Owner Mary Beth Ringgold is closing landmark Little Rock restaurant Cajun's Wharf, 2400 Cantrell Road, overlooking the Arkansas River. Saturday June 1, will be the last day of business for the restaurant, which opened in 1975 as Anderson's Cajun's Wharf. Ringgold cites the expiring lease (June 30) and the enormous amount of maintenance and repair required to keep operating in a 45-year-old, 20,000-square-foot building.
Ringgold will continue to operate her two other Capers Group restaurants, Capers on Cantrell Road in west Little Rock, which she and some friends and business partners opened in 1995, and Copper Grill, which opened in 2007 on Third Street downtown.
"Although it's a painful and agonizing decision, it's the best business decision, based on the current climate," she said earlier this week. The restaurant, which Gretchen Hall, chief executive officer of the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, described as "one of a handful of true destination restaurants," "one of the best live entertainment options in the city" and "absolutely our largest restaurant," was a big draw for out-of-town diners, and Ringgold says she has been packing patrons in on the weekends, but not on weekdays.
She is giving patrons a couple of months to "live the nostalgia with us" and to bid the establishment farewell; she's instituting daily restaurant specials and serving fresh crawfish, along with a $5 "Thursday Throwback" bar menu with signature beverages. Happy hour and evenings Thursday-Saturday will feature music. Hours are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The bar and deck open at 4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 375-5351.
In the wake of an internecine lawsuit between the partners who founded it, Blue Canoe Brewing, 425 E. Third St. in Little Rock's River Market District, closed late last month. Co-founder Iden Cowan filed a lawsuit in April 2018 against co-founder Patrick Cowan, her ex-husband, as well as partner Laura Berryhill and Ben Davis Property Management, alleging that, while she provided "virtually all of the capital support for [the enterprise] to allow it to open and operate" and acted as a silent partner, the defendants began operating and expanding the brewery under a competing entity. Meanwhile, Berryhill and Laura Butler are in the process of setting up a new enterprise, to be called Lucky Lou's in the same Third Street space (it's the childhood nickname Butler tells our staff member Josh Snyder that she and Berryhill both had), to feature a full-service bar with a light food menu with tacos, quesadillas and pretzels and cheese. A mixed-drink permit has been filed with the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
By the time you read this, That Ramen Place, 5711 Kavanaugh Blvd. in Little Rock's Pulaski Heights, should finally be up and running. Owner Au Tran has been serving soft-opening meals this week. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. The phone number is (501) 414-0284; the Facebook page: facebook.com/That-Ramen-Place-633341350431569.
The sign says SoBo; it's an abbreviation for South Boulevard, with a mid-April target opening in the former GiGi's Soul Food Cafe and Lounge/Nashville Bar and Grill space, 10840 Maumelle Boulevard, North Little Rock, next to Morningside Bagel. Owner Jermaine Burton, who also owns Lucky's Sports Bar & Grill, 1101 Murphy Drive, Maumelle, says he's looking at a fusion menu that will include steaks and Korean barbecue. Kitchen hours are tentatively 11 a.m.-10 p.m. weekdays, possibly open a little later on weekends, with the bar staying open somewhat later than that. The phone number is (501) 414-8870; there's a Facebook page: facebook.com/South-Boulevard-400867444061333.
Somehow this slipped by us — and a lot of people, apparently — at the time, but shortly after the first of the year, longtime sous chef Casey Poe replaced Cody Rudd as executive chef at So Restaurant-Bar, 3610 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock. (We were also slightly confused at the news because Rudd's predecessor was also named Casey: Casey Copeland.) Poe has instituted a new Sunday brunch menu; the dinner menu is essentially the same with some minor adjustments to some ingredients. Hours are 4-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 4-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-10 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 663-1464; the website, sorestaurantbar.com.
The International Greek Food Festival, May 17-19 at Little Rock's Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 1100 Napa Valley Drive, will hold its first-ever preview tasting event, 5:30-7 p.m. May 1 at the church. It'll unveil six new menu items — a gyro salad; an "improved" Greek salad; a lamb dinner with roasted potatoes, Greek-style green beans, Greek salad and pita bread; an Olympic Sundae, Yarnell's vanilla ice cream topped with loukoumathes (similar to Greek doughnut holes) and honey syrup; an "OPAtizer" plate — keftedes (Greek meatballs), dolmades, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, sliced tomato, cucumber and pita; ouzo cake; and a "Vegeterranean" plate of seasoned rice, green beans, Greek salad. And attendees can get a sneak peek at the new recently installed mosaic from Italy. Tickets, which will include wine, beer and small bites, are $20; visit eventbrite.com or greekfoodfest.com.
And the Nothing Bundt Cakes chain is marking the opening of its 300th bakery next month in Jacksonville, Fla., by giving away Confetti Bundtlets (miniature Bundt cakes) at its bakeries — including the two in Arkansas, 12312 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, and 4409 W. Walnut St., Rogers — for 300 seconds, 3-3:05 p.m. Tuesday. Each bakery will be giving away up to 300 cakes — just show up at the door, no coupon necessary, limit one per person. Phone number for the Little Rock store: (501) 904-5151; for Rogers, (479) 636-0223. Visit nothingbundtcakes.com.
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 send a note to Restaurants, Weekend Section, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, Ark. 72203. Send email to:
Weekend on 04/04/2019
Print Headline: RESTAURANT TRANSITIONS: Cajun's Wharf to close; Blue Canoe shut amid legal dispute; That Ramen Place in Heights