Restaurant Transitions: Dairy Queen in Little Rock opens this week; Arkansas Burger Co. may be closed for good


Photographs by Eric E. Harrison

The former Garden Bistro on North Hills Boulevard in North Little Rock is now The Lakewood Lounge, serving predominantly seafood — including grilled red snapper.

It's official: Friday is firm for the grand opening of the DQ Grill & Chill, 6100 W. 12th St., Little Rock. That's according to franchisee Blake Lively and the Facebook page (tinyurl.com/y7dtrvpb). The first 100 people to buy a cake will get one free Blizzard a week for an entire year. Operating hours are 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, although Lively says they may close the lobby an hour ahead of that and operate only through the drive-through. The phone number is (501) 661-8171.

The latest Whole Hog Cafe outlet, in the former Main Cheese/Sai Gon/Gina's Sushi space at 14524 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, missed its Friday target opening date; Chief Financial Officer Chris Maines says it's now set to open today, "come hell or high water." Operating hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. The phone number is (501) 673-3000.

We just found out, but sometime in mid-June, Eric Greer and Kyle Ray Dismang, flush with the success of their North Bar, 3812 John F. Kennedy Blvd. in North Little Rock's Lakehill Shopping Center, converted their other place, the Garden Bistro on the ground floor of Lakewood House, 4801 North Hills Blvd., North Little Rock, into The Lakewood Lounge. What had previously been a fairly sedate ex-tea room is now a snappy sports bar/seafood joint. The menu offers four daily fish (north walleye, Gulf grouper, red snapper and Arctic salmon, available grilled, blackened, Southern corn-dusted or buttermilk battered); a variety of grilled or fried seafood baskets (catfish, oysters, shrimp, crab claws, alligator and shrimp fajitas); and seafood tacos, sandwiches, soups and salads. Meanwhile, we're told that what had been Garden Bistro's Sunday brunch has moved to North Bar. Lakewood Lounge hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The phone number remains (501) 758-4299.

We reported several weeks ago that Arkansas Burger Co., 7410 Cantrell Road, had closed, supposedly temporarily, for what a handwritten note on the door described as a "health emergency." Now we're getting reports from residents of the neighboring Tanglewood and Leawood areas who say they're getting word via the Nextdoor social media app that indicates that the closure is permanent. So far, the phone -- (501) 663-0600 -- hasn't been disconnected but we're still getting only the same voicemail message we've been hearing for weeks, listing the restaurant hours.

The week of Sept. 18 is now the target for the opening of the first John Daly's Steakhouse, 912 Front St., just north of Toad Suck Square in downtown Conway. Hours, once it's up and running, will be 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. daily for lunch and reopening for dinner at 4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday. And there is now a working phone number: (501) 358-6998.

The Downtown Little Rock Partnership will bring back Main Street Food Truck Fridays starting this week, 10:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in "Capitol Plaza" (northwest corner of Main Street and Capitol Avenue, Little Rock). Four or five food trucks will vend a variety of comestibles Fridays through Oct. 27, except for Oct. 6 -- not surprising, considering the 2017 Main Street Food Truck Festival takes place the following day, Oct. 7. You can find out in advance what trucks will be serving what at mainstreetfoodtrucks.com and at facebook.com/mainstreetfoodtruckfestival.

Construction problems have held up the opening of Cinnamon Creme Bakery, a 1,770-square-foot operation from the owners of Country Village Oven Bakery, a two-decades-old, family-owned bakery in Star City. Originally expected to debut in mid-September at the Centre at Chenal shopping center, 17200 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, co-owner Crystal Cooper says the new target will be late September but admits that's pretty optimistic. The menu will to some degree resemble that of the pioneer location, which has operated for 21 years, more or less out of sight on a Lincoln County back road -- made-from-scratch breads, pies and cakes (including a cinnamon raisin pull-apart bread with icing, a white chocolate caramel pie and an assortment of fried pies, including coconut creme and blackberry). Operating hours will be 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 821-0002.

Paxton's Pizza has added a Bryant location, 5920 Arkansas 5. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The phone number: (501) 455-4242.

Food, Libations & Conversations -- Conviviality Not Formality, "a distinctly Southern family-style dinner paired with wines selected by Jonathan Looney" of O'Looney's Wine & Liquor, 6:30 p.m. today at the Capital Hotel, 111 W. Markham St., Little Rock. Cost is $93, including tax and gratuity, but not 4:30 Happy Hour in the One Eleven lobby bar. Visit tinyurl.com/caplibations.

Sept. 25 marks nine years since the opening of Arkansas' first Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe on Cantrell Road, and local owners Jim, Tommy and Jake Keet are celebrating with a month of festivities, including a giveaway of "Free Taziki's for a Year": Enter through Sept. 24 via the Taziki's Facebook page or at tinyurl.com/y8y9s3m8 for a chance to win a free entree per day for a year. The winner will be announced on Sept. 25. The Keets now have seven Arkansas locations and two in Tulsa, with plans to add another Oklahoma outlet by the end of the year.

The University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute will hold its annual Chef Ball on Sunday -- 5 p.m. cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, 6 p.m. dinner -- at the college's southwest Little Rock campus, 13000 Interstate 30, Little Rock. The dinner will feature the work of 16 chefs, mostly instructors at or graduates of the institute (or both). Tickets are $250; call (501) 812-2861 or email tgold@pulaskitech.edu.

Little Rock chef Donnie Ferneau Jr. and his Southern Frenchie food truck team -- his wife, Meaghan, and sous chef Amanda Ivy -- survived Sunday's Episode 3 of the Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race in Tuscaloosa, Ala., still in the running for a $50,000 top prize to fund a "dream" food truck business. Episode 4 takes them to Nashville, Tenn.

Conway-based mini-chain Tacos 4 Life expects to open later this fall a 3,800-square-foot restaurant at 2929 Parkwood Road, Jonesboro. Also due this fall: outlets in Springdale (6400 W. Sunset Ave.) and Frisco, Texas.

Construction is nearing completion and a fall target opening is expected for The Vault, 723 Central Ave., Hot Springs, with a dining room in the former vault of a former bank building in which, we're told by locals, is the one Al Capone kept his money in. Co-owners are Jason Taylor and Daron Praetzel; the chef is Mike Easley, formerly of Cache, Maddie's Place and 1620 and the general manager is Randy Womack, formerly of Central Park Fusion.

And the Jewish Federation of Arkansas is giving the Jewish Food and Cultural Festival a year off, scheduling the next one for April 14, 2019. In the meanwhile, the federation's Board of Directors will "review and strengthen the festival and bring you an incredible event in two years," federation Director Marianne Tettlebaum says in a recent email blast. They'll also send out an online survey in the next couple of months.

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 09/07/2017

Log in to comment