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RESTAURANT TRANSITIONS: Baja Grill owners see new eatery; Benton cocktail bar sets February opening

by Eric E. Harrison | November 11, 2021 at 6:53 a.m.
Loblolly Creamery

Baja Grill owners Craig Roe and Heather Baber-Roe, who recently bought Benton's Valhalla Restaurant & Axe Throwing — now renamed Valhalla: Kitchen + Bar — are working on a February target to open ROBER: Cocktails + Culinary, 302 W. South St., Benton. Yes, that's next-door to the Benton location of Baja Grill and Valhalla, both in the The Palace, a renovated movie theater. According to its website (, ROBER will feature "thoughtfully created cocktails, an open-view charcuterie bar, rotating chef dinners and a tasting menu created by our proprietors." Hours are to be 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday with a 4-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday happy hour. The Facebook page is

We've finally been able to confirm the closure of Dockside Bar & Grill, 11321 W. Markham St., Little Rock, in a strip center that also includes a Papa John's and a Wingstop. The phone number, (501) 379-9367, is "out of service," i.e., disconnected. It opened in April in what had previously been Markham Street Grill and Pub.

Also apparently closed: The Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen at 11401 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, which, according to one reader, lost substantial business because the heavy construction in and around the Cantrell-Interstate 430 intersection cut off access to its drive-thru.

Look for the reopening "around Dec. 18" of Charlee's Good Time Drinkery, formerly in the Prospect Building, 1501 N. University Ave., Little Rock, in the former Damgoode Pies River Market location, 500 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock. Since the one-time private club is shedding its open-until-5 a.m. license in making the move, expect the new place, with an expanded menu, TVs, stage for music and a possible weekend brunch, to operate 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily.

Loblolly Creamery has taken over the operations of Just Ice Cream, 115 N. Market St., Benton. Hours are 1-7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 1-8 p.m. Wednesday, 1-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 430-1558; the Facebook page is and Loblolly's website is

Kohana Asian Restaurant is the new name of what previously had been Naru Asian Restaurant, 605 Salem Road, Conway, as posted Nov. 4 on Facebook (now The website has also changed, to, where you can check out menu changes and order online. Hours are 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. The phone number remains (501) 499-6919.

Seis Puentes Education and Resource Center, Casa Digna and Frederick Gentry are holding a "Boozy Brunch Fundraiser," 10:30 a.m Saturday at 1612 Commerce St., Little Rock, "a featured home on Quapaw 2021 Tour of Homes." The lineup includes bloody Marys, mimosas, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, quiche, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, fruit and yogurt, juice and coffee; minimum suggested donation is $25 per person. Call (805) 704-5547 or email for reservations.

We're in the process of compiling our list of places that are open on Thanksgiving or will be offering meals or meal components for pickup, to run Nov. 18 and on the day itself, Nov. 25. If your establishment fits that description and you would like to be on that list, send us an email — — by Monday. And thanks in advance.

And speaking of holidays, we've gotten one addition to our very short list (this year) of chain restaurants marking Veterans Day (today) with special deals:

◼️ Dickey's Barbecue Pit is giving a free pulled pork sandwich to veterans who use the code VETFREE. Plus, through Dec. 31, Barbecue at Home by Dickey's is taking 15% off all orders for veterans when they use the code VETERAN15.

◼️ Wayback Burgers is donating 10% of all online sales that day to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which, according to a news release, "honors the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller, who laid down his life to save others on Sept. 11, 2001."

◼️ On the Border is offering veterans a Free Pick 2 Combo.

◼️ And Bonefish Grill says it's offering a Heroes Discount of 10% off "for all service members, veterans and first responders' checks all day, every day with show of valid ID."

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:


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