Wicked Taco Factory, in the Pyramid Building, 221 W. Second St., Little Rock, once a Subway outlet, opened Monday. It's a storefront incarnation of the Grills on Wheels Mexican food truck, which is usually parked in front of Frances Flower Shop, 1222 W. Capitol Ave., Little Rock. The menu features street tacos, quesadillas, burritos, carne asada fries, tortas, nachos, tortilla soup and a Bacon Ranch "Nathan's" Hot Dog ("a deep-fried bacon-wrapped dog drizzled with ranch and topped with onions and pickled jalapenos"). Hours are 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The phone number is (501) 914-9613; the website (and now also the website for the food truck) is wickedtacos.com, and the Facebook page is facebook.com/wickedtf2020. The food truck phone number is (501) 291-3350.
The Hangout Grill & Bar, 10840 Maumelle Blvd., on the North Little Rock side of Maumelle, is now open. Hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m Sunday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 904-6911.
Red Door, 3701 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, has reopened for indoor, patio and to-go dining, including 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sunday brunch. Hours are 4:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Much of the original menu is back — see it at the website, reddoorrestaurant.net. The phone number is (501) 666-8482 — call after noon, please.
Soul-food/home-cooking haven David Family Kitchen, 2301 Broadway, Little Rock, has reopened, lunch and takeout only for the time being and with a limited menu. Hours are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 371-0141.
And Flint's Just Like Mom's has reopened, including the dining room, in the bank building at 124 W. Capitol Ave. at Louisiana Street, Little Rock, with a limited menu and covid-19 guidelines in effect. Hours are 6:45 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday. The phone (501) 502-0100; the Facebook page is facebook.com/FlintsFood.
The Root Cafe, 1500 S. Main St., Little Rock, has reopened for outdoor dining, on the patio and in the courtyard, moving the front counter onto the patio for an order-at-the-counter service similar to how they handled breakfast and lunch pre-pandemic. Yes, you will still need to wear a mask for patio and courtyard access. They're continuing their pickup, farm-to-table grocery and online ordering available through the website, therootcafe.com. Hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday (breakfast available until 11 a.m., lunch menu available 11 a.m.-8 p.m., dinner plates available 5-8 p.m. Call (501) 414-0423; the Facebook page is facebook.com/rootcafe. And they're also now offering a farm-to-table grocery subscription through the website app.barn2door.com/e/QV4XR. Sign up for a recurring subscription basket or get individual retail items or bundles for single pickup, noon-3 p.m. Saturday and 3-6 p.m. Sunday. Vendors include Arkansas Natural Produce, Rabbit Ridge Farms, War Eagle Mill, White River Creamery and Airship Coffee; also available are all the Root's made-in-house items including curry chicken salad, pimento cheese, spiced pecans, and house vinaigrette dressing.
Owner Gracie Soto says continuing setbacks, including inspection and permitting concerns, have pushed back the target date again to mid-October for the opening of Restaurant Bar Mar y Tierra, in the eastern half of the brick building at 1900 W. Third St., Little Rock. The menu, as the name indicates, will consist primarily of steak and seafood; tentative hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Soto has said she's planning to have music, including Latin karaoke, on the weekends. The space has housed many eating and drinking establishments, the latest of which was Satchemo's Bar and Grill; previous occupants include, not necessarily in this order, Twelve Modern Lounge, Star Bar, Cove Ultra Lounge, Special T's Sub's & Catering, Mr. Nelson's BBQ, Blues & Entertainment and The Italian Couple. The west half, currently vacant, formerly housed Warehouse Liquor.
Stone's Throw Brewing has extended its hours at both locations: "MacPark," 402 E. Ninth St., Little Rock, 4-8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday, 2-10 p.m. Saturday, 2-9 p.m. Sunday — call (501) 244-9154; and Stifft Station, 3015 W. Markham St., Little Rock, 4-8 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday, 2-10 p.m. Saturday, 2-9 p.m. Sunday — call (501) 379-8663.
Conway-based Tacos 4 Life is adding four new menu items, including a Fajita Chicken Taco (grilled chicken, sauteed onions and peppers, guacamole, sour cream, a Cheddar-jack cheese blend and pico de gallo on a soft flour tortilla), Korean BBQ Bowl (cumin-scented rice, cabbage and "yum-yum sauce," topped with Korean barbecue steak and wonton strips), Chicken Bacon Ranch Quesadilla (grilled chicken, Cheddar-jack cheese, house-made queso, poblano ranch dressing and bacon) and a Tropical Bowl (cilantro pesto rice, grilled chicken, mango, pico de gallo, pineapple, fresh jalapenos, pumpkin seeds and cilantro citrus vinaigrette).
Changes are coming to Bob's Grill, 1112 Oak St., Conway, as it reopens, according to a Sept. 9 Facebook post (tinyurl.com/yxcpsqlocq): "There is going to be a new owner, lots of new employees, and there will be some changes, but we're doing our best to keep most things the same. ... We don't have an exact date yet but are hoping to open either next week or the week after (as long as everything flows together like we're hoping it will)." The phone number will likely remain (501) 329-9760.
And a nationwide restaurant impact survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association turned up these results for Arkansas:
◼️ 85% of Arkansas restaurant operators say their total dollar sales volume in August was lower than it was in August 2019, with overall sales on average down 34%.
◼️ However, costs didn't fall proportionally — 55% say their restaurant's total operational costs (as a percent of sales) are higher than they were prior to the covid-19 outbreak and only 29% say their costs are lower.
◼️ With on-premises dining capacity limited, 73% say off-premises sales currently represent a higher proportion of their total business than it did before the covid-19 outbreak.
◼️ 55% say they don't expect their restaurant's sales to return to pre-coronavirus levels within the next six months; 41% say it is unlikely their restaurant will still be in business six months from now, either if business conditions continue at current levels or if there are no additional federal government relief packages.
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. Send email to: