Photographs by Democrat-Gazette file photo
Saturday is the last day of operation for Zin Urban Wine & Beer Bar (shown, sans customers, in 2011) in Little Rock’s River Market District. The newer west Little Rock location will remain open.
Originally published June 28, 2018 at 04:30a.m., updated June 28, 2018 at 01:08p.m.
The Applebee's Grill & Bar location at 4333 Warden Road, North Little Rock, which opened in 1993, closed last week -- its last day was June 19 -- and a call to the phone number, (501) 791-3300, produces this recorded message: "This restaurant is closed. For nearby locations, please visit our website at aggrestaurants.com." That's the site for Raleigh, N.C.-based Apple Gold Group, which holds Applebee's franchisees in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas, and still lists it among four Arkansas locations. The others: 12110 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock -- (501) 954-8444; 17348 Interstate 30, Benton -- (501) 778-4114; and 4426 Central Ave., Hot Springs -- (501) 525-2774. So, by the way, does the chain's website, applebees.com, which also lists locations in El Dorado, West Memphis and Fort Smith; those are operating either as corporate-owned or under different franchises, says Jessica Blair, a marketing manager for the Apple Gold Group. The group's chief operating officer, Elizabeth McGee, would not cite a specific reason for the closure, noting only that "as with any brand with a large, national footprint, from time to time locations are closed. Restaurant closures occur for many reasons, ranging from changes in trade area to lease and franchise agreement expirations." (Whatever that means.) And she said all the employees at the North Little Rock restaurant were being given the opportunity to transfer to the one in west Little Rock.
Plenty of downtown Little Rock restaurant activity this week:
• Saturday will be the last day for the original downtown Zin Urban Wine & Beer Bar, 300 River Market Ave., Little Rock. "We will be celebrating the past 8 years of Zin this Friday night from 6 until 8 p.m.," says Monday's post on the Facebook page, facebook.com/zinwinebarlr. "We invite all of our past and present customers to come by and help us celebrate and say goodbye." The phone number there: (501) 246-4876. Zin Wine Bar-West, which in July will mark its first anniversary in the Market Place Shopping Center at 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, will remain open; hours are 4-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 4-11 p.m. Thursday, 4 p.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 904-6988.
• Flint Fanoy, owner of Flint's Just Like Mom's Home Cooking, in the ground-floor space in the Union Plaza Building, West Capitol Avenue and Louisiana Street, Little Rock (formerly Sufficient Grounds Cafe), is wrapping up construction this week and entering soft-opening mode, including getting his staff used to the kitchen equipment and the space, with a goal of a grand opening to the public July 9. He'll be serving breakfast weekdays 6:45-10:15 a.m. and lunch from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; his grill and fryer will stay open until 5 p.m. for catering, so you can drop by until then and snag a burger or some chicken wings but you won't get full service. Fanoy also plans to start a $1-per-pancake campaign to support United Cerebral Palsy of Arkansas, with a goal of selling 1,000 pancakes a week. The phone number is (501) 502-0100.
• TAE opened Monday on schedule in the Hotel Frederica (formerly the Legacy and, of course, the Hotel Sam Peck), 625 W. Capitol Ave., Little Rock. Justin Patterson, formerly of Southern Gourmasian, is now cooking more Southern and less Asian -- the restaurant and lounge, initially open for lunch only, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., but eventually for dinner 5-9 or 10 p.m. daily, is serving up "Southern comfort-type food with a contemporary twist," including the gluten-free, vegan Power Ninety Two salad, "named after a local radio station" (field greens, Brussels sprouts, carrot, apple, edamame and avocado); a Calling the Hog barbecue pork sandwich on a brioche bun; the Arkansas Hot Tamale in a bowl; "Arkansas Toothpicks" (smoked country-fried spare ribs); and meatloaf. The restaurant now has three entrances -- from the hotel parking lot, directly from the lobby and from the first-floor hallway. The phone number is (501) 301-0892.
• July 5 is now the new target -- all other things being equal -- for the opening of Ira Mittelman's long-awaited, eponymous Ira's, 311 Main St., Little Rock, after some last-minute construction and permit problems. The bar will open at 4 p.m., with kitchen service starting at 5 Monday-Saturday (closing hours will depend on the volume of business), with fairly short-run plans to add lunch service. The phone number is (501) 902-4911; the website: irasrestaurant.com.
• The Capital Hotel, 111 W. Markham St., Little Rock, will offer "A Toast to Our Independence," 6 p.m. Wednesday on the mezzanine level. Following a complimentary "birthday" toast, guests can graze through chef Andre Poirot's "small bites" menu "of all-American summertime favorites." Wine and cocktail service will be available until 8:30 p.m. Cost, $47, includes tax, gratuity and valet parking. Call (501) 374-7474 or visit tinyurl.com/CapitalFourth.
• You may have missed the report last week that the Little Rock Board of Adjustment has been considering a proposal to move the downtown Little Rock McDonald's restaurant from its current location, 701 Broadway, a block north and on the opposite side of Broadway, on what is now the parking lot at 515 W. Sixth St., next door to the Goodyear Auto Service Center. A property representative is seeking six variances for the restaurant, including the allowance of a drive-thru along the building's south side that would be visible from the street. The menu board would face South Arch Street. Other variances involve the planting of trees, a ground-mounted sign and parking along all four sides of the property. The site plan for the 5,100-square-foot building shows it would be set back from Broadway to allow for "better flow around the site to keep traffic moving." The current Broadway location opened in December 1986.
• Meanwhile, the Capitol Zoning District Commission issued a certificate of appropriateness Friday for an as-yet-unnamed New Orleans-style cafe and sandwich shop that will feature po'boys, burgers, fried foods, coffee and beignets at 2415 S. Broadway, where its neighbors will include a Dollar General store and the main outlet of Sims BBQ. The certificate did attach several conditions for the restaurant, including that it close at 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends; while it can offer music, it cannot have a disc jockey and the music can't be loud; and alcoholic beverage service will be limited to beer, wine and daiquiris.
The Happy Egg, formerly B-Side, in the Market Place Shopping Center, 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road, is once again closed "temporarily." Owners Barbara and Tom Fuge didn't supply any additional details by deadline. The phone number is (501) 716-2700.
Owner-chef Matt Fuller has applied for liquor permit for his 501 Prime, 215 E. Grand Ave., Hot Springs, and that 30-60 day process, along with things such as final finishes, controls the planned opening date for the long-in-the-works restaurant-slash-oyster bar-slash whiskey bar. Though not yet perhaps open to the public at that point, Fuller expects now to be in his kitchen "end of July, first of August," testing out menu items and so on. Meanwhile, keep watching the Facebook page, facebook.com/501prime; the restaurant does have a phone number, (501) 623-0202, and a website, 501prime.com.
And speaking of Hot Springs: Construction has started on Gateway Food Park, which will have hook-ups for five or six food trucks, at 420 Malvern Ave. There will also be a restroom and a pavilion, the Sentinel-Record reports. Stephen and Eddie Inman-Crawley, who own Lox Salon across the street, started the project about a year ago. Stephen Inman-Crawley says, their vision is "for this to be more a venue gathering spot than just a lot with trucks -- a family and pet-friendly hot spot." They hope to have things up and running within 30 to 60 days.
And still speaking of Hot Springs, Minneapolis-based food delivery operation Bite Squad on Monday started offering pick up and delivery service from more than two dozen Spa City restaurants, including BubbaLu's Bodacious Burgers & Classy Dogs, Trejo's Mexican Restaurant, On the Border, Beano's Pizza, Cotija Mexican Restaurant, The Blitzed Pig Bar and Grill, Ai Sushi & Grill, San Francisco Bread Co., Rod's Pizza Cellar, Brick House Grill, Stubby's BBQ, Taste of India, Sams Pizza Pub, Bleu Monkey Grill, Purple Cow and Salsa's Mexican Restaurant & Cantina. For delivery within a seven-mile radius of the "participating restaurant partner," order -- 11 a.m-10 p.m. daily -- via the Bite Squad app or the website, bitesquad.com. Delivery fees start at $2.99; through Sept. 25, new Hot Springs customers can get free delivery (up to $10 off booking fee) using the code WELCOMEHS at checkout. (Small print: "No cash value. Not valid towards tax or tip. One per household. Cannot be combined with any other offer or discount.")
Venezia's Italian Kitchen, 2009 N. Thompson St., Springdale, has closed; the phone number, (479) 419-9499, has been disconnected and is "not in service." And no, inquiring reader, we don't know why, nor do we now whether it has closed for good or might be moving.
And speaking of Northwest Arkansas, expect the doors of Local Lime Rogers, 2103 S. Promenade Blvd., Rogers, to open in "late summer." The phone number is (501) 258-7744.
And the seventh Arkansas Cornbread Festival will occupy several blocks of Little Rock's Main Street south of Interstate 630, centering on Bernice Garden, 1401 Main, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 27. As in past years, competing professional and amateurs will supply samples of cornbread to guests, who vote to determine who makes the best cornbread and complementing side item. Cooking teams of individuals and restaurant chefs will also compete for cash prizes and judges' ribbons. Neighborhood businesses, food trucks and area breweries will be open with specials and there will be musical acts, arts-and-crafts vendors and a kids corner. Advance tickets, $8, go on sale Aug. 20; they'll be $10 at the gate. Proceeds support community-improvement projects in the SoMa area. Entry, sponsor and vendor forms are available at arkansascornbreadfestival.com. Visit the Facebook page, facebook.com/ArkansasCornbreadFestival.
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