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story.lead_photo.caption Cotham’s Mercantile in Scott burned down early Tuesday, leaving only a few brick pillars standing. The building opened as a general store in 1917. Its trademark hubcap burger will still be available at Cotham’s in the City on West Third Street near the state Capitol.

In case you missed it earlier this week, the legendary Cotham's Mercantile, 5301 Arkansas 161 S., Scott, burned down early Tuesday and the building with its contents -- a decades-old collection of antiques and memorabilia -- is apparently a total loss, Arkansas Online reports. The structure caved in and only charred brick pillars remained along the perimeter by 7 a.m. As of our Tuesday morning deadline, the cause of the fire was still unknown. Built in 1917 as a general store for area farmers, Cotham's opened a small eating area inside the store in 1984 and it blossomed into a regional restaurant powerhouse centered on a hubcap-size burger, becoming a regular haunt for the regular folks and the famous. You can still chow down on hubcap burgers and the rest of the menu at Cotham's in the City, West Third and Victory streets, Little Rock, in the shadow of the state Capitol.

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Photos by Emma Pettit

Captain Hook's Fish & Chicken (or possibly Captain Hooks Fish & Chicken) is going into the former Dunkin Donuts-Baskin Robbins hybrid, 6725 John F. Kennedy Blvd., North Little Rock, next to Indian Hills Shopping Center. One Mohammed Yafai of North Little Rock filed incorporation papers last year with the state Secretary of State's office and has taken out a trademark with the federal government. And a call to a Stuttgart restaurant of pretty much the same name, 107 E. 22nd St., reveals that Yafai is a business partner of that restaurant's owner-manager. Yafai did not return a message left for him by our deadline, so we don't have any additional details, but a check of the Stuttgart restaurant's Facebook page, facebook.com/CaptainHooksStuttgart, could give you an idea of what the menu will look like.

Hawgz Blues Cafe, in the former Aydelotte's/U.S. Pizza mansion, 5524 John F. Kennedy Blvd., North Little Rock, has its liquor license and is now serving alcohol and its full menu slightly ahead of schedule (they were previously saying it would be in place June 17). Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday (with a Gospel Brunch and Soul Food Buffet until 3 p.m.), 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday. The phone number is (501) 478-6300.

Banana Leaf Indian Cuisine in the Simmons Bank Building, 425 W. Capitol Ave. at Broadway, Little Rock, is closed for vacation and will reopen July 10. The phone number: (501) 227-0860.

Meanwhile, Bruno's Little Italy, 310 Main St., will close for dinner Saturday because ... Riverfest.

The West Chase Plaza shopping center, 301 N. Shackleford Road, Little Rock, has changed hands, sold by Westchase Investors LLC, for $4.5 million to Markham and Shackleford LLC. John Flake, agent for the sellers, and Hank Kelley, agent for the buyers, are partners in Flake & Kelley Commercial Real Estate in Little Rock and, Flake explains, it's essentially a remake of the original partnership that started the center with different investors. Why do we mention it in this column? Because the center houses several restaurants, including Star of India, Bobby's Country Cookin' and west Little Rock outlets of Jason's Deli and Slim Chickens.

And Talk Business & Politics reports that Little Rock food delivery service Chef Shuttle has been acquired by Minneapolis-based Bite Squad for an undisclosed amount of money. Since its start in February 2014, Chef Shuttle has blossomed and now has a staff and driver pool of 250 and delivers dishes from 450 restaurants in the central Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas and Memphis areas. The closest market Bite Squad served heretofore has been Nashville, Tenn. A spokesman says you'll soon start seeing its green and white cars "rolling around town" and its drivers wearing Bite Squad uniforms. The $2.99 delivery fee at least initially will be lower than Chef Shuttle's, the TB&P website notes. You'll be able to place orders via Android and iOS apps; Bite Squad sends orders directly to each restaurant's kitchen through tablets. A Chef Shuttle spokesman did not return our request for comment by deadline.

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 06/01/2017

Print Headline: Restaurant Transitions

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