Restaurant Transitions: District Fare, Heights Corner Market look to open this month; La Hacienda weeks away


Photographs by Democrat-Gazette file photo

Donnie Ferneau Jr. was the winner of the 2016 Arkansas Diamond Chef competition at the UA-Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute.

Tomas Bohm, who brought you The Pantry and Hillcrest's Pantry Crest, says he's still angling to get District Fare (briefly known as Hillcrest Market & Nosh) up and running by the end of March, replacing former Hillcrest Artisan Meats at 2807 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock. He has applied for a craft wine and beer license, which he hopes to have in place sometime in April (meaning he'll be operating for at least a couple of weeks without it). The physical remodeling, he says, is "about 98 percent done" (part of it involved removing a wall that segregated the restaurant from an entranceway it shared with a next-door neighbor; all the equipment and the furniture--seating and/or standing for about 30 -- is in place, as is his general manager, Gary Dillon; he's still in the process of hiring and training staff. Once he's operating, you'll find made-in-house sausages and pecan-smoked bacon among the meats and cheeses (and yes, he'll offer the Pantry/Pantry Crest's charcuterie board), and some small store of grocery items, plus grab-and-go and dine-in salads, soups and entrees. We're told District Fare will also be the go-to place for Arkansas Fresh bread and rolls. Hours will be 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday. The phone number: (501) 671-6328 (MEAT).

Target date for the opening of the Heights Corner Market, 5018 Kavanaugh Blvd., ​Little Rock, is now March 24. You will recall Eric Herget bought the business, formerly Terry's Finer Foods, as Lex and Ellen Golden were closing it a few weeks ago. According to the website, heightscornermarket.com, they'll focus on "local and Arkansas brands -- we support as many as possible," with organic beef, pork and seafood and steamed seafood to-go; organic produce, wine and local beer and "pre-prepared meals (even large ones!)." And they'll deliver. Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 663-4152.

An early Wednesday morning fire of as-yet-by-deadline unknown cause charred Little Rock's only remaining -- for the moment -- KFC, 100 Markham Park Drive, near the intersection of Markham Street and Bowman Road. Meanwhile, one of our eagle-eyed correspondents alerted us that 5015 S. University Ave., Little Rock, the site of the former University Car Wash (and before that several auto dealers), is apparently soon to be the corporate headquarters of Bullocks Kentucky Fried Chicken Inc. and apparently also a KFC restaurant. Jessie Bullock is listed on LinkedIn as "owner at Bullock's KFC, Little Rock, Arkansas Area"; the late John Bullock of Bryant was a KFC franchisee for 50 years. A listed phone -- (501) 562-9210 -- for the KFC at that address is not yet a working number.

The target date for the reopening of La Hacienda, 3024 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, is still officially about a month off, but the building exterior appears to be complete, with a brand-new brick facade and a "hacienda"-style roof peak similar to the original in Hot Springs.

Monday is National Ravioli Day, and the Bravo Cucina Italiana chain, including the one in the Promenade at Chenal, 17809 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, is marking the occasion with a special buy-one, take-one home promotion "for select ravioli dishes ... while supplies last": their Chianti Braised Beef Ravioli ($14.99 at lunch, $16.99 at dinner) and Lobster Ravioli Alla Vodka (also $14.99 at lunch, $18.99 at dinner). The phone number, for reservations or to-go orders: (501) 821-2485. Visit BravoItalian.com.

Seven Arkansas chefs will compete in the annual Diamond Chef Arkansas competition, 6-9 p.m. April 13 at University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College's Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute, 13000 Interstate 30, Little Rock. The competitors: Reigning Diamond Chef champion Donnie Ferneau Jr. of 1836; Casey Copeland of TheAvenue in Hot Springs; Scott Rains of Table28; Patrick Buchanan of YaYa'sEuroBistro; Mary Beth Ringgold of Cajun's Wharf, Capers and CopperGrill; Brandon Douglas of Green Leaf Grill; and Jimmy Carter, former executive chef at Verizon Arena. Dubbed "A Decade of Diamond Chef," the event will include theme food stations, wines from around the world and signature chef cocktails, silent and live auctions, heavy hors d'oeuvres prepared by culinary students and faculty and a new category: Diamond Chef in the Rough, sponsored by Hiland Dairy, an invitation-only cupcake-decorating competition for young chefs who have completed UA-Pulaski Tech's Youth Chef Camp. Tickets are $150. Call (501) 812-2771, email ghudson@pulaskitech.edu or visit pulaskitech.edu/diamondchef.

And Girl Scouts -- Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas is teaming up with central Arkansas restaurants and food vendors for Girl Scout Cookie Restaurant Week, wrapping up Saturday, which have created special desserts, and in some cases entrees, incorporating Girl Scout cookies. Many, if not all, of them are donating a portion of the proceeds of dessert sales to Girl Scouts. (Visit girlscoutsdiamonds.org.). Participants include:

• @ the Corner at the Little Rock foot of the Main Street bridge -- a whole special board of desserts, including Tagalong Mousse Cup and a Samoa Hot Cocoa

• Big Orange (Chenal Parkway and West Markham locations) -- Thin Mint Cookies and Cream Shake and Samoa Crush Shake

• Dinner's Ready Catering in Benton -- Lemon Chicken Piccata and Luscious Lemon Cupcake

• Izzy's Restaurant in west Little Rock -- Thin Mint Meltdown Milkshake

• Kilwins Little Rock in the River Market -- S'mores Cookie Fudge

• Lulu's Latin Rotisserie & Grill -- Choco-Samoa Flan

• Pizza Pie-Zazz in Heber Springs -- Thin Mint dessert

• The Pizzeria in Little Rock's Pulaski Heights -- Do-si-do Nutter Pie, Campfire S'mores Pie and Thin Mint Ball

• South on Main on Main Street in SoMa -- Banana Pudding Do-si-do Jar

• Table 28 in west Little Rock -- Lemoncello Sabayon (made with Savannah Smiles cookies)

• ZaZa Fine Salad & Wood Oven Pizza Co. in Little Rock and Conway -- Tagalong Gelato

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. Call (501) 399-3667 or (501) 378-3513, or send a note to Restaurants, Weekend Section, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, Ark. 72203. Send email to:


Weekend on 03/16/2017

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