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story.lead_photo.caption The White Pig Inn on East Broadway in North Little Rock will close on March 8 after 99 years. (Democrat-Gazette file photo)

The White Pig Inn won't quite make it to the century mark. Owner Greg Seaton says he's closing the venerable North Little Rock barbecue restaurant at 5231 E. Broadway on March 8 after 99 years of business. "It's time," he says. "I'm 40 years in; I don't have any sons, and my two daughters aren't interested in the restaurant business. It's bittersweet. There's a lot of history here." The restaurant has changed buildings but operated on the same lot throughout its lifetime. They'll continue to serve just what Seaton says is "an old-fashioned barbecue menu," 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, until the end. The phone number is (501) 945-5551.

Meanwhile, The Happy Egg in the Market Place Shopping Center, 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, which Tom and Barbara Fuge bought as B-Side from Nancy Tesmer late in 2016 and subsequently renamed, has closed. They've posted a note on the door and on the restaurant's Facebook page: "It is with sadness that we announce that we have closed The Happy Egg permanently. Thank you for your support the last two years." The phone number, (501) 716-2700, returns a voicemail message with the same information. Over the two-plus years the Fuges operated it, it periodically closed for renovations and experienced changes in the setup and hours.

Sandy Woods, who in July marked the 40th anniversary of her Sandy's Homeplace Cafe in a little yellow house at 1710 E. 15th St., Little Rock, is now closing on Mondays, cutting back to just 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. Woods recently told a colleague that "she's been in business long enough — 40 plus years — where she deserves an extra day off." The phone number is (501) 375-3216.

Craig Brothers Cafe in DeValls Bluff; Burge's Hickory Smoked Turkeys and Hams, with outlets in Little Rock and the original in Lewisville; and Keeney's Food Market in Malvern are the class of 2019 entering the Department of Arkansas Heritage's Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. Also named in a reception and induction ceremony Monday at Little Rock's Ron Robinson Theater: Loretta Tacker of Marion, Proprietor of the Year; Hope Watermelon Festival, Food-Themed Events; Fordyce's Klappenbach Bakery, Gone But Not Forgotten; and Little Rock's Honey Pies Gourmet Bakery and Cafe, People's Choice. A 13-member committee selected the winners from 650 nominations from around the state.

The Little Rock Hurts Donut Co. branch, 107 E. Markham St., opened at 5 a.m. Wednesday, and the first 100 folks in line were to receive free doughnuts for a year. Yes, it's open 24/7, or as their corporate office quips, 25/8, and they'll deliver, for the time being within a five-mile radius but with plans to expand the range. The phone number is (501) 916-9201; visit the Facebook page (facebook.com/Hurts-Donut-Little-Rock-Arkansas-989386394574524) or wannahurts.com.

And speaking of doughnuts, the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway metropolitan area places 26th in BestPlaces.net's listing of "Top Donut Cities." The website ranks the nation's top 100 metros in order of number of doughnut shops per capita, focusing in particular, apparently, on the number of outlets of national chains Tim Horton's and Krispy Kreme. The survey shows in this market 43 doughnut shops, no Tim Horton's, two Krispy Kremes, 6.36 doughnut shops per 100,000 population. Overall, "numbers were crunched and results crystallized like the sugary coating on a Raised Glazed." Austin, Texas, was No. 1, followed by Providence-Warwick, R.I.; Worcester, Mass; Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.; Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Conn.; New Haven-Milford, Conn.; Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.; Springfield, Mass. (they evidently love their doughnuts in New England); Scranton-Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton, Pa.; Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas; and Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. As for the rest of Arkansas: Memphis, encompassing eastern Arkansas and northern Mississippi, ranks 49th. Way down the list, past our ability to count (because they're listed in order but not numbered) in descending degrees of doughnut deprivation, are Hot Springs, Magnolia, Texarkana, Arkadelphia, Russellville, Forrest City, Blytheville, Camden, Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Malvern, Batesville, Pine Bluff, Fort Smith, Mountain Home, Searcy, El Dorado, Helena-West Helena, Harrison, Jonesboro and Paragould. Find complete rankings and results at bestplaces.net/docs/studies/top-donut-cities.aspx.

A concerned reader asked us to find out why the David's Burgers outlet in Park Plaza, 6000 W. Markham St. at University Avenue, Little Rock, has stopped serving fries and started serving chips with burgers. A spokesman for the Maumelle-based mini-chain explains that they're testing out a new concept, creating the first, and so far only, "Little David's" location, and are exploring ways to speed up the process of serving customers and also lower prices. She said this may or may not become a template for other "Little David's" locations down the line.

A list of permits in the Feb. 21 Hot Springs Sentinel Record includes one for an operation called Quetzal Inc. seeking a "certificate of occupancy for [a] full service restaurant" in Suites 130-132, 1018 Airport Road.

Core Brewing is closing four of its Northwest Arkansas pubs while planning to reopen and renovate the taproom at its Springdale brewery in April. Closing today are the location on Mall Avenue in Fayetteville and public houses at Pinnacle Hills in Rogers and downtown Bentonville; the pub on Emma Street in Springdale closes at the end of March. Remaining open will be public houses on Mission Boulevard in Fayetteville and locations in Little Rock, Fort Smith and Hot Springs. A pub on Main Street in North Little Rock closed a few months ago. The new taproom at the brewery is expected to open in early April with more room, games and at least 24 taps. Chris Reed, Core Brewing's president and CEO, says closing the locations will help his small company focus on its beer and beer production.

And the Daily Meal, an online source for recipes and food news, lists the Riverfront Steakhouse in North Little Rock's Wyndham Riverfront Hotel as Arkansas' best steakhouse in its listing of the top steak restaurants in each state (thedailymeal.com/eat/best-steakhouse-every-state-gallery), describing it as "an Arkansas gem" and adding, "Riverfront may not look like much (it's tucked in next to a Benihana inside a hotel), but don't be fooled: The steaks here are USDA Prime and darn good. The 30-item salad bar is old-school and well-stocked, baked potatoes are the size of your head and the 24-ounce porterhouse (the top seller) is, like all the steaks, heavily salted and peppered, seared in an infrared broiler, basted in butter, then placed back in the broiler to crisp up the crust."

The listing explains the evaluation method, starting with "our annual ranking of America's 50 best steakhouses, which is compiled by judging more than 200 steakhouses on strict criteria. But that only took us so far; to fill out the map we then took a deep dive into each remaining state's culinary scene, grading all the leading steakhouses by those same criteria: Is the meat sourced reputably and USDA Choice or Prime? Is it dry-aged, and if not, is it as high-quality as can be? Is it served at the proper doneness without fail and with a touch of ceremony? How are the side dishes and other supporting players? Is it revered by locals and out-of-towners alike? We also considered the overall steakhouse experience." And, "because the goal is to showcase homegrown favorites, we excluded chains with more than a handful of locations."

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 02/28/2019

Print Headline: RESTAURANTS: NLR eatery closing after 99 years; The Happy Egg shuts; Hurts Donut debuts

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Comments

  • Whippersnapper
    February 28, 2019 at 8:47 a.m.

    Hurts Donut is the worst donut place around. Disappointing, overpriced, mediocre, and stale are the best adjectives I can think of from my visits there.

  • ThirdKid
    February 28, 2019 at 7:41 p.m.

    WHIPPERSNAPPER
    Visits? Plural...more than one? If it's so bad why did you go more than once? They must have done SOMETHING right!

  • Whippersnapper
    March 1, 2019 at 11:13 a.m.

    Yep. Two visits to be exact. We went once because my wife really wanted to try it and the donuts were mediocre, overpriced, and disappointing. Quite a while later, we went with another group because there was a member of the group who insisted they had heard wonderful things and we should give it a try so that they could give it a try. We went back (because maybe they just had a bad day the first visit - give them the benefit of the doubt) and the experience was even worse. We have not returned and will not return since.

  • Whippersnapper
    March 1, 2019 at 11:25 a.m.

    (so the response to your assertion that they must have done something right is yes - marketing to the person who insisted we had to go back)

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