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story.lead_photo.caption Belle Arti Italian Ristorante

We've got many more details on what to expect from the once-and-future Casey's Bar-B-Q, which closed in 2005 on Little Rock's Reservoir Road and is coming back in the former Arkansas Burger Co. building, 7410 Cantrell Road, Little Rock. It's still a family operation -- David Henry, son of Casey's co-founder Dorine Henry, holds the title "managing member"; his two children, Mary, 25, and Johnny Henry, 22, are the owners, and "my sister, Diane Henry Williamson, will be helping out on catering and training," he says. They're looking to open Feb. 14 "with a couple soft openings before then," and you'll find "most everything that was on the menu before" on the menu now, with the addition of smoked baked potatoes. Hours will be 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The phone hasn't been plugged in yet, so we don't yet have a number.

Saltgrass Steak House opens its Little Rock outlet, 10 Anglers Way, Little Rock, near the Bass Pro Shop, on Tuesday. The menu, somewhat smaller than at some of the chain's Texas locations, includes some inventive appetizers, including Range Rattlers (jumbo jalapenos, shrimp, Jack cheese, cilantro, ranch dressing) and Seafood Fondeaux; a half-pound Brisket Burger; and a range of steaks, chicken and seafood dishes. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 Friday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 407-0643. There's a "spring 2018" target date for the opening of the outlet at 6040 Warden Road, where North Little Rock meets Sherwood.

Kontiki African Restaurant, 13420 Arkansas 111, Alexander, held its grand opening Sunday. Owner Christian Domingo is an immigrant from Sierra Leone who has lived in Arkansas for 19 years. His menu includes (appetizers) roasted beef on skewers with peanut butter, African spices; fried plantains/fried bananas and pepper soup. Entrees include Jollof Rice and Stew (rice cooked with tomato paste, beef or chicken, bell peppers, onions and spices); Groundnut Soup and Rice (steamed basmati rice with ground peanut-based, chicken and beef); Cassava Leaves and Rice (smoked fish, palm oil, cassava leaves, chicken, onions and lima beans); fried rice (chicken or shrimp with mixed vegetables); Fufu and Okra (a cassava-based soup with okra, beef, smoked turkey, tripe, smoked fish and spices); and Couscous and Pepper Chicken or Tilapia (in a peanut base with spices, with sides of couscous and vegetables). Right now, the restaurant is only open for lunch -- 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. The phone number is (501) 615-8504.

Belle Arti Italian Ristorante, 719 Central Ave., Hot Springs, closed Jan. 14. On Facebook, owners Joe and Penny Gargano posted, "Belle Arti is where our patrons became our friends and these friends became our family. It is where our children grew up, learned the value of hard work and aspired [to be] fine young men." The Garganos will continue to operate The Porterhouse on the same block, 707 Central, to which they will be transitioning the Belle Arti staff and some of Belle Arti's signature menu items. They're planning to set up a Belle Arti tribute menu by Valentine's Day.

Though most of the coverage of the closure talks about the restaurant as being open 171/2 years, that's actually when the Garganos took it over from founder Rosario Patti, who opened it in the summer of 1995. A Little Rock branch in Pavilion in the Park on Cantrell Road opened in fall of 1997 and closed in the spring of 1999. Patti, who had left Arkansas in the mid-'90s, opening a restaurant in New York near the World Trade Center (losing everything after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001) and subsequently a place in Napa, Calif., returned to Arkansas and opened Vesuvio Bistro in 2008. He died Aug. 3, 2009.

The Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen at 12201 Maumelle Blvd., North Little Rock, just south of the Maumelle city limits, is now open. Lobby hours are 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily; the drive-through will stay open until 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, until midnight Friday-Saturday. (Those hours differ from the ones posted at, but we got them directly from the franchisee, Sweet "P" Enterprises, so we're tempted to trust them.) However, the listed phone number, (501) 851-6771, was still returning a "not in service" recording as of deadline.

The menu at the Movie Tavern, which opened Tuesday in the Gateway Town Center, 11300 Bass Pro Parkway, Little Rock, includes "all of your favorite American classics," including "gourmet burgers hot off the grill"; Shanghai egg rolls and spinach and artichoke dip (appetizers); South of the Border Burger, No. 10 Ranger Steak Sandwich, Creole Chicken and Andouille Sausage Pasta (entrees); and Grown Up Shakes, house-made churros and Brownie Bottom Sundae (desserts). And, of course "traditional movie-going staples like popcorn with real butter, brand-name candy and soft drinks." Plus, from the "full-service bar and lounge," beer (including local craft brews), wine and mixed drinks (including Caribbean Rum Punch and Green Apple Mule). Order via in-theater call buttons and they'll deliver right to your "luxury lounger" seats. We haven't yet been able to get an answer or a message returned from the listed phone number, (501) 319-6798; visit

Look now for a late March or early April opening for the Wayback Burgers in the Chenal Curve Shopping Center, 16900 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock. Check out the website ( to see the menu.


Here's the list of the three dozen participating restaurants, etc., we have so far, and, where we know it as of deadline, what they'll be serving at Soup Sunday, 4-7 p.m. Sunday at the Statehouse Convention Center, Markham and Main streets, Little Rock: 42 bar and table: lobster bisque; A.W. Lin's; Ann Potter Baking: decorated vanilla sugar shortbread cookies; Blue Bell Ice Cream: 3-ounce ice cream cups; Blue Cake Co.; Bonefish Grill: Corn chowder with lump crab; Boulevard Bread; Cafe Bossa Nova: Chicken and hearts of palm soup; Cantina Laredo: Sopa de tortilla and chipotle soup; Capitol Bistro: Baked potato-bacon and cheddar cheese soup; Ciao Baci: Vegetable beef brisket soup; Community Bakery; Dave's Place: Tomato bisque and chocolate chip cookies; Del Frisco's Grille; Dempsey Bakery: Gluten-free cracker bread; Heritage Grille Steak and Fin; Kemuri; Loblolly Creamery; Local Lime: Green chile stew; Oceans at Arthur's; Raduno Brick Oven & Barroom: Minestrone; Ristorante Capeo: Panna cota; Serenity Farm Bread: Assorted desserts and bread; Simply the Best Catering; So Restaurant-Bar; Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe/The Juice Bar; The Faded Rose: smoked chicken and andouille gumbo; The Pantry/Pantry Crest; The Purple Cow: South of the Border soup; Trio's: Thai coconut chicken soup; Two Sisters Catering; Whole Foods; Wicked Mix; Za Za: Lobster bisque; pastry chef Zara Abbasi Wilkerson.


And the Department of Arkansas Heritage has named the finalists for its second class of entrants into the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, recognizing "Arkansas' legendary restaurants, proprietors and food-theme events across the state." A panel of 13 food professionals and writers sifted through 450 submissions in five categories from 40 counties, turned in Sept. 11-Oct.31, and came up with this list:

• Arkansas Food Hall of Fame (places doing business for 25 years or more): Franke's Cafeteria, Little Rock; Feltner's Whatta-Burger, Russellville; Doe's Eat Place, Little Rock; Kream Kastle, Blytheville; McClard's Bar-B-Q Restaurant, Hot Springs; Bruno's Little Italy, Little Rock; White House Cafe, Camden (Ouachita County); Ed Walker's Drive-In, Fort Smith; Neal's Cafe, Springdale; Dixie Pig, Blytheville; Venesian Inn, Tontitown; DeVito's, Eureka Springs.

• Proprietor of the Year: Mary Beth Ringgold (Cajun's Wharf, Capers, Copper Grill); Capi Peck (Trio's); Scott McGehee (Yellow Rocket Concepts); Matt McClure (The Hive, Bentonville)

• Food-Themed Events: Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival, Hope Watermelon Festival, International Greek Food Festival, Gillett Coon Supper, World Championship Duck Gumbo Cook Off

• Gone But Not Forgotten: Jacques and Suzanne, Little Rock; Klappenbach Bakery, Fordyce; Coy's Steak House, Hot Springs; Cotham's Mercantile, Scott

The winner of the People's Choice Award, chosen solely based on the number of nominations for a particular restaurant, will be announced at the reception (5:30 p.m.) and induction ceremony (6:15 p.m.), March 6 at the Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave., Little Rock. Tickets are $20; call (501) 324-9349 or email Reservation deadline is Feb. 26. Visit

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 01/25/2018

Print Headline: Target date approaches for Casey's


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