Hawgz Blues Cafe, 5524 John F. Kennedy Blvd., North Little Rock, will open a second location, in the rotating restaurant space at 14425 Cantrell Road, also known as Arkansas 10, that most recently and very briefly housed a Whole Hog location. CEO Kristian Nelson says he expects to hold the grand opening Sept. 14. It'll have the same menu as the North Little Rock location, except this one will serve breakfast, 6:30-10 a.m. daily; on Sundays, a "super breakfast buffet" with made-to-order omelets and flapjacks, will precede the Sunday soul food gospel buffet similar to the one he serves on JFK Boulevard. Hours will be 6:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; he'll keep the bar open with a bar menu until 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. They'll also do family karaoke on Friday nights and offer blues bands on Saturdays. The phone number: (501) 673-3940; the website, hawgzbluescafe.com.
Oki Sutanto, who at one time operated a food truck called Two Brothers Hibachi, says he's now expecting to open Aji Ramen Bar, 301 N. Shackleford Road, Little Rock, the second week of September. (Mostly, he explains, he's awaiting an early September delivery date for the furniture.) The menu will focus primarily on the eponymous Japanese noodle-broth dish; he'll also serve up a range of Japanese appetizers. And he has applied for an on-premises beer and wine permit. Hours will be 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. No phone number, website or Facebook page yet.
Jo Jo's Bar-B-Q, 117 Country Club Road, Sherwood, has closed indefinitely after a fire damaged the interior early Aug. 1. In a statement last week, manager Stephen Duch thanked everyone "who has reached out already to offer their help and support. Also, thank you to all of our loyal customers over the years." As of deadline, the phone number, (501) 834-9696, produces a voicemail message that the restaurant has temporarily closed.
Loca Luna, 3519 Old Cantrell Road, introduces a new weekend brunch menu Saturday that includes biscuits and gravy with crumbled sausage, eggs Benedict, huevos rancheros, sirloin steak and eggs, "Serious Chicken and Waffles," grilled salmon and scrambled eggs with pepper-dill sour cream, a "Frickin Chicken biscuit" and lobster-blue crab cakes with spicy chipotle cream sauce. Brunch hours are 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 663-4666.
"2nd Saturday" starts at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Little Rock Farmers Market, in the twin plazas behind the River Market's Ottenheimer Market Hall, 400 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock. Master Gardeners will answer questions about lawns and gardens and will provide select plantings (while supplies last) until 1 p.m. From 9 a.m.-1 p.m., visit the Cockrill's Critters Farm Animal Petting Zoo, including chickens, goats, pigs and a mini cow. Kat Robinson will sign copies of Another Slice of Arkansas Pie, 9-11 a.m. inside the Market Hall. Kids 12 and younger can participate in a variety of activities designed to teach them about food and promote healthy eating habits in the Lil' Farmers kids club, 10-11 a.m. Visit facebook.com/LRFarmersMarket/events.
Cromwell Architects Engineers will host, weather permitting, food trucks on Little Rock's East Sixth Street near their front door (the so-called Paint Factory, 1300 E. Sixth St.), 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays -- as of now, weekly through August, every other week through the end of October. The lineup:
• Aug. 13: Cypress Knee
• Aug. 20: The Clean Eatery
• Aug. 27 and Sept. 24: Native Eats
• Sept. 10, Oct. 8 and 22: Nach'yo Nachos.
Food-truck operators who would like to participate in "Food Truck Mondays in The East Village," email Victoria Gross at email@example.com. Check out the Cromwell and East Village Little Rock Facebook pages.
Central Arkansas' second Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews is set to open Monday in the Shoppes of Benton shopping center, 20220 Interstate 30, Benton. We don't yet have hours or a phone number. Red Robin also has Arkansas locations in Conway, Fayetteville and Rogers; we're still trying to track down a report that a Red Robin is also in the works for the recently closed Applebee's Grill & Bar, 4333 Warden Road, North Little Rock.
Asia Express was set to open Wednesday in Southfork Plaza, at 2790 S. Second St., Cabot. The menu is divided between Chinese and Mediterranean dishes -- the menu posted on the Facebook page (facebook.com/Asia-Express-204518616765134) says the latter items on the latter, including gyros, falafel, upside down carrots, cabbage rolls, grape leaves and Mediterranean pizza, curiously, "[need] to be ordered one day in advance." Hours are 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 286-6135.
Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe, continuing its "Year of Giving," will donate 25 percent of the proceeds from its 5-9 p.m. sales at its Gateway location, 10800 Bass Pro Parkway, Little Rock, on Tuesday to Arkansas Food Bank and on Aug. 21 to Feed AR Kids. The restaurant mini-chain each month is helping nonprofits ensure that underprivileged Arkansans have access to nourishing food options. Visit tinyurl.com/tazikisgateway.
Ten chefs and two mixologists will take part in Thea Foundation's Blue Plate Special, 6-9 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Capital Hotel, 111 W. Markham St., Little Rock. The list: Amanda Ivy, Sauce(d) Bar and Oven; Payne Harding, Cache; Gilbert Alaquinez, Forty-Two; Marc Guizol, Capital Bar & Grill; Matcha Norwood, Cinnalightful; Kim Henderson, Heritage Catering; Capi Peck, Trio's; Greg Wallis, Kemuri; Kelli Marks, Cathead's Diner; and a chef, to be announced, from Petit & Keet. The mixologists: Alex Smith of The Fold and Luiggi Uzcategui of Big Orange Midtown.
Helping them out will be artists who represent the six categories in which Thea Foundation awards scholarships each year -- visual art, performing art, film, creative writing, spoken word and fashion design: fashion designers Bryant Phelan and Linda Rowe Thomas; glass artist James Hayes; filmmaker Gerry Bruno; musicians Genine Latrice Perez, Rodney Block and Amy Garland Angel; author and historian Janis Kearney; artists Matt McLeod, Kevin Kresse and Barry Thomas; and poets Stacey and LeRon McAdoo. Dr. Danny Fletcher and Co. will perform.
Presenter is Malvern National Bank. Tickets are $100; proceeds benefit the North Little Rock-based foundation and the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation has offered a $25,000 matching challenge grant. The event started out as the Governor's Culinary Challenge, to elevate the local culinary arts scene while supporting the arts in Arkansas. Call (501) 379-9512 or visit theafoundation.org/blue-plate-special.