Ciao Italian Restaurant, 405 W. Seventh St., Little Rock, lost its chef and co-owner last week. William Anthony Mobly, 55, better known to his patrons as "Chef Tony," died May 25 after a four-year struggle with Alzheimer's disease. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. June 26 at Temple B'nai Israel.
Becky and Tony Mobly bought the then-19-year-old restaurant in 2004 from original owner Susanna Boscarolo, who still owns Ciao Baci. Becky Mobly posted on the restaurant's blog that few of their customers knew that he had a master's degree in kinesiology and a black belt in Judo. He had started lifting weights as a teenager and never stopped, and even competed in some body building competitions while in college. He completed the Little Rock Marathon.
She noted that they had not revealed his condition publicly because initially he didn't want anyone to know: "He prided himself on being independent and self-sufficient. He would not abide pity or assistance in any form. We also did not want anyone to be afraid to come to the restaurant or worried about what would happen to the restaurant. And, most importantly, we wanted to protect our children for as long as possible from knowing the inevitable outcome." She praises her staff for taking over her husband's responsibilities as his condition progressed. She and the cooks have managed the kitchen, "and the servers have been picking up my slack when I was trying to help in the kitchen." She doesn't need sympathy, she says, but she will accept hugs.
Diana Long, director of River Market Operations for the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, reports that west Little Rock's Old Mill Bread and Flour Co. will add a satellite operation in the kiosk formerly occupied by Craven's Popcorn in the market's Ottenheimer Market Hall, 400 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock. And David's Burgers' David Alan Bubbus is finally wrapping up a lease on the eastern end-cap with a 90-day estimate toward completion, hopefully by summer's end.
We're looking at a firm 11 a.m. June 13 opening of Arkansas' first Dave & Buster's, 10900 Bass Pro Parkway, Little Rock, east of the Outlets of Little Rock mall and conveniently near the confluence of Interstates 30 and 430. Hours will be 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday. And we now have a working phone number: (501) 777-3800. Visit daveandbusters.com/little-rock or the Facebook page, facebook.com/dnblittlerock.
Target date is now late June for the opening of the Little Rock branch, in the Breckenridge Village Shopping Center, 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road, of Eat My Catfish, according to the website, EatMyCatfish.com. It'll join existing restaurants at 1205 Military Road, Benton, and 2125 Harkrider St., Conway.
MacArthur Park neighborhood nano-brewery Stone's Throw Brewing, 402 E. Ninth St., Little Rock, is releasing three summer brews on Friday in the brewery taproom, available through August:
• A "session" beer (the return of Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse), an unfiltered wheat beer with a characteristic tartness and a lower alcohol content. (In the tradition of Berlin-area biergartens, Stone's Throw will offer flavored syrups -- woodruff, dark cherry grenadine and ginger from Pink House Alchemy in Bentonville -- for patrons who want to counter the tartness.)
• The return of First Two Timin' American IPA, an India Pale Ale introduced during the brewery's first month of business in August 2013.
• A new "high-gravity" beer, Papa Geyer's Imperial Pilsner, a strong lager with 9 percent alcohol by volume, roughly twice as strong as most beers.
Taproom hours are 4-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, with food from different food trucks each day and an all-night happy hour on Wednesday. Call (501) 244-9154 or visit stonesthrowbeer.com.
Circle the date on your calendar: The sixth annual Main Street Food Truck Festival is scheduled for 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 24 on Main Street between Third and Eighth streets in downtown Little Rock. In fact, considering past events, you might even start planning to get in line. Last year's event drew approximately 25,000 people. This year's event will feature, in addition to food trucks, craft vendors and buskers, "the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales!" -- which will be available, we're told, for photo ops. (Hopefully they'll be fully downwind of the food trucks.) Want to be among the 400 volunteers organizers are seeking to assist with the event? Call (501) 375-0121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 06/02/2016
Print Headline: Restaurant Transitions