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story.lead_photo.caption A 1941 Chevy pickup, with the bed replaced by a table and some adorning flames on the front fenders, awaits customers of Dickey's Barbecue Pit, now open -- after several delays -- in the former Starbucks at 9401 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Jeff Gammons

Expect, in the second or third week of October, to see the openings of U.S. Pizza's new expanded outlet in Sherwood, right behind the original location at 8403 Arkansas 107, and the new franchise outlet in the Village at Rahling Road, 12 Rahling Circle, just off Chenal Parkway. The chain's chief operating officer, Drew Weber, has said the Sherwood building will be "1,000 square feet bigger than the one in Maumelle" and feature a fountain and three party rooms — one big, two small. And it will have the same phone number, (501) 992-1512. Hours for both establishments will match those of the others in the chain — 10:30 a.m.-10p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. The Rahling Road location doesn't yet have a working phone number. Weber recommends keeping an eye on U.S. Pizza's Facebook page for updates.

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Saladworks, the create-your-own salad, grain-bowl and toast chain, has opened its first Arkansas location at the Wellington Center at Chenal, 15400 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, after a six-month delay from its originally planned April debut. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 747-2220; the website is saladworks.com/salad. Plans are to add three to five more locations, including outlets in downtown, University Park and Gibraltar Heights (a development west of Bowman Road, south of Markham Street and extending farther south of Kanis Road), within the next two years.

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Saddle Creek Woodfired Grill, in the Lakewood Village Shopping Center, 2703 Lakewood Village Drive, North Little Rock, has closed and the phone number, (501) 812-0883, has been disconnected.

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Sometimes it takes us awhile to catch up to transitions and this one happened under our radar: Chicago Philly's and Gyros, 3600 S. University Ave., Little Rock, closed July 31. Owner Fuad Fred Farah posted this Aug. 1 on Facebook: "Our dear customers, we have served your favorite food in this location for the past four and a half years, and sadly we have to make the decision ... that we have to close this location. We are looking into opening another location in west Little Rock area as soon as negotiations are finalized."

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The Root Cafe, 1500 S. Main St., Little Rock, recently completed a 300-square-foot patio expansion, says co-owner Jack Sundell, "bringing the patio an additional 8 feet toward Main Street (the roof will be extended over the next couple of weeks). In addition we added a new door on the Main Street facade to improve flow in and out of the building." Also expanding: The Root's catering operation, "everything from lunch sandwich platters, appetizers and finger foods to wedding buffets and sit-down dinners." The phone number is (501) 414-0423; the website, therootcafe.com; and the Facebook page, facebook.com/rootcafe.

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Chairs and tables were empty at Franke's Cafeteria during lunch in the Regions Bank building in downtown Little Rock Sept. 5, shortly after word surfaced of the cafeteria's closure. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Metthe
Chairs and tables were empty at Franke's Cafeteria during lunch in the Regions Bank building in downtown Little Rock Sept. 5, shortly after word surfaced of the cafeteria's closure. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Metthe

In case you missed the news last week, Franke's Cafeteria, which has been marking its centenary this year — C.A. Franke founded it as a doughnut shop on West Capitol Avenue in 1919 — has closed its location in the Regions Center Building at 400 W. Capitol. The subsidiary Sack It sandwich shop will remain open, at least for the time being, for breakfast and lunch; the Franke's at 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road in west Little Rock and the one in Conway, which opened in May in the former Dixie Cafe building at 1101 Fendley Drive, will continue to operate.

Owner Abraham Delgado, Franke's former general manager who bought the cafeteria mini-chain from the Franke family in August 2018, still has not responded to messages seeking comment. The decision by management to close apparently resulted in the midst of discussions with the bank building's property management on a proposed "refreshing" of the 9,000-square-foot cafeteria space had been ongoing in conjunction with a substantial renovation of first- and second-floor public and retail spaces.

The cafeteria opened its most recent downtown location in what was originally the new First National Bank building, subsequently the First Commercial and now Regions, in 1989. The Rodney Parham Road cafeteria, which continues to operate and serve the cafeteria's popular eggplant casserole, took over what had been Wyatt's Cafeteria in fall 1994.

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The opening of Dickey's Barbecue Pit is still awaiting some parts for the smoker ventilation system, but franchisee Lonnie Shere is expecting to open next week at 9401 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, previously a Starbucks. But if you're driving by you can see the 1941 Chevy pickup, from which he has removed the bed and put a table, on the front patio. The phone number is (501) 223-3425.

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Hurts Donut Co. is putting on a Totally '80s Fun Run, 8 a.m.-noon Saturday in Little Rock's MacArthur Park, 601 E. Ninth St., to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Walk, run or dance your way around the park to your favorite '80s tunes; there will be doughnuts, free T-shirts for participants, prizes for the best costume and a dance party at the finish. It costs $35 to register ($25 for youths); visit hurts5k.com/little-rock-ar.html.

The North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce hosts "A Taste for Business," its annual food, beverage and business networking event, 5-7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 on the concourse level of North Little Rock's Verizon Arena. More than 30 member restaurants and caterers will supply "tastes"; nonfood chamber member businesses and nonprofits will also showcase their products, services and attractions. Register to win tickets to Verizon Arena concerts and shows and a "Night Out in Argenta" package; raffle tickets are $10, three for $25. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door; proceeds support the chamber's educational programs and fund scholarships. Call (501) 372-5959, email nlrchamber@nlrchamber.org or visit nlrchamber.org.

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And Graffiti's Italian Restaurant, 7811 Cantrell Road, is marking its 35th anniversary with a party, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 10 with current owners Armando and Sarah Bolanos, Carlos Valdivieso and Ana Lara honoring the restaurant's "founding fathers" including Paul Bash, Denis Seyer, Louis Petit, Ed Moore, Patrick Dayer, David Jones and Paul McGee. Out front, the event will feature performances from Arkansas Circus Arts and other family-friendly entertainment; dinner will be served at 6:30 with a "family-friendly buffet" available in the party room. Parking is available at the Regions Bank building across the street. Bash, Moore, Seyer and Petit, who comprised Continental Cuisine, opened Graffiti's in October 1984; they sold it to McGee, who had been the restaurant's front-of-house manager, and Dayer in 1997. Dayer and Jones subsequently sold it to the Bolanos and their La Terraza Rum & Lounge partners Valdivieso and Lara in 2017. The phone number is (501) 224-9079.

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 09/12/2019

Print Headline: RESTAURANTS: New U.S. Pizzas; Saladworks in west LR; Dickey's Barbecue Pit

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