point where I consider BASH one of the best food truck options around. Find out where the guys at BASH will be next by visiting facebook.com/experiencebash.

ZAZA KICKS OFF ‘BLACK TRUFFLE WEEK’

My heart almost stopped last week when I saw that Yellow Rocket Concepts head chef Scott McGehee posted pictures of some black truffles his uncle sent him from Italy. It turns out, those incredible nuggets are now being used at ZaZa Fine Salad & Wood Oven Pizza Co. ZaZa is calling this “black truffle week,” and it ends Friday. This is a friendly bit of advice from a food lover: Don’t miss this. I’ve had real black truffles once, and it is still one of the most memorable food experiences of my life. You can get a preview of the dishes ZaZa is creating with these black truffles at facebook.com/zazapizzaandsalad.

LOCAL CANDY STORE OPENS AT OUTLET MALL

Most outlet malls are just different versions of national storefronts, and Outlets of Little Rock fits that description well. But it turns out there’s at least one local food business there. Stephanie Harris has opened Sweet Candy + Gifts across from Rack Room Shoes, and her storefront has proven to be popular. Harris says people are finding candy at her shop that they haven’t tasted in years.

“People have traveled or seen things they liked as kids, and they want to have them again,” Harris says. “So I really want it to be an experience, and not just a place to get jelly beans and candy.”

However, you certainly can get jelly beans and candy there, including 32 different flavors of Jelly Belly-brand jelly beans and the throwback candy cigarettes, which Harris was surprised to see fly off the shelves faster than she could stock them.

But it’s not all nostalgia. Harris says a big part of her goal is promoting local products.

“It’s a sad fact that many customers at an outlet mall aren’t always going to shop at local businesses,” Harris says. “What I want to do is introduce my customers to what excellent local businesses are making. Cocoa Rouge, Izard Chocolate and the like.”

Sweet Candy + Gifts also has a higher calling in mind. The store donates 5 percent of sales and 100 percent of sales from select items to Women Lead Arkansas, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering women in politics, policy and leadership.

Find the business on Facebook by searching “Sweet Candy + Gifts.”

SHOE CARNIVAL OPENS NEW SALINE COUNTY STORE

It’s been less than three months since a fire destroyed Shoe Carnival at Alcoa Exchange in Bryant, closing that business, as well as the neighboring Old Navy and Rue 21. Last week, Shoe Carnival got its Saline County business up and running again, this time a couple of miles up the interstate next to Ashley Furniture. Shoe Carnival hasn’t yet commented on whether it will reopen the location at Alcoa Exchange.

RADUNO THE LASTEST TO ADD ABBASI’S DESSERTS

Pastry chef Zara Abbasi Wilkerson has begun making quite a name for herself after the closing of Natchez Restaurant. Abbasi had already been making desserts for Heights Taco & Tamale Co., 109 & Co. and Afterthought Bistro and Bar. Now, you can find more of her sweet delights at Raduno Brick Oven & Barroom on South Main Street. Abbasi is making a chocolate Italian cream cake, a cannoli cake and, the one that will probably be the biggest hit, a Nutella pie. You can see pictures of the desserts at Raduno’s Facebook page, facebook.com/piropizzalr.

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