This post was originally going to be all about the next SoMa Second Thursday Food Truck event on April 11, and there's certainly a lot of fun things going on there at the Bernice Garden. Returning favorites Clyde-n-Kiddos BBQ, Green Cuisine Vegetarian, Santa Lucia Pizzeria, and Sugar Shack Sweets will all be present to fill your stomachs, and Conway's Green Cuisine Deli will be making their first SoMa appearance alongside kBird Thai and the Le Pops ice lolly cart.
Something at the end of the press release changed the focus of this post however, as Chef Jeffrey Palsa of The Food Truck has announced that the event will be the last he will do with his faithful truck, Preston. While Palsa hopes to continue his culinary pursuits, he will be doing it from someplace other than the belly of his food truck. The restaurant business is a hard one, and the food truck business can be even more so, with the truck owner generally doing all the prep, cooking, serving, and business paperwork involved in running a food business.
On a personal note, I've gotten to know Jeffrey quite well over the past couple of years, and I've found him to be one of the kindest, most generous people I've ever met — a genuine good soul if ever there was one. Jeffrey has fed the hungry for free when he himself was struggling to pay the bills, he's donated his time and skills to any number of local events, and he's been a vocal advocate for our food trucks, local growers, and our ongoing attempts at revitalization in many of our older neighborhoods. His culinary skills are without question some of the most inventive and refined that I've ever had the pleasure to sample, and this summer won't be nearly as manageable without cup after cup of his sustaining gazpacho.
Jeffrey is one of the best friends I've made in Little Rock, in Arkansas, and in life. From all of us at Eat Arkansas, and from me personally: good luck, Chef, we love you and we wish you all the best.
A few weeks ago, we reported that the notorious Hot Dog Mike, the wonder of wieners, is pulling out of Arkansas and shipping off to Jersey to help run the family business. Mike's been around for five years and has been a central Arkansas favorite the entire time. While we Arkansans watch him go with heavy hearts and empty stomachs, it's reasonable to think that Mike is at least slightly pained to leave the Natural State...I mean, why else would he do something like this? If you've been stalking Mike's Twitter feed, you probably know that Mike has been bombarded by fans wanting to know if he's gone yet. Well, not yet...but he will be soon.
Today, The Promenade at Chenal is announcing that Mike's last day slingin' dogs will be this Saturday, Feb. 2 from 11am to 2pm, all part of Mike's "Until We Eat Again" tour. Mike will be parked outside of Just Dogs! Gourmet store at the Promenade. The day will also include live music as well as the Humane Society's mobile adoption unit, helping find homes for adorable little animals.
Hot dogs, music, and cute puppies? Wait...it gets better. The first 100 fans will get free hot dogs, so you'd better get there early. Lastly, Little Rock's newest culinary free agent, Donnie Ferneau, who recently announced his departure from Rocket 21 will be helping dish out dogs alongside Mike throughout the day.
Hat tip to Eat Arkansas commenter Mordy who brings us the news via Facebook that Redbone's Downtown is closing down. From their page:
To all of our family, friends, loyal customers and one-timers we want to say thank you. Unfortunately, we have fallen upon hard times and must close our doors. We will remain open, regular business hours, through Sunday. We hope to see you there. Again, thank you all and God bless.
The restaurant opened in the River Market during the summer of 2011 and served a menu of Cajun and Creole inspired dishes that I thought were simply fantastic — especially that macaroni and cheese dish I've pictured with this post. The restaurant was also one of the first places I reviewed here on Eat Arkansas, and while it's not the first place I've reviewed that has shut down, it's still a sad thing whenever a place I've enjoyed and written about closes the doors.
Redbone's was a tasty addition to the culinary landscape both of the River Market, and I'll miss washing down their spicy etouffee with a cold Abita Amber. Best wishes to all who brought their delicious creations to our downtown area, and I hope the transition is a good one for everybody.
UPDATE: While it appears that the original post from Facebook I quoted has been taken down, I spoke with someone at Redbone's who confirmed that Sunday will be the last day.
UPDATE II: A new post from the Redbone's Facebook page includes the following: "...this week we were presented with an opportunity to bring a well-known regional brand to Arkansas beginning with the Little Rock location." I'm trying to get somebody to tell me who it is — and to see if the rumors circulating down there in the comments section are true. Stay tuned.
Just seven month after Stephanie and Cameron Phillips opened SBiPs in the bottom of the Quapaw Tower condominiums, the American French fusion restaurant is calling it quits. "We weren't able to bring in the downtown lunch crowd that we expected, there are high business taxes, particularly on businesses that sell alcohol. And with this economy, people just aren't eating out," Stephanie Phillips said. "It was our first time [opening a restaurant], and we feel good about what we've done." Beginning at 4 p.m. tomorrow, SBiPs will host its closing celebration — which includes happy hour drink prices all night long.
Stephanie had never worked in the restaurant business before, and she held onto her job at FIS Global, even as she helped with the restaurant. As a 30 year veteran in the restaurant industry, Cameron handled the business side of SBiP's. "Our spirits are not crushed, and we're going out with a bang," said Stephanie, "but I don't know if we have the heart to open another restaurant. It's a tough business." Tomorrow's celebration will feature some of SBiP's standard menu items (at standard menu prices) and a host of specials that have been well received. Escargot, feta and spinach Stuffed 'Shrooms, Prime Rib and Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo will be among the offerings.
SBips is located inside Quapaw Tower at 700 E 9th St Ste -1e
So that dining update I wrote on Amruth about a week ago? Instantly obsolete. According to Sahil Hameerani, owner of Curry in a Hurry, he walked into Amruth two days ago and offered to buy the place. He had no idea if the owners, Ramesh and Sudha Veluvolu, had even considered selling. Lucky for Hameerani, they were willing to consider quickly. "Mr. Veluvolu said it was becoming too much work for his wife to do everything, all the cooking," said Hameerani.
For several weeks, Hameerani had been scouting a new location for Curry in a Hurry, which he opened in November as an offshoot to a convenience store on North Little Rock's Pike Avenue. "It wasn't the kind of location someone could go on a date," he said. Hameerani had concerns about Pike Avenue from the beginning. He had chosen the locale because extended family owned the convenience store, but he'd tried to shield diners from what he considered a seedy neighborhood by pushing take out and offering private dining with thick curtains.
Currently, Hameerani is renovating Amruth, which is closed for lunch but still open as Amruth (with the Amruth menu) for dinner, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Hameerani's father, who cooked for Curry in a Hurry, is running the kitchen alongside Sudha Veluvolu — a situation that may be temporary or permanent. According to Hameerani, the sale happened so quickly that he hasn't had time to work out details. He knows he wants to retain Curry in a Hurry's name and use Curry in a Hurry's menu as a base. "But we want to expand on the menu, because we have a much bigger kitchen and a bigger dining space," he said. He plans to feature plenty of ghee-free, vegan options on his expanded menu.
Hameerani also wants to change the Amruth dining room —"New paint, new tables, new everything," he said. "Maybe something in light purple or orange, Indian colors." He'd like to keep up the take out element of the business, while offering a lunch buffet and evening fine dining. His goal is to have the old Amruth operating as the new Curry in a Hurry by February 15. Hours will be 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. lunch, and 5 p.m. -10 p.m. dinner, seven days a week.
But it’s not the end for the folks running the place. Owner Daniel Bryant says look forward to Harry and Jorge’s, another Mexican joint which will open in the space March 1st of the coming year. Bryant says in the announcement: “During lunch H & J's will continue the tradition of providing very good Mexican food quickly, but now with an added element of full-service that will create a comfortable environment more conducive to night time dining.”
Goof - send me your email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel - better than Cordell's? If so I'd love the recipe.
Fat Bottom Cup Cakes, here is your Joseph Holland from Dallas, seems he is an…
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