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story.lead_photo.caption Magnolia Skillet is coming soon to the former White Pig Inn on East Broadway in North Little Rock. Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Wally Gieringer - Photo by Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Wally Gieringer

We reported in November that franchisee Wild Waters Co., owned by Mark and Paula Lukas, would be building a new location of the Little Rock-based U.S. Pizza Co. chain, "from the ground up in Chenal area of west Little Rock." Now we know, thanks to a building permit filed last week with the city Department of Planning and Development, where it's going to be: In the Village at Rahling Road, 12 Rahling Circle, just off Chenal Parkway. The center currently houses an outlet of Cantina Cinco de Mayo and, in the space that was once Oceans at Arthur's, Samu Bar, Sushi, Hibachi; a May opening is expected for a branch office of Hot Springs' Bones Chophouse in the space that formerly housed Arthur's Prime Steakhouse. (Arthur's and Oceans, you will recall, moved east to new diggings in a pair of former auto dealerships on Chenal Parkway.)

Mark Lukas, according to a Facebook post, started as a U.S. Pizza server 10 years ago and "worked his way up to Assistant Manager, then GM and Area Director, and [is] now [the] owner of a franchise with his wife." He says they've just broken ground and there's an end-of-year target to open, possibly as early as November: "If we can get it up around Thanksgiving that would be great." Meanwhile, U.S. Pizza's chief operating officer, Drew Weber, admits "it's going to be a busy year," with an outlet opening in Springdale in April and the new expanded outlet in Sherwood, right behind the original location at 8403 Arkansas 107, expected by the end of May.

A U.S. Pizza franchise has just broken ground in the Village at Rahling Road in west Little Rock, with a late 2019 target to open. Democrat-Gazette file photo
A U.S. Pizza franchise has just broken ground in the Village at Rahling Road in west Little Rock, with a late 2019 target to open. Democrat-Gazette file photo

It's hard to keep a good pig down. You'll recall the reporting on the March 8 closure of the White Pig Inn after 99 years of business; now we've been getting reports from eagle-eyed readers that a Little Rock couple, Andrew and Sabrina Rodgers, have taken over the building at 5231 E. Broadway in North Little Rock's Rose City and a banner on the front says "Coming soon: Magnolia Skillet. A Taste of Mississippi." (The Rodgerses made the television news earlier this year because they've adopted six children.) We're told there's an April 15 target to open.

The people who run Three Fold Noodles + Dumpling Co., 611 S Main St, Little Rock, are seeking a zoning variance for the proposed redevelopment of the property at 1509 Rebsamen Park Road, Little Rock, formerly the Marshall Clements Antique Store; documents filed with the city indicate they are planning a restaurant/bar/sake brewery with an outdoor dining space; it will not be a new location of the existing restaurant — the move to Main Street from Center Street is fairly recent — but a separate project. The Little Rock Board of Adjustment deferred a decision until its April 29 meeting after some opposition to the parking part of the variance request, for fewer off-street parking places than current code requires, surfaced from neighboring businesses, concerned that new restaurant's customers would take up their parking spaces. Oh, and in case you're curious, that's not the site of the former Leather Bottle -- that was next-door, at 1505 Rebsamen Park.

A new Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has opened at the intersection of Cantrell Road and Chenal Parkway.
A new Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has opened at the intersection of Cantrell Road and Chenal Parkway.

A new Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen location at 19600 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, on the north side of the Cantrell-Chenal Parkway intersection opposite the Walmart, is now open, serving 10 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. The phone number is (501) 367-8187.

A construction company has fenced and screened off the parking lot of the former Helmich's Auto Service, 2712 Kavanaugh Blvd., in Little Rock's Hillcrest, that owner Daniel Bryant is planning to convert into an as-yet unnamed casual restaurant, serving primarily burgers, with a soda fountain and full bar. The move has cut off off-street overflow parking for patrons of Mylo Coffee Co., U.S. Pizza's Hillcrest outlet and other Kavanaugh Boulevard merchants. Bryant also owns, along Kavanaugh, District Fare and theHillcrest Fountain , as well as Big Whiskey's on the edge of the River Market District downtown and Sauce(d) in west Little Rock.

Stone's Throw Brewing, 402 E. Ninth St. Little Rock, introduces this week's new brew — "Mighty Wing," a collaboration with Flyway Brewing, 4 p.m. Friday. The Stone's Throw phone number: (501) 244-9154; the website,

Hot Springs artist Patrick Cunningham and his Old Master-style paintings will be the art part of the monthly Art & Wine Dinner, 7 p.m. Sunday at The Avenue, inside The Waters hotel, 340 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Cunningham will give a brief gallery talk; his work remains on display in the restaurant for the month. Chef Casey Copeland's prix-fixe ($65), five-course dinner includes almond-crusted flounder, braised chicken sopes, a grilled portobello slider, herbed ricotta conchiglie (seashell pasta) and lemon goat cheesecake, all with appropriate sauces, side vegetables and wine pairings. Visit to see the menu. Call (501) 625-3850.

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 03/28/2019

Print Headline: RESTAURANT TRANSITIONS: New U.S. Pizza in west Little Rock, Magnolia Skillet coming soon + latest on new Hillcrest eatery


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Archived Comments

  • susan918crosbygmailcom
    March 28, 2019 at 12:41 p.m.

    I so wish the Lucas's would open a US Pizza company in California...
    Us Arkansan's out here would really like to have one.

  • Doug
    August 10, 2019 at 7:39 a.m.

    Magnolia Skillet is now open, had lunch there on Tuesday. The food is great, you need to stop out there and write it up for the next Transitions!