The Little Greek Restaurant franchise, which says it offers Greek food with an American touch, is coming to Little Rock, taking over the site that housed Cheeburger Cheeburger in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center.
The Little Rock website for the franchise has links to menus in Florida, where the franchise started, and Texas. You got your lamb skewers, mousaka (as LGR spells it), gyros, hummus, etc. The Little Rock phone number hasn't been activated yet; we've left a call with the chain owner Nick Vojnovic to find out when the restaurant will open and who owns the franchise here. [See update below.]
The restaurant's Facebook page offered up the above photograph of spanakopita and Greek salad, which looks pretty good. Looks like a nice beet slice atop the salad.
UPDATE: That is indeed a beet on the top of the Greek salad, a salad that also includes two lettuces, pepperoncini, onions, bell pepper, olives, feta and a potato salad mixture with homemade dressing, company president Vojnovic says. The recipe comes from Greek cooking in Tarpon Springs, Fla., which has the largest Greek population of any American town, thanks to its 19th century sponge diving business.
Franchise holders are Thad and Michelle Waugh. They are hiring between 20 and 30 people for the new restaurant.
The restaurant owners hope to open in early July, Vojnovic said. He said the menu hasn't been formalized to add local tastes (like the Texas one, which includes a filet mignon skewer). The Little Rock restaurant will be the 14th in the chain.
Beer and cheese... Is there a combination more pleasing to the palate, more ambrosial than a fine craft beer and a piece of, say, aged gouda or maybe manchego? How about if you added a delicious slice of sausage to the mix? Now we're talking.
Three of mankind's greatest culinary achievements will be combined in just such a manner at A Pint, A Wedge, which takes place from 1-3 p.m., May 18 at Bernice Garden. The event is part of Craft Beer Week, and features beer from Arkansas Craft Distributors, cheese from Boulevard Bread Co. and sausage from Hillcrest Artisan Meats.
There will be live music from Judson and Josh Spillyards, Norman Williamson and Ryan Hitt. Tickets are $25 and you can purchase them at Boulevard's Heights location.
A peek at the company's website finds they have shish-kebabs (the SKK in the company name apparently stands for ShocKKabab), wraps, wings, gyros, pizzas, soft yogurt and sandwiches. Here's their full menu,. According to the website, the chain launched in 2011 and currently has 40 outlets. Looks like SKK Italy's primo U.S. location will be at 331 Weir Road in Russellville. No information yet on when they'll open.
The food looks surprisingly good in the video and photos on their website, especially the traditional Italian pizzas. Can't say much, though, for their corporate promotional video, which appears to be narrated by a Terminator which has almost mastered human speech.
SAMPLE: "Everything revolves around the green and orange! The machines are of the highest quality, and technologically advanced! Just look at kebab machines equipped with a system of protective glass, and fume hood!"
Hot Dog Mike — AKA Michael Juiliano — has started a fundraising campaign online to help pay for a new downtown storefront where he'll sell favorites from his mobile hot dog cart plus "featured specials that are hard to do on the cart." He also plans to offer delivery in a limited area. The familiar Hot Dog Mike carts will still be available for special events and catering gigs.
In a press release available at his website, Juiliano said the new Hot Dog Mike storefront will be "designed around the idea of bringing the cart indoors" while "keeping it simple, fun and face to face." Plans call for an open workspace area where diners can watch their dogs being made. He said he hopes moving indoors will help him get past some of the challenges of selling street food, including weather, parking, traffic, zoning restrictions, workspace and safety.
Juiliano is trying to raise $10,000 over the next 30 days to make his storefront a reality. The release says donations will be used to fund deposits, licensing, equipment, signage, supplies, and other hurdles that must be cleared before the first dog is sold. Created on April 29, Hot Dog Mike's gofundme.com site has raised $310 as of this writing.
Bart Barlogie (son of the famous oncologist of the same name) and business partner Wilson Brandt are aiming for May to open their new upscale Mexican restaurant in Riverdale. The restaurant is called The Folde — like a taco folds, like bringing your friends into the fold; Fold without the "e" seemed "harsh," Barlogie said — and it's located in a space that once housed an Alltel fleet service station at 3501 Old Cantrell Road. Barlogie and Brandt purchased the lot in 2010; Barlogie said resolving city code issues held up progress.
Botanas — small plates, or "snacks" — are the focus of the menu, designed by Sonya Cote, chef of Austin's Hillside Farmacy, which Brandt co-owns. Cote will serve as a consulting chef; she'll visit quarterly or so to update the menu, Barlogie said. Joshua Fulton, sous chef, will run the kitchen on a day to day basis. Both Cote and Fulton are big believers in local produce and protein, Barlogie said. Mezcal will be the focus of the bar. All juice used for mixers will be handsqueezed.
The main dining area, which will seat around 75, will be in the former garage bays. The garage doors will be up in nice weather. A patio out front will seat around 15.
Alan Garcia Gonzalez, owner of another trendy Austin restaurant, Papi Tino's, is serving as a consultant.
The Folde will partner with Eatiply, a social good start-up that donates a meal to someone in need every time a patron purchases a meal from an Eatiply-supported restaurant. Barlogie said Eatiply would donate meals through a hunger-relief organization designated by the The Folde. Restaurant management hasn't picked that group yet.
When the Cozymel's at 10 Shackleford Drive closed, rumors surfaced that the space had been purchased by Dallas-area chain Twin Peaks. A recent twitter exchange between Meggie Miller of the Twin Peaks training staff and Eat Arkansas confirms this rumor, although no official word was forthcoming other than a June opening and a promise of more information in April. The Twin Peaks website already has a page up for the West Little Rock store, however, with an address of...10 Shackleford Drive, which means that all the bros and lonely middle-aged men in town will no longer have to drive all the way to North Little Rock to gawk at the girls at Hooter's.
I admit, I was ignorant of this "Twin Peaks" place prior to the Twitter exchange — to me, "Twin Peaks" was an early 90s David Lynch show that briefly made Kyle MacLachlan famous and put the phrase "who killed Laura Palmer" into our national lexicon. Turns out that these days, the name is just another cutesy euphemism for the female anatomy, employing young women dressed up in skimpy tops and short shorts. This sort of thing is apparently rather popular down in Dallas, where Twin Peaks originates, earning it and other places like it the sobriquet "breastaurants," which really goes a long way in cementing my hereditary distrust of Texas. The irritating jackassery continues with the restaurant's motto: "Eats. Drinks. Scenic views." Oh, my sides.
But why get upset about it? Little Rock is no stranger to such things, from our seedy strip clubs to the school-girl themed outfits worn by the "Beer Goddesses" at the Flying Saucer. After all, nobody's forcing these women to work there, and if men are stupid enough to part with their hard-earned cash for a brief look at some skin while they stuff their faces with burgers and beer, so be it. At the same time, it's a bit disappointing that in my efforts to bring all of you news about what's new in Little Rock food, all I have to offer you today is a bit about a T and A theme park masquerading as a restaurant. But if "clever" T-shirts emblazoned with double-entendres is your thing (example: a deer head with the caption "Twin Peaks Rack Addict"), then I'm sure you're as happy as can be with this news.
And for those of you who just want to cut directly to the chase, I think the Paper Moon down on Mablevale Pike offers a daily buffet.
Driving by the old Backyard Burgers restaurant across from UAMS today, we noticed that the sign out front says it will be the location of Little Rock's first Slim Chickens, the tenders, wings and fries joint that was started in by three friends in Fayetteville in 2003. There are currently five Slim Chickens outlets in Arkansas, and another three in Oklahoma. Another store is in the works for Texarkana.
Gus's has been an
east west Tennessee staple for more than 50 years, long a destination sought out by foodies in Mason, Tenn., and more recently at outlets in Memphis. Last year, a Gus's franchise opened in Nashville.
Malloy said the food would be "exactly the same" as other outlets, that he expected to be open daily and he's hoping the restaurant will serve beer, but that a full bar is unlikely. Asked about a timeframe for opening, Malloy would only say "sooner rather than later."
Malloy was cagey about the make-up of the franchise ownership group, but as we reported earlier in the month, filings with the secretary of state show a Gus's Fried Chicken of Little Rock, later changed to City Fried, LLC. Officers include DGLR, an LLC that lists Daniel Bryant, who holds the lease to the building that will house Gus's and is a partner in a number of local restaurants and bars, as its only officer, and M&S Holdings of Arkansas, an LLC that includes Malloy and his wife Jennifer Malloy.
Malloy said this was his first restaurant to invest in, but within the partnership, "there's a wealth of experience in restaurants and restaurant analysis."
Malloy said he ate at the Memphis location for the first time two years ago, realized it was the best fried chicken he'd ever had and decided to work on bringing it to Arkansas.
I never know how I'm going to come across something delicious — that's part of the joys of this food writing gig. In my non-foodie life, I work for a local window and glass manufacturer, and it just so happened that a man by the name of Lynn A. Fowlkes stopped into our shop the other day looking for a serving window for a food truck he's building. My ears naturally perked up at the words "food truck," and I struck up a conversation with Fowlkes about what culinary delights he might be bringing to the Natural State from his former home base of Michigan.
It turns out that Fowlkes is a barbecue man, and since 2007 he's been developing his own line of gourmet sauces dubbed "My Uncle's Sauce" by his test-subject nieces. His base recipe is a concoction passed down through generations of his family, with tweaks made by Fowlkes along the way. The sauce comes in two varieties, Original and Hot, and being the spice fan that I am, I sampled a bottle of the hot variety. The verdict? It's really good sauce, mild and sweet on the tongue at first with a noticeable habanero kick on the back end that makes for a well-balanced flavor profile. Fowlkes is currently having his sauce bottled in Benton and hopes to be selling it retail within a few weeks.
Talking to the chef about his sauce, I was a bit skeptical when he said that he's had people tell him that they use it on everything from scrambled eggs to catfish, but after cooking up a meal that utilized the sauce in a pot of beans, some barbecue chicken, and even a dash in a batch of cole slaw, I have to say that I'm now a believer. Fowlkes hasn't decided if he wants to open up his food truck in Little Rock or in the Hot Springs area — and if his meat is as good as his sauce, I'm hoping he picks Little Rock. He's a friendly, passionate guy who is adamant about creating a great product, so I hope we see his sauce on shelves soon.
It's always exciting to see new handmade products hit the area, especially ones of such superior quality. Arkansans, like people in most barbecue loving states, are particular about their favorites, and I have a feeling that once Mr. Fowlkes gets established here, his sauce will be a welcome addition to the debate.
Lulav restaurant owner Matt Lile, the owner of Lulav restaurant, on his way today to pick up wine barrels in Texas for use in the restaurant’s lounge, described for the Times the new name, menu and look that Lulav will assume Feb. 6: It will be the Italian Kitchen at Lulav, featuring a menu of both Southern and Northern Italian dishes at price points a bit lower than Lulav’s Mediterranean menu.
The wine barrels are empty — they’ll be used as tables with butcher board blocks as tops — but the wine cellar will be full, featuring up to 25 Italian wines, Lile said. Diners will choose their wines at a large round wine table, which will layer the restaurant’s offerings in three tiers: $15, $25 and $35 wines. That way, Lile said, customers can inspect the labels before ordering. Lulav has already remodeled its kitchen and dining room and has commissioned three 3-by-8-foot paintings by artists at the Art Loft. Edison Bulbs — long slender bulbs with glowing filaments — will add to the rustic look of the lounge.
Appetizers and salads will run from $6 to $8 and entrees, which will include handmade pastas and “a fantastic lobster claw,” Lile said, will run $12 to $16. More special features: Flavored balsamics, such as espresso, mission fig and blueberry, will be available to top off the garlic oil served with the focaccia bread and hand-mixed Italian sodas will be available, either spiked, with ice cream or virgin. “It’s going to be a real simple, interesting menu that we think will allow a lot of diners to come enjoy Lulav,” Lile said.
Chef Matthew Cooper will remain in charge; he was trained in the art of making pasta at the Cordon Bleu in Portland, Ore., Lile said.
The Loft Lounge will remain open on the second floor of the historic building at 220 W. Sixth St., which was Draughon’s School of Business a half-century ago.
Rumors started floating in yesterday in the comment thread of our post yesterday on the imminent closure of Redbone's Downtown, but we can now confirm: Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken, a restaurant GQ once called one of the top five in the country, is opening an outlet in Little Rock.
Wendy McCrory, franchise owner of the downtown Memphis location, has confirmed the plan to Eat Arkansas's Michael Roberts. She said she wasn't ready to confirm the location, though all signs point to the soon-to-be-former Redbone's space in the River Market (a block away from Times HQ!).
Gus's Fried Chicken of Little Rock, LLC was incorporated in September of last year. Officers include DGLR, an LLC that lists Daniel Bryant, the property owner of the building that currently houses Redbone's, as its only officer, and M&S Holdings of Arkansas, an LLC that includes Carter Malloy, a research analyst at Stephens, and Jennifer Malloy. I've got calls into Bryant and Carter Malloy.
UPDATE: Malloy said he wasn't ready to confirm any details other than his involvement in trying to bring a Gus's to Little Rock.
Today is Mr. Dunderbak's soft opening, and this weekend marks the grand opening of the McCain Mall stalwart.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1973, Richard Davidson decided to open a restaurant in the style of the European sausage shops he'd frequented overseas. He named his shop after the German legend of Dunderbak the Butcher, who puts all the naughty boys and girls into the sausage machine — right up until the day that his wife puts Dunderbak in the sausage machine. If you make it out to Mr. Dunderbak's this weekend, the legend will be expounded in song, courtesy of a live polka band.
In it's first incarnation, Mr. Dunderbak's was well-loved for it's sausages, soft pretzels and cheese spreads. Davidson, 79, sold the restaurant in 1990, because he wanted to retire to Hot Springs Village and play golf. A decade later, the new owners closed shop, and everyone assumed that was the end of Mr. Dunderbak's. But in March 2009, North Little Rock native Scott Kauffman began a Facebook page for people who miss Mr. Dunderbak's. That page and its nearly 2,000 friends was the catalyst Davidson needed. His daughter, Laura Stanley, a UAMS researcher, begin to pressure him to reopen Mr. Dunderbak's.
But Stanley is vegetarian, so per her revisions, the new Mr. Dunderbak's, in addition to the cheese, pretzels and sausages for which it's known, will feature an astounding number of veggie and vegan options, including four veggie sausage sandwiches and an entire deli with all-veg sandwich "meat." Sausage buns will be custom-made by Little Rock's Silvek's European Bakery, with a gluten-free option from Dempsey Bakery.
Other additions will be a specialty coffee bar which will eventually offer wi-fi and a juice bar stocked with orangeade, limeade and lemonade. There'll be bottled beer, too.
Early on, there was a huge roadblock, when Davidson and his renovation plans met up with an unsavory contractor, who swindled over $30,000 and left little to show for it. The Attorney General's office has unsuccessfully tried to locate the contractor, and Davidson nearly second-guessed his plans. "It was very discouraging to lose that amount of money, but interest was increasing on Facebook, and my daughter was still interested," he said. Ultimately, his daughter plans to run Mr. Dunderbak's when she retires from UAMS, but that retirement is still years away.
Speaking of Egg Nog, Historic Arkansas Museum's eighth annual Nog-off is Friday from 5 till 8 p.m. The event is free, but nog samplers must show I.D. Capital Hotel bartender David Burnette, will be present, to defend his two-year strong title. Other competitors include Copper Grill, Le Pops, Loblolly Creamery, museum supporter Bridget Farris, Argenta Arts Foundation marketing manager Drue Patton and Historic Arkansas Museum director Bill Worthen. Worthen's recipe is an 185-year-old family secret, passed down for generations.
Winners of both People's Choice and Taster's Choice will be announced the following Monday. Kat Robinson, Phil Brandon of Rock Town Distillery and P. Allen Smith will serve as celebrity tasters.
In continuation of our Craft Beer Fest, on December 5 from 6 to 9 p.m., Schlafly Beer out of St. Louis will team up with the Arkansas Times to throw a pub crawl benefiting Argenta Arts Foundation. From 6 to 7 p.m., Schlafly's co-founder Dan Kopman will be at Cornerstone Deli and Pub, debuting a secret specialty beer. The next hour, from 7 to 8 p.m., Kopman will be at Reno's Argenta Cafe, and from 8 to 9 p.m., he'll be at Cregeen's Irish Pub. They'll be specialty and market beers at each stop. Kopman will talk about the specialty beers and be around to answer any questions, and people who show up at all three bars will be eligible for a free raffle to win Schalfly's gear — t-shirts, caps and even a personalized neon sign.
Schlafly's brews 50,000 barrels of beer a year — the equivalent of 650,000 cases. It's distributed in 12 states and the District of Columbia.
Matthew Bell, sous chef at Ashley’s at the Capital Hotel, will open the restaurant and bar South on Main in the Oxford American magazine’s venue of the same name at 1300 Main St. Bell will own the restaurant and bar and pay rent to the Oxford American, which will program the venue with an array of arts and culture. Barring construction delays, Bell and Oxford American publisher Warwick Sabin point to February as a target for opening.
Bell said he plans to follow the magazine’s lead in exploring the South with his menu.
“You don’t have to put a ton of research into knowing what food you’re going to do when you have something like the Oxford American that’s laid the groundwork. Not just its food issue, but also with the idea of looking at the whole South and realizing that it’s not all fried chicken and banjos. I want to take a look at the entire Southern experience and Southern culture.”
A native of Missoula, Mont., Bell, 33, trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, Texas, before moving to North Little Rock, his wife’s hometown, to intern at Ristorante Capeo. After spending time at Capeo and Argenta Seafood Co., Bell moved to the Capital Hotel, where he’s remained for the last four years. Since chef Lee Richardson left the hotel in June, Bell has run the kitchen in Ashley’s, setting lunch and dinner menus.
Bell and Sabin have long been friends. After the Oxford American announced that it had leased the South Main space, Bell invited Sabin to dinner to pitch him on his ideas for the restaurant component. “After about five minutes of talking, we knew we were exactly on the same page.”
“Refined Southern” is how Bell describes the South on Main menu.
“We named our LLC Home to Table because we want to take that vision of what people do at home and refine it and offer it in a casual setting with great service and really showcase that the South has always done so much with so little, whether it be whole animal butchery or whole vegetables.”
"'you're welcome to keep eating your greens and hoe cake while the rest of us…
Where is my popcorn?
though I have to say I did raise my eyebrows at the sour cream and…
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