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story.lead_photo.caption The sign on the front of pending Zen Thai & Fusion on Cantrell Road closely resembles that of Zangna Thai (shown) on Shackleford Road. - Photo by Eric E. Harrison

We're still trying to chase down the specifics, but we're expecting a January opening for Zen Thai & Fusion in the eastern anchor storefront at the Pinnacle Creek shopping center, 14810 Cantrell Road at Taylor Loop Road, Little Rock. (You will recall that it used to be Pasta J's West and was the planned site for a revival of The Villa that never came to fruition.) And the signs point to the family that operates Zangna Thai Cuisine in the Shackleford Crossings shopping center, 2604 S. Shackleford Road, Little Rock, including the one on the front of the building, which is very much the same style as the sign on the front of Zangna, down to the font and the presence of a red wedge over one of the letters. We learned last year that the family was looking to add a second location; they told us at the time it would be in a shopping center then in progress somewhere in the vicinity of Chenal Parkway and Rahling Road, near the Promenade at Chenal. The original restaurant is open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4:30-9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; the phone number is (501) 227-7785.

In case you missed it last week when it was breaking news, Elgin Hamner Jr., son of owner Elgin Hamner Sr., posted on Facebook that Sunday will be the last day of operation for the Western Sizzlin, 1916 Congo Road, fronting Interstate 30, Benton. "I grew up in this store and have had the honor to feed and get to know so many people," he says. "It has served Benton, Bryant, Saline County and central Arkansas for 4 decades. I am very proud of this place; [it's] home." Hours are 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. today and Sunday, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 778-9656.

Our attention has been called to advertisements on a couple of job-search websites (including -- -- and -- that Gecko Colorado, apparently a chain of some sort, possibly based in either Denver or Colorado Springs, is seeking a general manager for a planned Little Rock outlet. "In the 15+ years we've been in business, our goal hasn't strayed since our first restaurant," says the ad. "We want to offer our customers the freshest, highest quality meals they can find on the go. Instead of having a vast menu where quality can get lost in the sauce, we've focused on a handful of delicious options and put our efforts into being the best in the industry. Our success in the South has allowed us to expand to locations across the country with more expansion plans on the books!" A little searching on the Internet turns up a company call Gecko Hospitality that is also advertising for management at restaurants in Little Rock (, Conway, North Little Rock, Rogers, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, El Dorado, Jonesboro, Russellville, Springdale, Fayetteville, Mountain View, Pine Bluff, Piggott and Paragould.

One of our eagle-eyed correspondents spotted a "for lease" sign on the Subway in the Victory Building, 1401 W. Capitol Ave., Little Rock, just east of the state Capitol. It's still listed on the Subway website ( and the phone number, (501) 378-7828, does not yet appear to have been disconnected.

Table 28, inside the Burgundy Hotel, 1501 Merrill Drive, Little Rock, is once again offering three Vegan Nights, 4 p.m. Jan. 29-31. Cost is $40 for a four-course meal; seating is limited. Make reservations by calling (501) 224-2828; visit the Facebook page,

The Dairy Queen at 2014 Arkansas 5 North, Benton, broke records for opening-hour and opening-day sales on Friday, and now holds the DQ world record for highest sales volume in one hour and highest sales in one day, "outpacing all 7,000 DQ stores in the company's 78-year history," including its fellow You Scream Holdings LLC outlet in Cabot that had grabbed the record at its opening six months ago. (The Cabot location still holds the top spot for most transactions in one day.) Hours are 10 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. The phone number is (501) 575-6221. Visit

And anticipated icy weather forced the postponement of the Dec. 8 Northwest Arkansas Caffeine Crawl, involving at least a dozen purveyors, brewers and roasters of coffee, tea and/or chocolate in Bentonville, Fayetteville and Rogers. So it's on for Saturday; times and cost ($24-$27, including a drink or chocolate sample, a short, educational presentation at each stop and an event bag) depend on which of four routes you take. Visit for details and tickets, or email

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. Email:

Photo by Democrat-Gazette file photo
The sign on the front of pending Zen Thai & Fusion (shown) on Cantrell Road closely resembles that of Zangna Thai on Shackleford Road.
Folks in Benton lined up overnight to be among the first to patronize the Dairy Queen at 2014 Arkansas 5 North, on Friday. The outlet set a new DQ world record for highest sales volume in one hour and in one day.

Weekend on 01/03/2019

Print Headline: Restaurant Transitions: Zen Thai & Fusion set to open; Western Sizzlin shuts; new Dairy Queen breaks opening records


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