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Kontiki African Restaurant opened on schedule in the Village Shopping Center, 3901 S. University Ave. (Asher and University avenues), Little Rock, in the former space of former Mexican restaurant Playa Azul 2. The restaurant, which moved from 13420 Arkansas 111, Alexander, serves authentic dishes from Sierra Leone. Approval is still pending from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division on an application owner Christian Domingo filed Aug. 3 for a beer-and-wine permit. Hours are 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 4-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Sunday. The phone number, (501) 615-8504.

Sauce(d) Bar and Oven, 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, starts 10 a.m.-4 p.m. brunch service on Sunday. According to the Facebook post, "Chef Amanda Leigh Ivy has put together a rustic brunch menu, with both breakfast and small bite dishes, with a Southern twist," including "Duck 'n Pancakes, featuring Maple Leaf Farms crispy fried duck wings, creamy breakfast risotto with cremini mushrooms and a crispy fried egg, and a twist on our epic Charcuterie Board, the Brunch Board." The bar will remain open "until the last football game ends." The phone number is (501) 353-1534.

Canvas, the restaurant inside the Arkansas Arts Center, in MacArthur Park, East Ninth and Commerce streets, Little Rock, is temporarily closed -- "not open for walk-in lunch or brunch service," says an Arts Center spokesman, but still accommodating special events and catered meetings in the restaurant space -- while the Arts Center powers that be are "exploring options" in the wake of the departure of owner-chef Brian Kearns. Kearns, you will recall, bought Simply the Best catering and the restaurant operation, then called Best Impressions, in 2016 from retiring caterers Rob and Martha Best. Whatever happens with the restaurant will likely be temporary -- it's expected to close sometime in the next 11 months at the start of a major Arts Center reconstruction project.

When KFC/Long John Silver's at 613 E. Broadway, just off the Broadway exit off Interstate 30, North Little Rock, closed a couple of years ago, there was some speculation that it would become another outlet of the burgeoning Sharks mini-chain. Instead, it became a franchise of Sam's Southern Eatery, and in October it changed its name, but not much else, to Shrimpy. Now, as of about 10 days ago, it has become -- a Sharks. Hours are 10 a.m.-10 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m-9 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is a holdover: (501) 414-0123.

A check over the weekend on the Arby's, 9624 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, shows orange cones and netting still blocking driveway entrances and exits, and apparently there is, or has been, some interior and exterior renovation work. The marquee pole sign says "closed" and we got no answer at the listed phone number, (501) 227-4618.

Chef Andre Poirot, sommelier Jonathan Looney and the Capital Hotel's Chuck Magill, who used to live in New Orleans, are collaborating on the September "Food, Libations & Conversations -- Creole Celebration," 6:30 p.m. today at the hotel, 111 W. Markham St., Little Rock. Cost is $93. Visit tinyurl.com/capitalcreole.

Aug. 27 was its last day of service for Home Plate Diner, 2615 N. Prickett Road, Bryant. A call to the phone number, (501) 847-3331, revealed there is a potential buyer.

And speaking of Bryant, progress appears to be progressing toward the opening of Yum Yum Hibachi Express in the former Paula Lynn's Sandwich and Sweet Shop, 302 S. Reynolds Road, Bryant. A new sign has sprouted on the exterior and there is a Facebook page: tinyurl.com/ydhnqzll. We previously reported that it will serve hibachi-grilled-in-the-kitchen chicken, steak, shrimp and vegetables with fried rice, plus a selection of Japanese appetizers -- fried spring rolls, dumplings, edamame and seaweed salad. Hours are tentatively set for 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

And still speaking of Bryant, groundbreaking took place and construction began Aug. 13 for Don Pepe's Gourmet Burritos & Tacos, somewhere in the 1500 block of North Reynolds Road. (The site plan filed by engineering firm Hope Consulting with the city of Bryant lists it as "south side of Big Red Headquarters" and its Facebook page describes it as "between Big Red and Bryant High School.") It's a second location for a Conway restaurant of the same name at 2225 Prince St. Target opening date is now "early spring 2019," according to the Conway restaurant's Facebook page, facebook.com/donpepes2014. Get a glimpse of the Conway menu at don-pepes.com.

Bonefish Grill outlets, including the one at 11525 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, are serving a four-course, prix fixe dinner for two it's calling the OMG (Ocean Mixed Grill). Through Sept. 30, for $49 you get a shareable appetizer ("world-famous Bang Bang Shrimp"); two salads (house or Caesar); three side dishes (potatoes au gratin, Brussels sprouts and a seasonal vegetable); and a choice of Fresh Wood-Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Caribbean Cobia, Shrimp & Scallop Skewer or the Neighborhood Catch. The phone number is (501) 228-0356.

The Arkansas State Archives' fifth annual Foodways Symposium, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 15 at the University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College's Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute, 13000 Interstate 30, Little Rock, focuses on "From China's Farmlands to Arkansas's Delta: A History of Arkansas's Chinese Immigrants." The symposium will include talks on the past, present and future of Chinese food in Arkansas and a cooking demonstration. Lunch will be provided. Admission is free; register online by Monday at tinyurl.com/foodways915.

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  • TuckerMax
    September 6, 2018 at 9:07 p.m.

    I spent months in Sierra Leone a decade ago and the only local cuisine I remember was goat.

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