Today's Paper Latest Coronavirus The Article iPad Core Values Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive Story ideas

RESTAURANT TRANSITIONS: Signs of life on 3rd Street — red wreath, cars outside; Cajun’s Wharf blaze; Istanbul shut, empty

by Eric E. Harrison | December 23, 2021 at 6:52 a.m.
The east side of Restaurant Bar Mar y Tierra Seafood & Grill, 1900 W. Third St., Little Rock, in early August: Vehicles have been parked outside recently and there’s now what appears to be a red-ribbon wreath on the door. (Democrat-Gazette file photo/Eric E. Harrison)

Could Restaurant Bar Mar y Tierra Seafood & Grill, 1900 W. Third St., Little Rock, finally be ready to open soon? We’ve seen signs of life: Vehicles parked there on several occasions in the past week or so, and what appears to be a red-ribbon wreath on the east-side door. You may recall that the restaurant was supposedly on the verge of a long-delayed opening in late July or early August, but for what a former manager told us was a chaotic situation among its then-owners that put a halt to any further developments. We left a message at what appears to still be the listed phone number: (501) 476-3336. And there’s still a website,, which we noted over the summer already carried a 5-star review — for a restaurant that had not yet started serving — from one Patti B, telling potential patrons, “Love to shop here. Outstanding folks work here!” The most recent posts on the Facebook page,, are from May.

An early Tuesday morning fire caused minor damage to the former Cajun’s Wharf, 2400 Cantrell Road, Little Rock; callers to the Little Rock Fire Department reported seeing smoke and flames on the rear roof of the structure shortly after 7 a.m., according to spokesperson Capt. Jason Weaver. It took firefighters less than an hour to extinguish the blaze, which appeared to have started on the back deck and gotten into the roof, Weaver says. He told our online crew the structure is under renovation and unoccupied at the time of the fire, but we don’t yet know just what it is being renovated into. The restaurant, which opened in 1975 as Anderson’s Cajun’s Wharf, closed in 2019; it spent several years as part of the Landry’s chain until former owner-chef Mary Beth Ringgold had “rescued” it. Late in 2019 we reported that a lease was near finalization with a Houston group for a restaurant-entertainment complex, but the pandemic appeared to have put a hold, if not the kibosh, on that.

  photo  Istanbul Mediterranean Restaurant in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center on Cantrell Road has closed. (Democrat-Gazette file photo/Helaine R. Williams)
 Helaine R. Williams 
Istanbul Mediterranean Restaurant, in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center, 11525 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, is “permanently closed,” according to Google; a reader reports “all of the restaurant equipment has been cleaned out and they have a for-lease sign in the window.” The domain name for their former website,, is listed as “for sale.” And we couldn’t even get a ring by calling the listed phone number, (501) 223-9332.

We’re told the Waffle House at 10319 Stagecoach Road, Little Rock, is on the verge of opening. A “we’re hiring” sign in the window lists a phone number — (501) 804-3463 — but we only got a voicemail box when we called.

■  ■  ■

And we’ve updated our admittedly limited list of places that will be open on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day. Our information comes from restaurants and some from various forms of social (and/or anti-social) media, so it may not be accurate.

We definitely recommend double-checking — we’re supplying contact details where we have them — before venturing out to avoid disappointments; most, if not all, of these places strongly recommend making reservations. And remember that we’re still in the midst of a pandemic, and situations are subject to change with very little notice.


◼️ Allsopp & Chapple Restaurant + Bar, 311 Main St., Little Rock, open normal hours (4-10 p.m.) on Christmas Eve. Reservations recommended. (501) 902-4911

◼️ Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse, 16100 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock: Three seatings, at 5, 7 and 9 p.m. (501) 821-1838

◼️ Capital Bar & Grill, Capital Hotel, 111 W. Markham St., Little Rock, (501) 374-7474, Four-course Christmas Eve dinner (Beau Soleil oysters, brasied short-rib ravioli, seared Chilean sea bass, Black Forest cake) in One Eleven at the Capital, seatings every half-hour from 5:30-8:30 p.m., $95, reservations only,

◼️ Doe’s Eat Place, 1023 W. Markham St., Little Rock: open Christmas Eve, 10 a.m.-midnight, for tamale-only pickups. (501) 376-1195

◼️ The Faded Rose, 1619 Rebasamen Park Road, Little Rock: open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. (501) 663-9734

◼️ Fassler Hall, 311 E. Capitol Ave., Little Rock: open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (501) 246-4757

◼️ Four Quarter Bar, 415 Main St., North Little Rock, open 3 p.m.-midnight. (501) 313-4704

◼️ Gadwall’s Grill, 7311 North Hills Blvd., Sherwood: open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Christmas Eve. (501) 834-1840

◼️ Guillermo’s Gourmet Coffee, Village at Pleasant Valley, 10700 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock. Open 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Christmas Eve. (501) 228-4448

◼️ Hungry Howie’s Pizza, 10300 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock. Open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Christmas Eve. (501) 500-9595

◼️ K Hall & Sons Produce, 1900 Wright Ave., Little Rock, open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Christmas Eve. (501) 372-1513

◼️ Milano’s Italian Grill, 6100 Stone Road (at Cantrell Road), Little Rock: open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. (501) 367-8255

◼️ Roma’s Italian Restaurant, 2126 N. First St., Jacksonville, open until 8 p.m. (501) 241-1632

◼️ The Root Cafe, 1500 Main St., Little Rock, (501) 414-0423, open until 2:30 p.m.

◼️ Sauce(d) Bar and Oven, 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock: open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Christmas Eve. (501) 353-1534

◼️ Star of India, 301 N. Shackleford Road, Little Rock: open 11 a.m.-2:45 p.m. and 5-10:30 p.m. (501) 227-9900

◼️ Stone’s Throw MacPark Brewpub, 402 E. Ninth St., Little Rock, open 4-10 p.m. Christmas Eve, with traditional “Christmas Eve Karaoke” singalong at 6 p.m. (501) 244-9154

◼️ YaYa’s Euro Bistro, Promenade at Chenal, 17711 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (reserve final seating at 7) Christmas Eve. (501) 821-1144


◼️ Black Bear Diner, 2724 Lakewood Village Drive, North Little Rock: 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, offering three-course holiday dinners or as Family Meals to Go — for Thanksgiving, it was prime rib, holiday ham or roasted turkey, with sides and dessert. (501) 812-0393

◼️ Capital Bar & Grill, Capital Hotel, 111 W. Markham St., Little Rock. Open 4-9 p.m., regular menu. (501) 374-7474,

◼️ Fantastic China, 1900 N. Grant St., Little Rock: open 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, (501) 663-8999

◼️ Taj Mahal, 1520 Market St., Little Rock, open 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 4-9:30 p.m. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (501) 520-4900


◼️ Denny’s, 24/7, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but it’s a good idea to check ahead.

◼️ Domino’s Pizza, hours may vary.

◼️ IHOP, usually open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; hours may vary.

◼️ McDonald’s, Christmas Eve for sure, but Christmas Day is not guaranteed; hours may vary.

◼️ Starbucks, some outlets will be open.

◼️ Waffle House, of course, is open 24/7/365, but in mid-pandemic, staffing problems could curtail hours.

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:

Print Headline: RESTAURANT TRANSITIONS: Signs of life on 3rd Street; Cajun’s Wharf blaze; Istanbul shut, empty


Sponsor Content