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story.lead_photo.caption El Pollo Rico has replaced Dave and Ray’s Downtown Diner at Little Rock’s 824 W. Capitol Ave. - Photo by Eric E. Harrison

We've confirmed that Donnie Ferneau Jr.'s latest project, partnering with dessert mogul Kelli Marks of Sweet Love, is Cathead's, going in at 515 Shall Ave., Little Rock. We're still awaiting the details, but we're told it will have a breakfast component, including, consistent with the name, cat-head biscuits. We also know that Ferneau and Marks have filed an on-premises restaurant beer and wine permit application with Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control.

And while rooting through the most recent list of ABC permit applications, we ran across one to serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption at the pending Saltgrass Steak House, 10 Anglers Way, Little Rock, near the Bass Pro Shop. (A second Saltgrass Steak House is in the works for 6040 Warden Road, where its neighbor will be the north-of-the-river On the Border, but we haven't yet seen an ABC permit filing for that.) A Saltgrass spokesman says the Little Rock location is on target "to open this winter, with the Sherwood location following in early 2018."

The words "Country Buffet" are still on the building front, but the country has changed. Mexican -- or, gauging by the menu, which includes papusas, fried plantains and Latin rotisserie chicken, perhaps more Central American -- restaurant El Pollo Rico has replaced Dave and Ray's Downtown Diner at 824 W. Capitol Ave, Little Rock. The sit-down/take-out menu goes into effect Monday; meanwhile, they have a lunch buffet with build-your-own beef or pork tacos, enchiladas and, yes, chicken. Hours, for the moment, are 7 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays; plans are to eventually serve dinner and possibly to open on Saturdays. The phone number is (501) 353-1255.

And speaking of Mexican restaurants, La Poblanita has opened at 3400 E. Broadway, North Little Rock, in what had most recently been a catfish restaurant (originally Young's Catfish, briefly Fishermen Fish & Chicken, and even more briefly Young's Catfish again, which closed early in 2013). There's a limited menu of authentic Mexican dishes and a daily $9.99 Mexican buffet. Hours are 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. The phone number is (501) 313-4546. Apparently the same family operates what was the Taqueria Super 7 at 1415 John Barrow Road, Little Rock -- the person who answered the phone at (501) 716-9293 called it "La Poblanita."

Management of the Hilton Garden Inn Little Rock Downtown, 322 Rock St., reports now a mid-November target to open its rooftop, open-air restaurant and bar, Agasi 7, the area's first. The menu is still a work in progress but expect something closer to bar food than haute cuisine. Meanwhile, the hotel's other second restaurant, the Garden Grill, in the lobby area, is serving dinner -- burgers, sandwiches, ribs and steaks -- 5-10 p.m. daily. A hot breakfast, to-order or buffet, is available in the lobby, 6-10 a.m. Monday-Friday, 7-11 a.m. Saturday-Sunday. The hotel phone number is (501) 244-0044.

Target for the reopening of the rebuilt-from-the-ground-up Burger King, 403 E. Broadway, North Little Rock, will be the week of Nov. 13, says franchisee Dominic Flis. Hours will be 6 a.m.-11 p.m., with the drive-through open until midnight.

Franchisee Danny Gililland of Sweet "P" Enterprises says to expect the Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen pending at 12201 Maumelle Blvd., North Little Rock, just south of the Maumelle city limits, to open sometime in the second or third week of December. However, Gililland says, he's not the franchisee for the Popeye's soon to open at 824 Broadway, Little Rock, on the site of a former Back Yard Burgers kiosk. We're still trying to track down that opening date.

Following up on last week's report of several restaurants slated for the U.S. 65 corridor in Greenbrier -- including a Burger King, a Western Sizzlin Express and a Steak 'n Shake, Arkansas Online reports that developer Colt Harmon listed a site plan for what for the moment would be Steak 'n Shake's only central Arkansas location, at U.S. 65 and Ivy Street in Greenbrier during an Oct. 16 meeting of the city's planning commission. The commission's minutes show it addressed parking, signs and street right of way and will revisit and consider the plans for final approval. Harmon has also posted on Facebook that another Steak 'n Shake location is in the works for Conway. The company's franchise website lists Arkansas as being "mostly available for development"; it has outlets in Russellville, Fayetteville and Rogers, according to its website, with another planned for Clarksville; there also once were outlets in North Little Rock and Hot Springs. A food truck with a limited menu opened last month at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

And last week, while we were tracking down the opening of The Maumelle Hub at 13300 Crystal Hill Road, North Little Rock, which isn't, we're told, affiliated with The Nutrition Hub on Cantrell Road in Little Rock, we sideswiped Nutrition Hub North, 5907 John F. Kennedy Blvd, North Little Rock, which is so affiliated: Both outlets share a website,, and, apparently, a phone number: (817) 458-6855.

Carelink, a nonprofit that provides resources for older people and their families in central Arkansas, is taking orders for pies "straight from our own Meals on Wheels kitchen" for its "Pie It Forward" fundraiser. The 10-inch pies -- in two flavors, creamy sweet potato and traditional apple -- are $13 apiece; if you buy five or more, they'll deliver them for free. Place an order, by Wednesday, via the CareLink Development Department at (501) 688-7469 or (501) 688-7470, or email Pick up your order at the Meals on Wheels kitchen, 2100 Pike Ave., North Little Rock, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 17 and 22, 10-10:30 a.m. Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 23). Proceeds benefit Meals on Wheels.

And a reminder to restaurateurs who plan to open on Thanksgiving: Please let us know, for the benefit of our readers, of course. Make sure we have your street address, hours of service, any specials or menu details and the phone number the public can contact for information or reservations. Email

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 11/02/2017

Print Headline: Ferneau's cooking up Cathead's

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  • Razrbak
    November 2, 2017 at 8:44 a.m.

    Six months from now Ferneau's latest venture will shutter and a month or so later he will roll out a food truck or open a hamburger stand in the Rivermarket.

  • NoUserName
    November 2, 2017 at 9:48 a.m.

    Wish him well, but his career does seem to have followed an interesting path.