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RESTAURANT TRANSITIONS: Memphis’ City Silo set for Little Rock site; repair work slated for fire-felled Sims

by Eric E. Harrison | March 10, 2022 at 6:57 a.m.
Memphis' City Silo Table + Pantry plans to open its first Arkansas outlet in the former Pei Wei in the Promenade at Chenal, 17701 Chenal Parkway. (Democrat-Gazette file photo)

City Silo Table + Pantry, which has two locations (and one in the works) in Memphis, will open its first Arkansas outlet in the former Pei Wei in the Promenade at Chenal, 17701 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, in partnership with Nashville, Tenn.-based Fresh Hospitality (Michael Bodner, chairman and partner) and the Keets — father James and sons Tommy and Jake.

The restaurant occupies half of a free-standing building that has also housed a mattress store; the new restaurant will occupy 3,600 square feet plus a patio, reports Arkansas Business, and employ 30-35 people; target to open is first quarter of 2023. The space has been vacant since the Pei Wei outlet closed in August 2018.

A visit to the website,, explains that "owners Rebekah and Scott Tashie have been hanging out since grade school, way before most of us had ever heard of tempeh or #sustainability" and that their "signature approach to conscious comfort food" strives for "a happy medium between eating trendy, healthy food that doesn't fill you up and heavy Southern, nap-inducing meals."

Scott Tashie says he and his wife have been frequent visitors to Little Rock, "and we fell in love with the city and its people; they've been so warm and welcoming, and we knew we wanted to locate our first store outside our hometown there."

The menu, spanning the needs of "vegan, vegetarian or an omnivore," will be the same one they're offering at the two Memphis locations; it includes all-day, upscale breakfast (including a Greek yogurt bowl and dishes made with tempeh and with dairy-free cheese options), small plates, salads ("Kale Caesar!"), acai bowls, a la carte tacos, burgers, sandwiches, coffee concoctions, juice concoctions, smoothies and kombucha cocktails.

And speaking of the Promenade at Chenal, we now do have a target tentative opening date — April 7 — for Sullivan's Steakhouse, which has taken over the free-standing steakhouse space, 17707 Chenal Parkway, that once housed Del Frisco's Grille.

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From time to time we get inquiries as to what's going on with the Sims Bar-B-Que at 7601 Geyer Springs Road, Little Rock, badly damaged by a fire in May; the most recent query came after a correspondent noted some activity on the site. Now we have a clue: Vinita Settlers has pulled a building permit for the 2,800-square-foot building seeking to do $375,000 worth of work, including, according to the permit application (the punctuation is ours), "remove and replace roof, rebuild smokehouse, add drive-thru window, replace and upgrade electrical work, replace and upgrade plumbing work, replace whole HVAC system, remodel dining room and kitchen, repave parking lot — fire rehab."

Meanwhile, that list of building permits also includes one for The Oyster Bar, 3003 W. Markham St., for $120,000 to "open south wall, with doors; add store front (retail) with access to deck; and add boardwalk for entrance to restaurant from parking lot."

Small Central Arkansas brewery StudDuck Beers is staging a tap takeover at Mockingbird Bar & Tacos, 1220 Main St., Little Rock, 5-9 p.m. today, with three of its products on tap: the flagship beverage, Harbor Water, a hard sweet tea; Dick's IPA; and Cherry Tree English Ale. The restaurant will make its full menu available for pairing. StudDuck founder and head brewer Brad Bassett and representatives from Prestonrose Farm & Brewing Co. will be on hand to meet patrons and talk beer. Oh, and Mockingbird is now open for weekend brunch, 10 a.m. Saturday-Sunday. (501) 944-8500,,,

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The University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Taste of Little Rock, a fundraiser for the UALR Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, will return, 6-8 p.m. March 29 at the Jack Stephens Center at UALR, 2801 S. University Ave., Little Rock. Dr. Sara Tariq, associate dean for student affairs in the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, will be the honoree. Nearly two dozen Central Arkansas restaurants, retailers and caterers — including CBR'z Catering, Community Bakery, The Faded Rose, Fassler Hall, Ocean's at Arthur's, Rock N' Roll Sushi, Sauce(d), Scallions, Shake's Frozen Custard, Smackey's, The Croissanterie, Trio's, Cantina Laredo, Cheers in the Heights, The Oyster Bar, Samantha's, Cocoa Belle Chocolates, Doe's Eat Place, Graffiti's, LaTerraza Rum and Lounge, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Patti Cakes — will serve small bites, drinks and/or desserts. General admission tickets are $75, $35 for UALR alumni who have graduated within the last five years. Tickets and more information available at

Youth Home Inc., a private nonprofit mental health provider, is fusing two former fundraisers, Eggshibition and The Next Course, into "An Eggs-Quisite Evening," a five-course dinner with wine pairings, April 7, also at the Jack Stephens Center at UALR. A 5:30 p.m. VIP reception precedes dinner service at 6:30. Shane Henderson, executive chef at Ben E. Keith Foods Mid-South in North Little Rock, heads a corps of culinary professionals — he and Kennedy Cotton, executive chef at Heritage Catering, will handle the first course; second course will be the work of Sammy Rudd, kitchen manager at Four Quarter Bar, and Cody Rudd, food services director at Fox Ridge; Patrick Carter, executive chef, and Jordan Baker, food and beverage director, at Chenal Country Club will tackle the third course; the fourth-coursers will be Jay McAfee, chef at Ben E. Keith Foods, and Jamie McAfee, executive chef at Pine Bluff Country Club; and Beth Morris, baker, and Brayan McFadden, chef, respectively, at Brood & Barley, will provide dessert. Each chef is offering private dining packages as part of a "live" auction. Henderson will be auctioning off his "Tailored to Your Tastes" dinner, hosted in the Ben E. Keith test kitchen. (501) 821-5500;

Cypress Social, 7103 Cock of the Walk Lane, North Little Rock, will host a Smoke Wagon Whiskey Dinner, 6 p.m. May 18, pairing a prix-fixe menu with Smoke Wagon bourbons from Nevada H&C Distilling Co. Master Distiller Aaron Chepenik will be on hand. Cost per person is $100 (not including tax and gratuity). Make reservations by calling (501) 916-2670.

And high schools across the country are eligible to apply for $5,000 grants from the Rachael Ray Foundation to improve or kick off their ProStart programs. The foundation provides grants for up to 25 ProStart schools or schools with culinary arts programs that are looking to become a ProStart school. Deadline to submit applications is March 31. Visit

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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