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story.lead_photo.caption Is Pizza D'Action about to reopen? Activity in the building and an "OD's Dairy Bar" sign in the window indicate it will. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison

The Mexico Chiquito location at 4511 Camp Robinson Road, North Little Rock, has closed — last day of business was May 19 — leaving just the Mexico Chiquito Mex-to-Go, 11406 W. Markham St., Little Rock, as the only survivor of the once flourishing Ark-Mex mini-chain. A call to the Camp Robinson location phone number, (501) 771-1604, earned us a phone company message that the number has changed — to (501) 217-0647, which is the phone number of the west Little Rock establishment. Hours there are 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. "We don't plan on going anywhere with that," says co-owner Kim Lester of the Haynie Companies, which acquired the chain in the late '70s; she adds that their catering business is also still in operation.

So is Pizza D' coming back? Or perhaps it's "Pizza OD's." We can confirm that something is in progress at the former Pizza D'Action, 2915-2919 W. Markham St., at the "point" of Little Rock's Stifft Station, which closed New Year's Eve. Folks have been spotted doing some exterior cleanup and entering the doors of the building, and there is now a sign in the east-end window that says "OD's Dairy Bar." Oh, in case you were wondering "OD" is the initials of Pizza D' owner Orville "Davey" Davis, who did not return phone calls by deadline.

We now have a target reopening date, June 11, and a Little Rock location, 6606 Colonel Glenn Road, for Ceci's Chicken N Waffles, which started out at 324 E. 13th St., North Little Rock, moved a couple of years ago to 1600 Dave Ward Drive, Conway, and recently closed there. Owner Ciceley McDowell posted the details May 25 on the Facebook page, facebook.com/pg/cecischickennwaffles, along with this message: "11am-8pm we finally got Ceci's Waffles for dinner." We'll ride herd on this one until we get complete operating hours and a phone number.

Grand opening date, originally targeted for June 3, has been delayed at least a week for the Magnolia Skillet, in the the former White Pig Inn, 5231 E. Broadway in North Little Rock's Rose City. The menu, posted on their Facebook page, facebook.com/Magnolia-Skillet-363934910909863, includes breakfast combos, chicken wings, burgers (including turkey and veggie) and sandwiches, ribs, smoked chicken, pork chops and catfish, and a string of daily home-cooking specials. The page lists the planned hours as 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. The phone number is (501) 615-8502.

The front of Esters at the Pub, formerly CORE Brewing, is on Main Street in Little Rock's SoMA neighborhood. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison
The front of Esters at the Pub, formerly CORE Brewing, is on Main Street in Little Rock's SoMA neighborhood. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison

Esters at the Pub, which has been operating the kitchen for some time at the CORE Brewing Public House, 1214 S. Main St., in Little Rock's SoMA neighborhood, is in the process of fully taking over the joint, including a change in name. Esters' menu, perhaps uniquely, has two sides — on one side, burgers, sandwiches and appetizers for omnivores and carnivores, and on the other side, essentially the same menu, except it's totally vegan. They'll continue to serve and sell Core Brewing products under contract. Hours are 3 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. The phone number is (501) 353-2489.

The Appaloosa Burger (meat version) and fries are on the menu -- one side for omnivores, the other for vegans -- at Esters at the Pub, formerly CORE Brewing, on Main Street in Little Rock's SoMA neighborhood. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison
The Appaloosa Burger (meat version) and fries are on the menu -- one side for omnivores, the other for vegans -- at Esters at the Pub, formerly CORE Brewing, on Main Street in Little Rock's SoMA neighborhood. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison

Meanwhile, the owners of Esters say they're not connected in any way to what's going into the former CORE Brewing Public House at 411 Main St. in North Little Rock's Argenta Arts District. That's going to be a second tap room for Flyway Brewing, literally just around the corner from its original location, 314 Maple St., North Little Rock. Owner Jess McMullen says he doesn't yet have a target opening date — "We're a ways out," he says — but he's following a nationwide trend of craft breweries putting second tap rooms with more of an upscale vibe "right around the corner" from their primaries. This one, which he describes as a "specialty house," will likely serve up some different Flyway beers than the original, and while he doesn't anticipate having a full kitchen like the one on Maple Street, he'll serve "some snacks and stuff" because people do need something to nibble on with beer. Hours are still not yet established; at the original tap room, they're serving 4-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. The phone number there: (501) 812-3192.

Saturday will be the last day of business for landmark Little Rock restaurant Cajun's Wharf, 2400 Cantrell Road, overlooking the Arkansas River. Owner Mary Beth Ringgold is closing the restaurant, which opened in 1975 as Anderson's Cajun's Wharf, citing 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. Hours are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-11 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday. The bar and deck open at 4:30 p.m. The phone number is (501) 375-5351. 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.

Little Rock's venerable Franke's Cafeteria opened a Conway branch May 23 at 1101 Fendley Drive, Conway, in the old Dixie Cafe building. We're trying to track down business hours; the listed phone number, (501) 932-6004, repeatedly connected us either to voicemail or to a fax machine.

It happens like that sometimes. Barely two weeks after a review of Woodland Bakery & Bistro, 13121 Arkansas 107, Sherwood, appeared in our newspaper, the business was taken over by Nichols' Smokehouse BBQ, which has moved there from its original Sherwood location, 1800 Batesville Pike. The move has allowed them to expand their menu beyond barbecue to include sandwiches, salads and crawfish on Fridays while the season lasts. They've kept Woodland's alcoholic beverage license, so you can still get domestic and imported beers, and the bakery part of Woodland continues under the Southern Cake Co. rubric, so they'll still have the much-praised cupcakes, etc. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 350-5064; the Facebook page, facebook.com/NicSmokehouseBBQ.

...

Chepe, Crepe, Cheba:

Chepe's Mexican Grill opened May 21 at 17324 Interstate 30, Benton. It's run by the same people who own Cotija's Mexican Restaurant at 4754 U.S. 67, Benton. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; the phone number is (501) 794-6656 and the Facebook page is facebook.com/ChepesMexicanGrill. The building most recently housed the very short-lived Agave Grill; previous occupants include, not necessarily in this order, Sabores Mexican Cuisine, Patron Mexican Grill and Cafe Santa Fe.

• Somehow the February launch of The Crepe Coop food truck took place under our radar, but it'll be serving up sweet and savory crepes for Food Truck Friday, 4-9 p.m. Friday at The Meteor, 1001 Kavanaugh Blvd. at West Markham Street in Little Rock's Stifft Station neighborhood. The bike shop-coffee shop will be opening up its new rooftop Beer Garden and serving beer for $2 until 9 p.m.; other alcoholic drinks will be 25% off during the 4-6 p.m. happy hour. The Meteor's phone number is (501) 664-7765; the Crepe Coop's number is (501) 650-0660. The food truck's offerings change frequently, but you can get a feeling for the menu at thecrepecoop.wixsite.com/foodtruck.

• In case you missed John Magsam's report in Sunday's Business section, Hunter and Darcie Fletcher of Conway, who hold the franchise rights to three Arkansas locations for the Colorado-based Cheba Hut chain that has built its brand around cannabis-theme eateries, are scouting for a location in west Little Rock. If things go as planned, it will open in the fall or at the very latest, early next year, Magsam reports. Plans are for additional joints soon in Conway and Fayetteville. Cheba Hut has 25 locations in seven states, mostly contiguous to Colorado; the name plays upon a slang name for marijuana (also spelled cheeba, or chiba) and it's just "simply a fun theme" and the food contains no actual cannabis compounds — neither THC nor CBD — the sandwiches are named for various pot varieties, includes Jamaican Red, Thai Stick and Silver Haze; the "munchie" menu includes cheesy bread and pretzel nuggets; sweet treats include Rice Krispie bars and brownies; and its "cottonmouth cures" include iced tea, soft drinks and Kool-Aid.

...

The Tacos 4 Life chain celebrates its fifth anniversary at all its locations June 10 by hosting its annual Hunger Hero Day — any guest who shows up dressed as a local hero or superhero gets a free taco off the menu, no purchase required. Meanwhile, the chain has introduced a few new "limited time only" (through Aug. 26) summer items to its menu: The Sweet Chili Shrimp Taco, consisting of "hand-battered, fried shrimp drizzled with sweet chili sauce; topped with mango, avocado, pico de gallo and lettuce on a soft flour tortilla"; the Fried Green Tomato Taco, including "hand-breaded green tomatoes with bacon, Cajun ranch, pico de gallo, lettuce and roasted corn on a soft flour tortilla"; and Watermelon Strawberry Punch, consisting of watermelon puree, strawberry puree, orange juice, fresh-squeezed lemon, sugar and water. Visit tacos4life.com.

And speaking of tacos, Taco Bell is giving out free Doritos Locos Tacos, 2-6 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, as part of its "Steal a Game, Steal a Taco" promotion. Turns out, during this year's NBA Finals, as the Golden State Warriors take on the Toronto Raptors, if a team wins on the road anytime between tipoff today through June 16, the chain hands out freebies. Details, small print, etc.: tinyurl.com/stealataco.

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:

eharrison@arkansasonline.com

Weekend on 05/30/2019

Print Headline: RESTAURANT NEWS: Mexico Chiquito in NLR shut; something planned at Pizza D' spot; Ceci's Chicken N Waffles to open in LR

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