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story.lead_photo.caption Only the drive-thru will be open at most Chick-fil-A outlets, including the one on Markham Street just west of University Avenue. (Democrat-Gazette file photo)

NOTE: Below is the Restaurant Transitions column that ran in Thursday's editions. Click here for an updating version featuring new restaurant closings and changes as they develop »

Several states and municipalities have closed bars and restaurants to reduce the potential spread of the covid-19 virus. In Little Rock, Mayor Frank Scott on Monday said he cannot mandate closure of the city's bars and restaurants but has implemented a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew.

Also, the mayor said he is canceling any meeting or event with more than 50 people in attendance, as the Centers for Disease Control now recommends.

Meanwhile, area restaurants have been taking to social media to announce plans and strategies, all professing that the safety and well-being of guests, employees and community is paramount.

Here's a small sampling, in alphabetical order. We recommend calling ahead to any restaurant you plan to visit in the coming weeks to make sure you're not facing a locked door.

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage »]

• Earlier in the crisis, on March 2, Arkansas Heart Hospital limited visitors to its main building at 1701 S. Shackleford Road, Little Rock, to patients or family members of patients, which means folks can no longer just drop into the Arkansas Heart Hospital Cafe in the lobby for ramen and other items.

• Arthur's Prime Steakhouse, 16100 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, posted Sunday, "As of tonight, we are very happy to bring all your orders to go to your car with all safety measures in consideration." And, "We are implementing the SIX FEET distancing rule between tables and seating to try to keep everyone healthy and safe. We are keeping our main dining room seating to a maximum of six people per table. We have 6-7 private rooms for larger groups" and, "until further date, we are waiving all room charges."

• Yellow Rocket Concepts, the group behind Big Orange Midtown, Big Orange Rogers, Big Orange West Little Rock, Heights Taco & Tamale Co., Local Lime Little Rock, Local Lime Rogers, Lost Forty, ZAZA Conway and ZAZA Little Rock, is suspending the option to dine in at all of its restaurants. Take-away, curbside and delivery through BiteSquad will take its place. Although interactions between patrons and restaurant staff will be limited, staff will be paid indefinitely, the eateries said in Facebook posts.

• A Facebook post from Bruno's Little Italy, 310 Main St., Little Rock, says that in addition to "disinfecting/sanitizing all surfaces and table tops after each use, practicing repeated hand-washing as well as social distancing, all condiment containers (salt and pepper, grated cheese, etc.) are only brought to the table by request and removed to be re-sanitized when you are done. Hand sanitizer is available at the host desk and [in] the bathrooms." There is now a designated parking place at the front door for to-go pickup and management is considering once again using delivery services, which it once did but stopped after a long string of problems.

• Restaurants in the Chick-fil-A chain have closed their dining rooms, according to an announcement on its website (, "to help limit person-to-person contact. Some of our restaurants may only offer service through our drive-throughs, while others may be able to offer takeout, delivery or mobile order options."

• Scallions, 5110 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, posted March 12 on its Facebook page that it is now offering delivery service. "Of course, our standard menu items will be available as well as our grab-and-go goodies such as chicken salad, cheese soup, chicken Caesar salad and others. ... Delivery will be offered free of charge in the neighborhood and a small delivery fee may apply to other parts of town. And as always, custom meal preparation service will remain available for those who wish to have us prepare their family dinners."

• Trio's, 8201 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, has started a local delivery service to proximate neighborhoods, after 11 a.m., charging a flat $10 delivery fee for each order; place orders by phone — (501) 221-3330 — 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. for lunch and after 3:30 p.m. dinner, with delivery 5:30-8 p.m. For the time being, you'll have to pay by credit card when you call or "your friendly Trio's employee delivery driver will also have a card swiper."

Drive-thru windows will be a primary source of restaurant commerce during the covid-19 health crisis.

(AP file photo)
Drive-thru windows will be a primary source of restaurant commerce during the covid-19 health crisis. (AP file photo)


Little Rock-based Yellow Rocket Concepts this fall will open Bentonville Taco & Tamale Co. on the Bentonville Square, 101 W. Central Ave., Bentonville. The 5,600 square-foot space will seat approximately 145 with a full bar, general dining and private dining spaces. Creative Director Amber Brewer defines it as "a Northwest Arkansas iteration of Heights Taco & Tamale Co.," on Kavanaugh Boulevard in Little Rock's Pulaski Heights, which Yellow Rocket opened in 2015.

And while we're in Northwest Arkansas, the 2020 BITE NW Arkansas festival, June 19-20, is moving to downtown Rogers — North First Street, between East Cedar Street and East Walnut Street as part of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by Proctor & Gamble. Night One showcases the region's top restaurants and brands; Night Two celebrates craft burgers, snacks and libations from local chefs and brew masters. Tickets are $30. Visit

The University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College Foundation and the UA-PTC Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute, noting that "the health and safety of the community, chefs, sponsors, attendees and colleagues is our top priority," have postponed the 13th annual Diamond Chef Arkansas competition, originally scheduled for April 23, to Oct. 15. Visit

Cherokee Village's second annual Arkansas Pie Festival, scheduled for April 18, has been postponed to a date to be determined. Visit

And the James Beard Foundation has postponed its Restaurant & Chef Awards, originally scheduled for May 4 in Chicago, due to the health crisis. That's important because Little Rock'sLassis Inn is due to be honored as one of the six recipients of the foundation's 2020 America's Classics Award. Rafael Rios of Yeyo's Mexican Grill in Bentonville is one of 20 semifinalists for Best Chef: South (encompassing Alabama, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi).

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 03/19/2020

Print Headline: Restaurants tout cleanliness, offer delivery, pickup


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