Business section reporter David Smith's Sunday "Real Estate Transactions" column detailing an ownership shift at the Village at Pleasant Valley shopping center, North Rodney Parham Road at Interstate 430 in west Little Rock, noted that the center has two major spaces vacant and another opening up this fall. One used to be a grocery store -- the former location of Whole Foods (24,000 square feet, originally the second site of Beans, Grains & Things) and the ex-Dixie Cafe (7,500 square feet). Hank Kelley, chief executive officer of Flake & Kelley Commercial Real Estate, which now holds a bigger majority of the center's ownership pie, is looking toward a greater emphasis on food and entertainment, mixed with retail. So, he says, he's knocking on doors "seeking a restaurant for the Dixie space," he said, and, "I've also had some discussions with some people in the brewery business, as well." Meanwhile, he's also in "active negotiations with a replacement tenant" for Chili's Grill & Bar, which is set to move in October to a spot on which formerly sat a Luby's Cafeteria, in strip center near the confluence of West Markham Street and Chenal Parkway, the razing of which was completed last week. And Venture Construction Co. has filed for a $1 million building permit for a "ground up restaurant" at that address, 12505 W. Markham. Kelley declined to identify the potential replacement, which he described as "a similar venue to what Chili's does."
Roxane Tackett, co-owner of the now-defunct Morningside Bagels, 10848 Maumelle Blvd., North Little Rock, over the weekend on Facebook posted thanks to friends and customers for "the lovely words of support and encouragement," that "our family is moving forward and healing" and that "thankfully, many parties interested in purchasing the shop have contacted me. It is our goal to sell it as a bagel bakery so that we too can stop in and enjoy a good bagel and visit with friends." You'll recall the shop closed for Easter weekend but failed to reopen after police said Tackett's husband, David, allegedly vandalized it and was subsequently arrested for the alleged attempted arson of a Maumelle residence. Roxane Tackett's email, if you're interested in putting in a bid on the store or expressing support, is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Casey's Bar-B-Q, on the cusp at 7410 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, is awaiting a Health Department inspection on Friday, says managing member David Henry, after which they are considering a couple of soft openings "before next Thursday, but that is when we will be ready." So stand by. Casey's operated for a couple of decades on Reservoir Road but closed more than a dozen years ago; the original family is resurrecting it in the former Arkansas Burger Company building. Hours are still expected to be 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. We continually get only the voicemail at the listed phone number -- (501) 615-8522.
Wayback Burgers owner/franchisee Chris Hunter says he's planning to start training his employees Monday and expecting now to open the chain/franchise operation's first Little Rock outlet April 27 in the Chenal Curve Shopping Center, 16900 Chenal Parkway. Hours will be 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Hunter says it won't serve alcohol at this point, but it's an option he might do later on. The phone number is (501) 404-5858; the Facebook page: facebook.com/WaybackLittleRock.
New China Restaurant, in the North Park Mall, 4617 John F. Kennedy Blvd, North Little Rock, has closed and a call to the phone number, (501) 753-8988, returned a recording that the number has changed, and the new number is unknown.
Operating Manager Leslie Case now says to look for the opening "maybe the second week of May" of Sauce(d) Bar and Oven, a bar and upscale pizzeria that will serve wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas plus gourmet burgers, sandwiches, a few entrees, soups, salads and charcuterie in the former Casa Real/Cici's Pizza space in the Market Place Shopping Center, 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock. Initially, Chase says, they'll open just for dinner, with plans for subsequent lunch and weekend brunch hours. Follow their progress at the Facebook page, facebook.com/saucedlr.
The fifth annual Bernice Garden Farmers Market opens 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday in and around the garden, 1401 Main St., Little Rock, in the midst of the South Main community's celebration of Earth Day and the ringing in of spring. All the vendors are Arkansas growers selling "fresh, local produce," according to a news release; marketgoers will also encounter fresh flowers, music and food trucks. "Special visitors" will include LRecycles, Urban Food Loop and "others that lend their services to healthy body, mind and environment," according to a news release. Co-host for the season opener is SparkFit, a gym and movement studio across the street from the garden. The market will open Sundays until October. Visit the Facebook page, tinyurl.com/ybgubz3a.
Peppermill Cafe and Grill, now open at 2798 S. Second St., Cabot, is, according to the Facebook page (tinyurl.com/papermillcafe) and menu, "the inspiration and masterpiece of business partners Tim Smith and Bryan Williamson [who] bring years of restaurant expertise to serve the greater Cabot area. The breakfast menu includes standards (eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, omelets and French toast) and deluxe items (grilled pork chop, grilled chicken, steak and eggs). Lunch options include burgers, sandwiches (including paninis), steaks, salmon and salads. Hours are 7 a.m.-2 p.m. daily. The phone number is (501) 286-6129.
Spa City-based Stubby's BBQ is opening a location April 28 at Magic Springs Theme and Water Park, East Grand Avenue (U.S. 70 East) Hot Springs, on Saturday. It joins Trejo's Mexican Restaurant in offering food to parkgoers. The restaurant hours are still uncertain but should mirror normal park hours, which through May 25 are weekends only, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; after that, hours will extend to weekdays and vary from week to week. The park phone number is (501) 624-0100; visit MagicSprings.com.
Also in Hot Springs, a Schlotzsky's outlet is under construction in the 4100 block of Central Avenue, where its neighbors include a Mapco gas station/convenience store, a branch of First Security Bank and a Car Wash USA Express.
Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe outlets in Little Rock and Conway, which have established a "Year of Giving" campaign to donate to area nonprofits, will give a portion of the proceeds, 5-9 p.m. Tuesday at the location at 12800 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, to The Call, which links local churches to active involvement in Arkansas foster care. Visit facebook.com/events/1975845522733153. And Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, 5-9 p.m. April 30, at the Conway location, 724 W. Oak St., benefits the Humane Society of Faulkner County. Visit facebook.com/events/180075605964805.
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: