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RESTAURANT TRANSITIONS: Steakhouse to fill niche on Chenal; Sufficient Grounds resurrected in west Little Rock

by Eric E. Harrison | October 21, 2021 at 6:53 a.m.
Sullivan’s Steakhouse has an early 2022 target to open in the former Del Frisco’s Grille space in the Promenade at Chenal. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Newmark Moses Tucker Partners)

The Denver-based Sullivan's Steakhouse chain will open its first Arkansas location in "early 2022" at The Promenade at Chenal, 17707 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock. It's going into the free-standing steakhouse space that has been vacant since the June 2018 closure of Del Frisco's Grille.

The leasing team at Newmark Moses Tucker Partners — Chris Monroe, Greyson Skokos and George Friedmann — says they expect the build-out to take about six months, which would put the target opening into the second quarter of 2022, perhaps April or May.

According to a news release, "the new restaurant will be completely reimagined with Sullivan's classic, timeless design," with 9,100 square feet, including main and private dining areas and "[an] expansive indoor bar [that] will serve as the backdrop for live jazz music." The leasing team says conversion plans include enclosing a patio.

The menu will feature hand-cut and bone-in steaks, chicken and seafood dishes and a range of signature appetizers and signature cocktails, including the "Knock Out Martini inspired by the steakhouse's namesake, boxer John Sullivan," according to the news release.

A little trip down Google lane reveals that, according to the online industry website restaurantbusinessonline.com, the Del Frisco's Restaurant Group Inc. sold what was then its Sullivan's Steakhouse chain to Romano's Macaroni Grill in a $32 million deal in 2018.

According to the news release, it is now part of Dividend Restaurant Group, which has 13 other Sullivan's outlets across the country — Indianapolis; Anchorage, Alaska; Baton Rouge; Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; the Philadelphia suburb of King of Prussia, Pa.; Leawood, Kan.; Napierville, Ill.; Omaha, Neb; Palm Desert, Calif.; Tucson, Ariz.; Wilmington, Del.; and Pittsburgh. A restaurant in Baltimore is, according to the website SullivansSteakhouse.com, "temporarily closed."

The new steakhouse now fills a niche that didn't exist a couple of weeks ago — we reported last week that the former Bone's Chophouse, across the parkway at 27 Rahling Circle, would not be reopening, either under its original name nor as JB ChopHouse, and that the space is now for lease.

A resurrected Sufficient Grounds opened Monday inside Floral Express, 11601 W. Markham St., Little Rock, just east of Bowman Road. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison)
A resurrected Sufficient Grounds opened Monday inside Floral Express, 11601 W. Markham St., Little Rock, just east of Bowman Road. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison)

Owner Eric Tinner has resurrected former coffee-et-al. shop Sufficient Grounds, which closed some time ago in the Union Plaza building, 124 W. Capitol Ave. in downtown Little Rock. It opened Monday inside Floral Express, another "refugee" from downtown, in a storefront at 11601 W. Markham St., Little Rock, just east of Bowman Road. The coffee shop operates 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, primarily with drive-thru service but there is seating available inside at a bar that could eventually be a service venue for coffee — and more. Floral Express' phone number is (501) 666-3196; daily coffee specials are showing up on the Facebook page, facebook.com/FloralExpressLR, and we're told the website, sufficientgroundscoffee.org, should be up and running by Friday.

The Market at Chenal, which a news release describes as "an immersive new experience that re-creates the feel of open-air village marketplaces in England, France or Italy," will open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 30-31 at 21 Rahling Circle, Little Rock. That's in the Village at Rahling Road, near the Thompson Public Library and U.S. Pizza — and, by the way, the former Bone's Chophouse. The market will sell fresh produce, bread and baked goods, canned and jarred products, gift baskets and "several iconic Arkansas foods," according to the release, and also feature food trucks, popcorn, doughnuts, coffee and other beverages. Also available for sale: fresh flowers and seasonal plants; there will be face-painting, games, performance art, how-to workshops, yoga classes, Disney princesses, street and mountain bike demos and a fire truck. A mobile health unit will provide flu shots and Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccines. A portion of the proceeds benefits Arkansas Foodbank, which will also be accepting food donations. Dogs are welcome. Organizer Roby Brock says it's a one-shot deal now, but if it's successful he and his sponsors will consider doing it again on a seasonal basis, perhaps a run of six weeks per. Call Brock at (501) 529-1737, email roby@talkbusiness.net or visit marketatchenal.com.

One of our eagle-eyed industry insiders tells us a Mexican restaurant, El Valle, is opening soon at the corner of Brookswood and Warden roads, Sherwood, and will incorporate an existing store, Tienda Mexicana El Valle, currently a few blocks away at 301 Brookswood. We couldn't get through at the store's phone number, (501) 834-1555, but we'll try to keep you posted.

The Helena Tavern, 233 Cherry St., Helena-West Helena, has been closed, temporarily, since owner John Cleary was struck by a car Oct. 7 outside the restaurant. Cleary was hospitalized with what the Helena World reports were injuries that were not life-threatening; an Oct. 7 post, the most recent, on the restaurant's Facebook page (facebook.com/HelenaTavern) reported that Cleary was "OK" and requested the loan of a wheelchair for about a month. We got no answer at the Tavern's listed phone number, (870) 228-1301; the website, helenatavern.com, has not been updated to reflect the closing.

Allsopp & Chapple Restaurant + Bar, 311 Main St., Little Rock, hosts a five-course wine dinner, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 4, featuring pairings of dishes from chef Bonner Cameron with selections from the Napa, Calif.-based Robert Mondavi Winery. Cost is $149; make reservations by calling (501) 902-4911 or at tinyurl.com/55nskdj5.

And nominations close at midnight on Oct. 31 for the 2022 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. Visit arkansasheritage.com/arkansas-food-hall-of-fame/nominate-now.

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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