Miles James has left Ella’s Restaurant at the Inn at Carnall Hall in Fayetteville (on the University of Arkansas campus) and has returned to running James at the Mill full time. His brother, Lyle James, was head chef at Ella’s and has also returned to James at the Mill.
Matt Dufour, who was working under the Jameses, is now head chef of Ella’s, with Nash Humphries moving into the sous chef role.
The menu still includes most of the entrees that have been featured since Ella’s opened in 2003, including the popular Razor steak. The subtle changes will be found in the side items and some of the appetizers, which now include a spinach-artichoke dip and a coconut tempura-fried shrimp dish. The pizza menu has been cut from 10 choices to five.
Ella’s is at Arkansas Avenue and Maple Street and the phone number is 479-582-1400. It’s open round the clock on weekdays and for brunch and dinner on weekends.
Apple Spice Junction is a new deli/sandwich franchise in the new shopping center in the 1800 block of University Avenue in Little Rock across from the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. It’s open Monday through Friday for lunch.
PIG ‘N CHIK This has turned into one of our favorite barbecue joints. For $9.99 we pig out on the Dinner Sampler’s barbecued beef, ribs, sausage and three sides with Texas toast. The catfish, hamburgers, salads and daily specials have satisfied the rest in our group, but we can’t give up the ’cue. Newer, trendy items include low-carb versions of barbecue sauce, bread, buns and ice cream. And they suggest substituting low-carb fried pork rinds for french fries. And on the other extreme is the four-pound Sarge Burger (named after the only person to manage the “eat it in 30 minutes and it’s free”) on a one-pound bun. Service is fast and friendly. Call in and pick up at the take-out window. Check out the menu at www.pignchik.com. 7824 Hwy 107, Sherwood, 834-5456. LD Mon.-Sat. $-$$ CC Beer and wine.
HOLLY’S COUNTRY KITCHEN Our readers voted Holly’s as a runner-up in the home-cooking category, and so we hit the road to Conway to try it out. We thought we arrived early, but a line was already forming outside. Once inside we lined up at the cafeteria-style serving line. A meat, two veggies and a yeast roll or cornbread for $5.25 gets you a plate full of home-style food like Little Rock’s famed Homer’s and Kitchen Express. Tender roast beef, smoked ham, chicken fried steak, fried chicken, turnip greens with big hunks of ham for flavor, pinto and navy beans with the same hunks of ham, fresh fried okra (not from the freezer bag), and about 20 or so items. Add a slice of fresh made-from-scratch pie to round it all out, or buy a whole one to go. If you have any complaints, which we’re sure will be rare, tell Holly. She’s the lady at the cash register. 120 Harkrider St., 328-9738. L Mon.-Fri. $-$$ CC.
It may sound mom and pop, but Apple Spice Junction is a modern box lunch catering place specializing in sandwiches, soups and salads and that has a sit-down luncheon trade in its storefront on 2000 University Ave., /more/
#StandUp4LR, the grassroots group organized to regain local control of the Little Rock School District, now run by the state has issued a statement today critical of Superintendent Michael Poore's budget process for next year, particularly insufficient community input. It also recommends a moratorium on new charter school seats in Little Rock because of the damaging impact that has on the School District.
After the success of the Main Street Food Truck Festival last year, the Downtown Little Rock Partnership is organizing a regular event, Main Street Food Truck Fridays, scheduled to kick off Friday, April 13.