Justin Patterson and CC Key, owner and manager, respectively, of the late Southern Gourmasian, which closed earlier this year on West Capitol Avenue, are moving farther west on Capitol Avenue, having signed a lease on the restaurant space in the Hotel Frederica (formerly the Legacy. And, of course, the Hotel Sam Peck), 625 W. Capitol, where they plan to open a Southern-theme restaurant and lounge they're calling TAE. That stands for "True Arkansas Eatery," and, perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, "eat" spelled backward. Patterson says the menu is still a work in progress -- he hopes to have it in place by the end of this week or possibly next -- but it will focus on Southern food with "a few dishes that really represent historical Arkansas food" (and yes, that includes some kind of cheese dip). The full-service restaurant will seat 50-60 for lunch and dinner with a full bar and a small framed outdoor seating area that Patterson says will probably be used for special events. He says a timeline to open also will take a week or two to firm up.
After a successful soft opening, Eat My Catfish opened last weekend in the McCain Plaza Shopping Center, 4216 E. McCain Blvd., North Little Rock, next to the pending Dick's Sporting Goods (the now-demolished dollar movie theater). It will have the same menu -- farm-raised catfish, crab legs, shrimp and, in season (which usually is mid-February to early summer) crawfish -- as the existing locations in west Little Rock, Conway and Benton. Hours will be 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 235-8667. The website is EatMyCatfish.com.
Thai Taste is up and running in its new location, 1400 John Harden Drive, Jacksonville, after closing down its original space, 1516 W. Main St. North, on March 3. Hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 4-9 p.m. Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 985-1854.
Look for Wayback Burgers to open its first Little Rock outlet sometime the week of April 16 in the Chenal Curve Shopping Center, 16900 Chenal Parkway. We still have no details yet on hours or a phone number, but we did find a Facebook page: facebook.com/WaybackLittleRock.
When it reopens later this spring as the AMC Theatres Chenal 9, the nine-screen cineplex in the Promenade on Chenal at 17835 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, will be a dine-in theater in which patrons can to eat a meal and consume wine, beer or mixed drinks, in much the same way as the Movie Tavern at the Gateway Town Center near the Bass Pro Shops in southwest Little Rock. An application to serve alcoholic beverages is pending before the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration Division. Submitting the application on behalf of AMC Theatres: Angela D. Steed, who identifies herself in the application as general manager of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews in Conway, and general manager of YaYa's Euro Bistro, in the same center. She previously has run Twin Peaks on Shackleford Road and the Copeland's of New Orleans at Shackleford Crossings.
A U.S. Pizza has opened at 4206 Gibson Lane, Texarkana, Texas, under a franchise agreement with the Little Rock-based mini-chain. Hours are 10:30-10 p.m. daily. The phone number is (903) 255-7723. U.S. Pizza has 10 corporate-owned restaurants, four in Little Rock (Heights, Hillcrest, Rodney Parham, Fair Park near the University of Arkansas at Little Rock), two in North Little Rock (McCain and Levy) and in Maumelle, Sherwood, Bryant and Fayetteville. Restaurants operate under license in Conway, Cabot and Newport and two more under franchise, in Batesville and Jonesboro. Visit uspizzaco.net.
Food-centered benefits coming up the weekend of April 20-21:
• We've gotten a look at the menus Chef Eric Isaac of Ristorante Capeo will prepare for the VIP food tents for the Arkansas Italian Food and Culture Festival, 4-9 p.m. April 20 and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. April 21 at North Little Rock's North Shore Riverfront Park. Friday night -- cocktails at 5:30, dinner at 6 -- will focus on Northern Italian specialties and wine pairings: family-style antipasti (meats, cheeses, assorted peppers and condiments), wild mushroom soup, pork shoulder braised in fennel and wine and panna cotta. Saturday's Southern Italian dinner (same times) starts with a mozzarella caprese, bruschetta and truffled eggs, followed by a pasta course (penne all'arrabiata) and chicken cacciatore entree and almond torte for dessert, all paired with Southern Italian wines. Cost per meal: $100, including drinks. All proceeds, as for the entire festival, go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Arkansas. The festival will also feature Italian cooking competitions, wine tastings and music; a soccer tournament, hosted by Club United of Arkansas; sporting competitions -- a cycling race and Bocce Baggo tournaments -- and an Italian car show. Sponsor is Relyance Bank. Visit aritalianfestival.com.
• Amateur cooking teams from across the mid-South will gather for the 10th annual B Street Rib Off barbecue cooking competition, which kicks off at 8 a.m. April 21, also in North Little Rock's Riverfront Park. The event also features music, food trucks, beverages from local breweries and a raffle that includes merchandise from several Arkansas retailers. Teams interested in cooking for the competition can register at BStreetRibOff.org, where you'll find a list of rules and more information about participation. Anyone can judge the People's Choice category for a small donation. All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society of Central Arkansas.
• Brews and Bites, featuring food trucks, craft beer and entertainment, goes on, noon-5 p.m. April 21 at Outlets of Little Rock, 11201 Bass Pro Parkway Little Rock. It's a benefit for the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance and the Arkansas Food Bank. Participating breweries: Apple Blossom, Bell's, Dogfish Head, Lagunitas, Mother's, North American Brewery, Rebel Kettle, Sweetwater and Wiseacre. Expect to find these food trucks: Haygood BBQ, Crispy Chicken, Adobo To-Go, Loblolly Creamery, Little Penguin Tacos, Whole Hog BBQ, Wells Concession, BeaverTails Pastry, El Buen Gusto, Pat's Kitchen, Jude's Delight and Fire Dancer BBQ. Donnie Lee Strickland, Cassidy Hopper and Fire & Brimstone Duo will provide the entertainment. Sponsor is Rock City Harley-Davidson. Tickets are $5 in advance, $10 day-of, free for children under 12, plus the cost of food and drink. Call (501) 455-9100 or visit OutletsofLittleRock.com.
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 04/05/2018