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story.lead_photo.caption The vast rebuilding of the Root Cafe, 1500 Main St., Little Rock — shown here, pre-expansion in January 2015, is wrapping up. The new dining room and second bathroom are complete; owners Jack Sundell and his wife, Corri Bristow Sundell, expect to be able to start serving dinner Wednesday-Saturday once the new kitchen is finished.

The Root Cafe, 1500 Main St., Little Rock, is nearing the completion of its multimonth expansion, says co-owner Jack Sundell. The new dining room has opened -- "It looks great and feels great," Sundell says -- expanding by 40 seats the indoor seating to 50. "There's lots of space, and it's nice and cozy and toasty, just in time for winter," he adds. The second bathroom is also open. "And we're plugging away at the kitchen, which we hope to have completed by end of the calendar year" -- sometime in January by the absolute latest, he says. That's the last step before the restaurant starts serving Wednesday-Saturday dinner. In the meanwhile, the once-a-month Friday dinner has expanded to weekly, ticketed, five-course meals through Dec. 23 (seating for 30, $40 with beer and wine additional; visit centralarkansastickets.com), with what Sundell says will probably be an open, table-service dinner on "New Year's Eve eve," Dec. 30. The restaurant's current hours are 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday; it'll be closed Christmas and New Year's Day. The phone number is (501) 414-0423; email theroot@therootcafe.com.

Photo by Democrat-Gazette file photo
Loblolly Creamery co-owner Sally Mengel dishes up a sundae in 2012. The ice cream operation is set to move from the Green Corner Store into the next-door Main Street storefront early in 2017.

Various sources are reporting that Hillcrest Artisan Meats, 2807 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, will close at the end of the year after five years of vending quality domestic and imported deli items and highend soups and sandwiches. Owners Brandon Brown and Tara Portiva-Brown have reportedly sold the space to Tomas Bohm of The Pantry and the neighboring Pantry Crest. We’ll follow up on this and keep you posted.

Meanwhile, Loblolly Creamery is moving out of the Green Corner Store, 1423 Main St., Little Rock, and early in the coming year will move into the storefront next door, previously occupied by studioMAIN, a collective of design professionals. (StudioMAIN will still be on a Main Street -- 413 Main St. in North Little Rock, where it's sharing space with Argenta Gallery.) Loblolly co-owner Sally Mengel explains that the move means "the Green Corner Store can expand their offerings and we can expand ours," including more ice cream flavors, later hours, more seating and possibly a liquor license so they can make boozy floats; her wish list also includes a private party area and an espresso machine. The phone number will not change: (501) 396-9609.

Workmen Tuesday were putting finishing touches on the still-not-open David's Burgers outlet in the River Market's Ottenheimer Market Hall, 400 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock. With at least one more inspection pending, they're now anticipating a Monday opening, with indoor seating of 80 in the original space and a new addition built over what had been a patio. Still no listed telephone number.

And while we were at the River Market, we discovered that Sweet Soul, which had been expected to shut down Monday, extended its stay a week. Saturday will now be the last day it does business in the market hall before moving to 501 Woodlane, right across from the state Capitol. Hours there will be 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday. The phone number will remain (501) 374-7685.

The Applebee's at 6 Mabelvale Plaza Drive, Little Rock, was closed as of Monday. Google lists the location as "permanently closed," which we confirmed via a voicemail message at the listed phone number, (501) 565-3004.

The Capital Hotel, 111 W. Markham St., Little Rock, is once again serving "Holiday Afternoon Tea," 2-3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday throughout December. Cost is $38 ($48 with champagne), plus tax and gratuity. Call (501) 370-7068 for reservations. And through Dec. 18, the hotel is offering "Sundays with Santa," 2-4 p.m., wherein children and adults can visit with Santa and take pictures. For free.

The Church's Chicken outlet at 1401 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Little Rock, reopened last week following an extensive renovation. Hours are 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. The phone number is (501) 375-4107.

Luigi's Pizza & Pasta, 22000 Interstate 30, Bryant, this week has begun delivering to Bryant, Benton, Bauxite, Salem and Alexander, 4-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday. There's a $3 delivery charge which "will go directly to the delivery driver," according to Luigi's Facebook page, where the restaurant also posts its weekly specials. (But not its entire menu -- that you can find at Foursquare: tinyurl.com/hefjaaz). The phone number is (501) 847-1110.

We've talked about the arfoodjobs.com website before as a place where restaurant workers can connect with area restaurants seeking to hire. We also recently spotted a similar site, onlyrestaurantjobs.com, with more of a national slant. (And a head's up: Most of the available jobs posted for this region appear to be at chain or corporate-owned restaurants.)

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 12/08/2016

Print Headline: Restaurant Transitions

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  • NoCrossNoCrown
    December 8, 2016 at 12:46 p.m.

    Wheeew...Thought Loblolly was really moving. Glad it know it's only around the corner.
    The extra steps will do a body good....lol
    Any news on when the Afterthought might reopen??

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