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story.lead_photo.caption Pizza D'Action is shown in this file photo.

Dec. 30 will be the last day of operation -- and the end of an era -- for venerable Stifft Station pizza joint and hangout Pizza D'Action, 2915 W. Markham St., Little Rock, general manager Vince Zakrzewski confirmed last week. Known to almost all as Pizza D' and famous for its "Pizza d'Resistance" deluxe pie, it had been a hot spot since the mid-1970s; the jukebox cost a dime per song, even after most others had gone up in price to a quarter, and contained not only the entire Beatles' oeuvre on 45 rpm but several classical selections.

Business had apparently been declining due to the increase over the years of area pizzerias and that it was one of the few remaining businesses to continue to allow smoking; a recent decision to convert the place to burgers over pizza was quickly reversed. Zakrzewski says he does not think owner Orville "Davey" Davis had sold the business, nor does he expect another tenant to move in; he noted to our reporter, Kat Stromquist, that the space would need work to bring it in compliance with the building code. Approximately 20 people will lose their jobs. The establishment was also known for other things, including the occasional car coming too fast down Kavanaugh Boulevard or skidding in the icy intersection and crashing into its front doors and windows.

Meanwhile, we're hearing that Live Life Chill, which had its grand opening Sept. 27 in the former Rumba space, 300 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, is apparently now dead and frozen -- yes, we're told, it has already closed, and employees had been seen removing equipment and other effects from the premises last week. As of deadline, the phone number, (501) 615-8399, still returned a voicemail message listing the hours.

An eagle-eyed colleague says the for-lease signs have come down from the windows of the vacant Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, and the covering on those windows has also come off: "That window has been cleaned so you can see inside the bar and another window [cleaned] the same [way] in the restaurant space," colleague reports. However, "No work visible." The Mylo Coffee folks next door could not provide any additional details as of our deadline. And, "We have nothing to announce at this time," says Wally Gieringer, representing the building's ownership.

You will recall that Stephanos Mylonas of Mylo Coffee Co., 2715 Kavanaugh, had taken over the space after the Afterthought bit the dust in May 2016, with plans to renovate and reopen it as a restaurant-entertainment venue. That eventually fell through, although Mylonas did extend the coffee shop a few feet westward into what had been the party room, providing some extra seating and kitchen space. It has been available for lease since April. "We have given all we have to try to make this work," the business said in an April news release. "Unfortunately, sometimes life hands us unexpected challenges that derail our plans. ... [W]e recognize that we will not be able to restore The Afterthought to what it once was."

The Afterthought was originally just the bar that was added to the fine-dining establishment that started out life in the early '80s as That Little Restaurant. It was Gieringer's La Scala for two decades and subsequently went through several changes of ownership and name in more recent years.

...

Milano's Italian Grill, in the former Sawbucks, 1800 Club Manor Drive, Maumelle, is close to opening -- co-owner Tony Demaj said last week it may come as early as this weekend. The same people operate Verona Italian Restaurant, 190 Skyline Drive, Conway, although Milano's will have a slightly different menu -- check it out at the Facebook page, tinyurl.com/milanositalian. Hours will be 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; the Facebook page lists the phone number as (501) 734-8559.

A $1.5 million building permit request has been filed with the Little Rock Department of Planning and Development for the planned relocation of the downtown Little Rock McDonald's restaurant from its current location, 701 Broadway, a block north and on the opposite side of Broadway, a 5,100-square-foot building on what is now the parking lot at 515 W. Sixth St., next-door to the Goodyear Auto Service Center. A spokesman for the franchisee said earlier this year that the new place "will have a double-lane drive thru and in-store ordering kiosks." The current Broadway location opened in December 1986. Building permit requests have also been filed for renovations to Little Rock McDonald's outlets at 104 S. University Ave. and 17601 Chenal Parkway, presumably in conjunction with a planned $69 million makeover for about 100 Arkansas McDonald's restaurants that was announced in August.

The University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College Foundation has announced the six chefs who will compete April 11 for the 12th annual Diamond Chef Arkansas title: Amanda Ivy, Sauce(d); Jordan Davis, Chenal Country Club; Joe Coleman, Little Rock Marriott; Isaac Winter, Yaya's Euro Bistro; Jamie McAfee, Pine Bluff Country Club; and Brandon Douglas, Green Leaf Grill. Judges Todd Gold, Jay McAfee and Donnie Ferneau and attendees of a Nov. 12 "Makin' the Cut" cocktail party and cooking challenge made the selections after each chef prepared 200 small bites of a signature dish. To enter, contestants must be certified or certifiable as sous chef or higher with at least three years of practical experience. Visit uaptc.edu/diamondchef for more details.

The Department of Arkansas Heritage reports as of the Oct. 31 deadline, it received just shy of 630 nominations for the five categories (Food Hall of Fame, Proprietor of the Year, Food-Themed Event, Gone But Not Forgotten and People's Choice) of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, up from 450 last year, and there was at least one nomination from every county in the state (that's 75 at last count). A committee of historians, chefs, foodies and food writers picks the honorees and finalists and will announce the winners Feb. 25 at the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock's River Market. Visit ArkFoodHOF.com.

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Here again is our very limited open-on-Thanksgiving list, most of which information has been submitted by the establishments themselves. If a place you're interested in isn't on this list, call ahead and check; it's a good, but not safe, bet that if it was open last year -- unless it has closed altogether (we miss you, Dixie Cafe!) -- that it will probably be open this year. We've supplied phone numbers to make reservations.

• Arthur's Prime Steakhouse and Oceans at Arthur's will serve up a big buffet across both new "platforms," 16100 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock. Cost is $49.50, $19.50 for children 7-12, $9.50 for children 3-6, free for kids under 3 with a paying adult. Call (501) 821-1838.

• At the Capital Hotel, 111 W. Markham St, Little Rock, One Eleven at the Capital has a Thanksgiving lunch, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; it's $95 ($135 with wine pairing), $35 for children 6-11, free for kids 5 and younger. Also, Thanksgiving brunch, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on the Mezzanine; cost is $58, $25 for children 6-11, free for kids 5 and younger. And the Capital Bar & Grill serves a three-course, prix-fixe dinner, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., for $39; you can also order off a limited menu. Call (501) 374-7474.

• The Wyndham Riverfront, 1 Riverfront Place, North Little Rock, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thanksgiving Feast, with turkey-carving, omelet/waffle and dessert stations and an entree-and-sides buffet. $25.95, $22.95 for senior citizens, $14.95 for children 5-11 and free for kids 5 and younger with a paying adult, plus tax and gratuities. Call (501) 907-4826.

• Cracker Barrel locations at 3101 Springhill Drive, North Little Rock; 2618 S. Shackleford Road, Little Rock; 218 W. Commerce St., Bryant; and 525 Skyline Drive, Conway, will serve turkey and dressing from 11 a.m. until close ($12.99, $7.99 for children) as well as the regular menu.

Franke's Cafeteria in the Market Street Shopping Center, 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The phone number is (501) 225-4487. (Franke's downtown location is closed.)

Pinnacle Valley Receptions, 8501 Pinnacle Valley Road, Little Rock, "traditional turkey day favorites," 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Cost is $15.05 (including tax and drink); reservations only. Call (501) 673-3900.

And Offers.com rounded up this list (offers.com/blog/post/restaurants-open-on-thanksgiving) -- details vary by franchise and location and any individual restaurant may have reduced hours or be closed, so call ahead.

Applebee's: Many locations close early; check the hours in advance.

Denny's: Many locations will be open regular hours (24/7) serving traditional Thanksgiving and fall menu items.

Hooter's: A place to watch Thanksgiving NFL games; call ahead to make sure the location near you is open.

McDonald's: Many McDonald's locations will open -- some are 24/7 -- but double-check the hours.

Starbucks: Many Starbucks locations remain open on Thanksgiving (hours may be different).

TGI Friday's: Many locations will be open and serving Fridays Feast for 2 (starting at $20); hours will vary.

Waffle House: Pretty much stays open 24/7/365.

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:

eharrison@arkansasonline.com

Weekend on 11/22/2018

Print Headline: Restaurant Transitions: Pizza D' to close; list of eateries open on Thanksgiving

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