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story.lead_photo.caption Hillcrest Little Bakery is set to open later this week at 203 N. Van Buren St., just north of West Markham, Little Rock. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison

Hillcrest Little Bakery, 203 N. Van Buren St., Little Rock, is in the midst of a soft opening with, we're told, a target opening set for Friday. The menu, available at the Facebook page, facebook.com/hillcrestlittlebakery, includes breakfast biscuit sandwiches, six preparations of biscuits and gravy; biscuit meals; pancake platters; salads; and three hot chicken meals. Pastries include cheesecakes, pies and "daily selections." Hours are 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (and yes, they're closed Tuesday and Wednesday). We're still reaching out for a phone number; the website, HillcrestLittleBakery.com, lags the Facebook page on details.

According to one of our eagle-eyed colleagues, something called Pho 68 Vietnamese and Chinese Cuisine is pending in the former Sakura location, 4011 E. Kiehl Ave., Sherwood. No other details were available.

Dec. 1 is the tentative opening date for The Hybrid Kitchen, Fusion Cuisine in the strip-center storefront that formerly housed Flavours, 13120 Crystal Hill Road, North Little Rock, off Maumelle Boulevard on the North Little Rock side of the Maumelle divide. The owners say the menu offers a "fusion of different cultural foods — ramen, pho and even burgers" and promises more details as they become available on the Facebook page, facebook.com/The-Hybrid-Kitchen-114253109974740. Tentative hours will be 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 or 9:30 Friday-Saturday. No phone number yet.

Get a load of the lasagna at Milano's Italian Grill in Maumelle: The restaurant is currently closed for renovation, new menu and change of ownership. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison
Get a load of the lasagna at Milano's Italian Grill in Maumelle: The restaurant is currently closed for renovation, new menu and change of ownership. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison

And speaking of Maumelle, Milano's Italian Grill, 1800 Club Manor Drive, is closed through at least Nov. 14, according to an Oct. 28 post on the Facebook page, facebook.com/MilanosMaumelleAr, because it's heading toward "a new menu, remodeling and switching owners." Calls to the phone number, (501) 734-8027, produce a voicemail message with basically the same information.

And still speaking of Maumelle, the Beef 'O' Brady's at 115 Audubon Drive is one of several locations testing the plant-based, meat-free Impossible Burger before the chain decides whether or not to roll it out as a menu item to its 150 locations.

We reported in July that Scott Marks had bought the local franchise for Little Rock's only Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers outlet, 16103 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, and that Marks would be making a few changes. Marks recently announced "several updates to the restaurant including menu changes, extended bar offerings, staff training and more." Those include "game-day specials with 12 TVs, NFL Ticket and upgraded surround sound system"; new happy hour offerings with more than 40 beers on tap; pizza by the slice at lunch and during late-night hours; "Board Game Wednesdays and Trivia Thursdays"; music by local performers on Friday and Saturday; and a Sunday brunch menu. Hours are 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday. The phone number is (501) 379-9157.

...

The University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College Foundation Inc. is "Makin' the Cut" for its 13th annual Diamond Chef competition, 5 p.m. Wednesday, at at the college's Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Institute, 13000 Interstate 30 Frontage Road, Little Rock. Ten area chefs and one "wild card" — Geovanny Villagran and David Utley, Little Rock Marriott; Steve Binotti, Petit & Keet; Matias De Matthaeis, Capital Hotel; Brian Townley, Vault at 723 (Hot Springs); Joe Salguiero, Pleasant Valley Country Club; Tony Graham, Southern Gentleman Catering; Whilma Frogoso, Whilma's Filipino Restaurant (Searcy); Alicia Watson, Vito and Vera; Brandon Brimley, To the Brim Catering; and Bonner Cameron, Allsopp & Chapple — will make creations for the attendees to sample by way of competing for the six spots in the final round in April. The cocktail-hour will, of course, include cocktails. Diamond Chef tickets start at $150; information is available at tinyurl.com/y63h5kld.

Jonathan Durbin, manager of the McDonald's at 4447 Arkansas 7 North in Hot Springs Village, is one of 365 recipients of this year's Ray Kroc Award, which recognizes the top-performing McDonald's managers from 60 markets across the globe. The award includes a cash prize and a trophy, which Durbin, who has managed the location since 2017, will receive at an April 22 gala in Orlando, Fla.

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Here's a list of chain places offering specials for (except as noted) veterans and active-duty military with proof of service to mark Veterans Day on Monday. Most them come courtesy of The Real Deal blog (retailmenot.com/blog/veterans-day-free-meals.html):

Applebee's: free meal from a limited menu with proof of service.

Buffalo Wild Wings: Free dine-in order of small boneless wings with choice of sauce and a free soft drink.

Chili's: Free meal from a select menu.

Cracker Barrel: Free slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake, crafted coffee or traditional espresso beverage (iced or hot).

Freddy's: Free combo meal cards, good through Nov. 30.

Golden Corral restaurants are serving a free "thank you" dinner buffet and beverage, 5-9 p.m., to all active duty and retired military personnel (including National Guard, reserves and veterans of all branches of service) during its 19th annual Military Appreciation Night. They're also raising money through guest contributions for Disabled American Veterans. Visit militaryappreciationnight.com.

• At any location of Dallas-based stir-fry chain Genghis Grill through Monday, guests can donate $3 or more toward educational scholarships for families of America's fallen and disabled service members. Sign a symbolic folded flag and pin it to the wall at any Genghis Grill location; 100% of the proceeds goes to nonprofit Folds of Honor to honor those who serve. Visit genghisgrill.com.

Hooters: With purchase of a beverage, veterans and active-duty military with military ID or proof of service can enjoy a free entree from the special Hooters Veterans Day menu that includes the 10-Piece Traditional Wings, 10-Piece Smoked Wings, 10-Piece Boneless Wings, Hooters Burger, Buffalo Chicken Salad and Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.

IHOP: Free pancakes.

Little Caesar's: Free $5 Hot and Ready lunch combo, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Logan's Roadhouse: Free meal from the American Roadhouse menu, 3-6 p.m.

Longhorn Steakhouse: Free appetizer or dessert and 10% off the bill with military ID.

Olive Garden: Free entree from a special menu at participating locations.

Pie Five Pizza: active and retired military and current or past members of the Armed Forces or Department of Defense, free personal pizza with military ID or proof of service, in-store only.

Red Lobster: Free appetizer or dessert.

Starbucks: Free tall coffee.

Texas Roadhouse: Free lunch, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., choice of 10 entrees from a special Veterans Day menu, plus a choice of any Coca-Cola product, sweet tea/iced tea or coffee.

TGI Friday's: Free lunch up to $12 in value at participating locations.

Twin Peaks: Free menu items for military and veterans — specifically Chicken Tenders, Ol' Fashioned BLT, Cheeseburger and the Wedge Salad.

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We're once again assembling a list of places open on Thanksgiving Day, which is Nov. 28. We'll run the initial list in this column and online Nov. 21 with a follow-up on the holiday. If you have a restaurant or know of a restaurant, that will be open for the holiday, please let us know by Nov. 18 via email: eharrison@adgnewsroom.com. Please include hours of holiday operation, prices for buffets and prix fixe meals and a phone number for reservations and information. (And, yes, we'll do the same thing for Christmas. That list will run Dec. 19, the last Thursday prior to the holiday, and we'll run a subsequent update online.

That said, here's a couple of early entries:

• If you plan to be in Northwest Arkansas for the holiday, chef Matt McClure is gearing up for the annual noon-7 p.m. Thanksgiving feast at The Hive, in the 21c Museum Hotel, 200 N.E. A St., Bentonville, featuring smoked turkey with McClure's trademark cornbread stuffing (made with mushrooms, thyme, sage, white wine and buttermilk), house-made potato gnocchi with brown butter, sage and walnut crumble; pumpkin soup; and braised beef brisket. Cost for the four-course table d'hote meal is $47-$56 per person. Call (479) 286.6575.

• And 42 bar and table, at the Clinton Presidential Center, 1200 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, is offering a catered pickup meal for between eight and 12 people, including a 14-pound turkey — your choice of mesquite-smoked, traditional roasted or citrus and rosemary marinated, $65 (includes an accompanying quart of gravy). See the full list of sides, snacks, breads and desserts and an order form at tinyurl.com/y2sn8bol. Deadline to order is Friday, Nov. 22; pick the meal up, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 27. Call (501) 537-0042.

...

And a correction on last week's item on the Dairy Queen opening in Greenbrier: the franchisees are Blake Lively and his partners in You Scream Holdings LLC; Gracie Lively handles the company's marketing.

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@adgnewsroom.com

Weekend on 11/07/2019

Print Headline: RESTAURANT TRANSITIONS: New bakery in Hillcrest; Milano's getting new owners; changes at Mellow Mushroom

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