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RESTAURANT TRANSITIONS: Waffle shop eyes August for opening; late espresso maker holds up coffee spot

by Eric E. Harrison | July 15, 2021 at 7:01 a.m.
The Elvis Waffle at Press Waffle Co. features sliced bananas, peanut butter, honey and bacon crumble. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

Co-owner Mary Busby says she's now looking at a mid-August target for the opening of Little Rock's Press Waffle Co., 1424 Main St., in a new SoMa project, according to a spokeswoman for the budding Dallas-based mini-chain's franchise development. (Busby and daughter Rosemary Compton are also part of the family that owns the mini-chain.)

"We're pretty solid on that," Busby says. "There are a few more moving parts, and we want everything as ready as possible and to do it right rather than do it quick and sloppy."

Among the things holding up the opening, she says: the arrival, much of it covid-delayed, of the railing for the patio and some equipment.

The establishment will serve "fully customizable authentic Belgian waffles" (Liege waffles, actually, dough-based with a brioche-like texture and caramelized clusters of Belgian pearl sugar) and "savory waffle creations"; through local partnerships, locally roasted coffee (from a full espresso bar), ice cream and gourmet milkshakes; and, because they have an on-premises restaurant beer and wine permit, wine and locally produced beer.

Hours are tentative, depending on staffing and, subsequently, business volume, but Busby says they're looking at opening at 7 a.m. and staying open late, "8-9 p.m., most days of the week," closed on Mondays and possibly opening later and staying open later on weekends.

Meanwhile, visit presswaffleco.com/locations/soma.

Press Waffle started as a food truck in 2016 and since expanded to storefronts in Oklahoma City and in Plano, Waco and The Woodlands, Texas (another outlet, we're told, is in covid-constrained progress in St. Louis).

Meanwhile, Press Waffle's 1424 Main neighbor, Central Arkansas' first outlet of Atlanta-based Original Hot Dog Factory, has delayed its planned soft-open date, originally set for July 19, indefinitely, says owner-operator Devin Marcel. When it does open, hours will be 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 am.-midnight Friday-Sunday. Visit theoriginalhotdogfactory.com.

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And speaking of delays, a holdup in the delivery of their espresso machine has delayed the opening by a week — to Monday — of The Paranoid Android, the new coffee shop in the Little Rock Technology Park, 417 Main St., formerly Blue Sail. Soft opening target had been Monday. As we've reported, it's the third area coffee shop from Little Rock entrepreneur Creighton Ralls' company, Cleopatra. (The others are 2Twenty1 at Second and Center streets and Cleo's Corner, located inside the Arkansas Department of Commerce, 1 Commerce Way in Little Rock's Riverdale.) The coffee shop opening also marks the Tech Park's official reopening to the public. (It has been open to tenants during the pandemic, but public spaces haven't.) The shop will serve coffee, light breakfast and lunch options and pastries with possible eventual happy hour(s); hours are 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. We're still awaiting confirmation of the telephone number. Visit theparanoidandroid.co.

Meanwhile, we're not sure what's delaying the opening of Restaurant Bar Mar y Tierra Seafood & Grill, 1900 W. Third St., Little Rock, which had been expected to open Friday. Manager Edgar Torres had previously said he had been awaiting completion of paperwork on the business license and alcoholic beverage permit. Operating hours will be 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 476-3336. The website is restaurant-bar-mar-y-tierra-seafood-grill.business.site. And the Facebook page is facebook.com/MaryTierraLittleRockSeafoodandGrill.

A sign on the door of Milano's Italian Grill, 1800 Club Manor Drive, Maumelle, reinforces a recent Facebook post (facebook.com/MilanosMaumelleAr): "[W]e will be temporarily closing from June 28 to July 28 to attend a family event." There's a slight confusion as to just when service will resume — July 28, as per the Facebook page, or, as per the sign, July 29. The phone number is (501) 734-8027.

Taziki's is test-marketing a lamb burger at its Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas locations. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)
Taziki's is test-marketing a lamb burger at its Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas locations. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe restaurants in Little Rock, Fayetteville and Bentonville will be test markets for a new lamb burger (in partnership with the American Lamb Board), starting this week: two patties of ground lamb, topped with grilled peppers and onions, feta cheese and tzatziki on a grilled Kaiser bun, with chips and the choice of a side item. The other test markets: Nashville, Tenn.; Panama City, Fla.; and Birmingham, Ala. Customer response will help determine if the lamb burger will join Taziki's menu nationwide in 2022. Visit tazikis.com.

And in our nostra maxima culpa department, last week we left a day off the operating hours for The Root, 1500 Main St., Little Rock: The hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. The phone number is (501) 414-0423; the website is therootcafe.com.

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: eharrison@adgnewsroom.com

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