RESTAURANT TRANSITIONS: Whataburger bound for Benton; Wicked Taco open, moved around corner

One of two Whataburger outlets in Fayetteville is at 1956 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (NWA Democrat-Gazette file photo)

Benton city officials have confirmed it. So has a representative for the chain. Whataburger will open its first Central Arkansas outlet at 7520 Alcoa Road in Benton. No word on an opening date.

From the Benton, Arkansas — Benton Proud Facebook page ( "Benton is happy to confirm that Whataburger is building on Alcoa next to the Bank OZK. Clearly no open date has been announced and construction is to begin some time soon."

From a Whataburger spokeswoman: "Whataburger is looking forward to serving fans in Benton soon, but we don't have any specific plans or details to share today."

The restaurant will occupy one third — the left third — of a small commercial strip center. Elrod Real Estate in Little Rock has posted a sign on the site that includes the Whataburger logo.

Whataburger currently has six restaurants in Arkansas — two in Fayetteville and one each in Magnolia, Rogers, Springdale and Texarkana — with outlets pending in Fort Smith and El Dorado.

  photo  Wicked Taco Factory has moved out of its Second Street storefront around the corner to a new space, facing Center Street, in the same building. (Democrat-Gazette file photo/Eric E. Harrison)
No, Little Rock's Wicked Taco Factory hasn't closed — about a month ago, it moved around the corner, from 221 W. Second St. to 215 Center St. Same building, different space. (This one most recently was occupied by Lea Lea's Gourmet Dogs, which is still in the process of eventually reopening at 3408 S. University Ave., Little Rock; previous occupants have included Three Fold Noodles & Dumpling Co., now on Main Street with a second outlet on Cantrell Road in west Little Rock; briefly, sushi place Hanaroo and Three Fold's temporary Haybird Chicken "pop-up"; and, although it never actually opened, Ira Mittelman's planned place called Savor, which the pandemic helped to scuttle.) Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday. (501) 914-9613,,

Let's Eat Y'all is now serving "Authentic Southern Soul Food" at 8801 Colonel Glenn Road, Little Rock, formerly the location of Chatz Smoked Meats and Catering. Hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. (501) 747-1165;

Brazilian restaurant Cafe Bossa Nova, 2701 Kavanaugh Blvd. Little Rock, was set to reopen Wednesday after what its Facebook page ( explained was "a much needed break" for its overworked team, with new hours: 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. (501) 614-6682,

The U.S. Pizza branch at 3324 Pike Ave. in North Little Rock's Levy neighborhood, is back to full hours — 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. (501) 758-5997;

The Skyline Cafe, 618 Mena St., Mena, at the base of the former "Skyline Trail" now known as the Talihena Scenic Drive, is celebrating its 100th year serving Mena with a two-day anniversary celebration Friday-Saturday with giveaways and characters from 1922. Find details at the Facebook page, (479) 394-5152.

Fidel & Co Coffee Roasters, 500 Shall Ave. in Little Rock's East Village, has a soft target date of Oct. 3 to open its second location, in partnership with Stoko, a pending co-working space at 610 President Clinton Ave. in the River Market District, the building that formerly housed Conway-based coffee shop Zeteo. Fidel & Co manager Eleanor Miller says the setup will be basically the same as the original location with perhaps a slightly smaller menu "on the food side of things." Hours are still to be determined. (501) 712-6891,,

  photo  The menu at MuleKick @ MAD, 101 E Locust St., El Dorado, includes the Molly Burger. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Dero Sanford)
The El Dorado Food Festival, today through Sept. 30, provides the opportunity to explore the town's eateries and to win prizes for doing so. Restaurants are offering coupons with specials and discounts through a special El Dorado Dining Guide section of the El Dorado Insider (a quarterly magazine that highlights people, places, events and other points of El Dorado interest), in conjunction with the El Dorado Advertising and Promotion Commission. Visit; access the Dining Guide at

And the Mid-America Science Museum, 500 Mid-America Blvd., Hot Springs, hosts the return of its "Taste of the Holidays" fundraiser, in person for the first time since 2019, 6-9 p.m. Nov. 17. Admission — $100 — includes samplings of cuisine and beverages from more than 20 Spa City area restaurants, breweries, bakeries, distilleries and caterers and a silent auction. For an additional $25, VIP attendees gain early access and reserved seating in the Hall of Wonder and a special presentation of wine and food pairings from Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort's the OAK Room, by Oaklawn's executive chef and sommelier, Ken Bredeson. (501) 767-3461;

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: