RESTAURANT TRANSITIONS: Bones Chophouse readying Little Rock branch; Hungry Howie's Pizza coming soon

Gusano’s landlords: Space is up for lease

Spa City restaurant Bones Chophouse, 3920 Central Ave., Hot Springs, is planning to open a Little Rock branch in the space that formerly housed Arthur's Prime Steakhouse, 27 Rahling Circle. Co-owner Dean Jennings confirms they've signed a lease, that with the permission of the landlord they'll be doing a little bit of build-out work "to make it more our style" — mostly opening up the space a bit while keeping the current aged-wood steakhouse charm. They're planning to open it around the first week of May, after the Oaklawn race meet is over, so as not to take away from the Hot Springs operation during its busiest season.

It's probably pretty safe to adjust the status of Gusano's, 313 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, from "closed for maintenance," as per a recent Facebook post, to "closed for good." Property management firm Newmark Moses Tucker Partners posted Monday morning on Instagram: "Now Available! Former Gusano's Restaurant Space is for lease in the River Market," asking folks, "What restaurants would you like to see downtown?" By our Tuesday deadline, a leasing agent for Newmark Moses Tucker Partners had not returned our call nor had Gusano's phone number, (501) 374-1441, been disconnected.

And while we're on the subject of pizza, a franchise of Hungry Howie's Pizza is "coming soon" to the Colony West Shopping Center, 10300 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock. Suite M, listed on the website ( as the planned location, is the ramshackle free-standing building at the shopping center's Rodney Parham Road entrance that housed Colony West Wine & Spirits. There's neither a construction timeline nor a target opening date yet. The Madison Heights, Mich.-based chain's claim to distinction is that it is the "home of the original Flavored Crust"; options include Butter, Asiago Cheese, Cajun, Butter Cheese, Sesame, Garlic Herb, Ranch and Onion. The menu also includes calzone-style subs, salads, wings and rolls — check it out at

Mojitos & Margaritas Grill & Bar is "coming soon," according to a banner over the front door and its Facebook page (, to the former Cilantro's Grill storefront in the Lakewood Village Shopping Center, 2629 Lakewood Village Drive, North Little Rock. We've been unable to reach anybody at the phone number Facebook lists, (501) 379-9259.

The Adobo to Go food truck has been setting up outside Frances Flower Shop, 1222 W. Capitol Ave., Little Rock, weather permitting, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday. Also on site there: food trucks Grills on Wheels, most weekdays, and occasionally Tren Al Sur. Adobo to Go's Facebook page is

The DacqShack Cajun Seafood & Daiquari s — that's what it says on the sign out front — has opened in the former Famous Dave's, 225 N. Shackleford Road, Little Rock (we'd been searching for it under the name The Daiquiri Shop), and promptly closed for two days, Sunday and Monday, citing "high demand and building" maintenance on its Facebook page ( Hours, at least according to Facebook: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday. The phone number is (501) 747-2223.

We've confirmed that the folks who run Verona Italian Restaurant, 190 Skyline Drive, Conway, and Milano's Italian Grill, 1800 Club Manor Drive, Maumelle, have recently signed a lease to open another Milano's Italian Grill on or off Cantrell Road. One of our eagle-eyed readers reports spotting a sign on the former Layla's branch location, 8201 Ranch Blvd.

Raduno Brick Oven & Barroom, 318 Main St., Little Rock, is simultaneously marking National Pizza Day and its fourth anniversary, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Feb. 9 with all-day "$10 Classic Pies" and "$4 Draft Beer," plus a photo booth. And "Rick from Mr. Mason's BBQ will be out front in the afternoon blowin' smoke and cookin' some amazing BBQ," some of which could show up in next-day brunch specials. Visit the Facebook event page: Raduno's phone number: (501) 374-7476; the website:

Allsopp & Chapple, 311 Main St., Little Rock, is putting its toe into the Sunday brunch market, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on holidays and on dates when major artistic events are scheduled for nearby downtown venues: Feb. 24 (Arkansas Symphony Orchestra at Robinson Center Performance Hall and Chicago at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre), March 17 (Evita at Robinson and Chicago at the Rep); Easter Sunday, April 21; and Mother's Day, May 12, all featuring jazz. Depending on how it does, they'll consider expanding to longer hours and/or additional Sundays. Cost is $25 (with $2 mimosas and $5 bloody Marys), free for kids 12 and younger (no mimosas or bloody Marys until they turn 21, of course). And the restaurant will offer Feb. 14 a four-course Valentine's Day dinner, "specially prepared by Chef Bonner Cameron." Cost is $75 with a 15 percent discount for early seatings (4-5:30 p.m.); optional wine pairings are $35. Call (501) 902-4911 for reservations.

The Grand Taverne, inside the Grand Central Hotel, 37 N. Main St., Eureka Springs, will host the "Taste of N'Awlins," 1-3 p.m. Feb. 9, featuring hot beignets, chicory coffee and gumbo shooters and a cash bar. Cost is $8. Visit


The Department of Arkansas Heritage has announced the finalists for its 2019 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame: Bruno's Little Italy, Little Rock; AQ Chicken House, Springdale; 4-Dice Restaurant, Fordyce; Burge's Restaurant, Little Rock and Lewisville; Craig Brothers Cafe, DeValls Bluff; Doe's Eat Place, Little Rock; Keeney's Food Market, Malvern; Kream Kastle, Blytheville; The Ohio Club, Hot Springs; Star of India, Little Rock.

Finalists in other categories:

• Proprietor of the Year: Capi Peck, Trio's, Little Rock; Loretta Tacker, Tacker's Shake Shack, Marion; Peter Brave, Brave New Restaurant, Little Rock; Sami Lal, Star of India, Little Rock; Scott McGehee, Yellow Rocket Concepts, Little Rock.

• Food-Themed Events: Hope Watermelon Festival; International Greek Food Festival; Our Lady of the Lake Church's Annual Spaghetti Dinner; Tontitown Grape Festival; World Championship Duck Gumbo Cookoff.

• Gone But Not Forgotten: Klappenbach Bakery, Fordyce; Mary Maestri's Italiano Grillroom, Springdale; La Scala Italian Restaurant, Little Rock; Uncle John's, Crawfordsville; The Shack Barbecue, Little Rock.

The winner in a fifth category, the People's Choice Award, is chosen solely on the basis of the number of nominations for a particular restaurant, and will be announced at the induction ceremony, Feb. 25 at the Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave., Little Rock. Tickets are $20. Call (501) 324-9346, email or visit by Feb. 8.

The public submitted 650 nominations from all 75 Arkansas counties during October. A panel of 13 food professionals and "foodies" selected the finalists.


Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food, a division of NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, resumes its "Brightwater Salon" quarterly dinner series, pairing professional chefs and artists/performers "to explore a different theme in acts of artistic co-creation." The next salon will take place 6:30 p.m. March 8 at Brightwater, 801 S.E. Eighth St., Bentonville. Featured will be chef Rafael Rios of Bentonville restaurant Yeyos and the LatinX Theatre Project. Tickets are $80; visit The rest of the lineup: June 19, "Spice"; Aug. 9: "Constructing Identity"; and Nov. 8: "Culture." Email or visit

Tofu Chalupas? Kale Crunchwraps? Seitan Soft Tacos? Linda Zavoral reports in the San Jose Mercury News that Taco Bell is planning to introduce new vegetarian items and getting ready to test its "first dedicated vegetarian menu" later this year. The chain said in a recent news release that it already offers 8 million vegetarian combinations. And in the meanwhile, the company says it "has now removed all artificial colors and flavors from its core menu, and where possible will continue to remove preservatives and other additives from its food."

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:

Weekend on 01/31/2019

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