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New hands on Lulav

Lewis Curtis is the new executive chef at Lulav, and Heather Keeton has returned to the restaurant she left in January to serve as sous chef to Curtis. Also, the modern eatery is now know as the V Lounge at Lulav, but eventually will be known just as the V Lounge, Keeton said.

The changes took place in the wake of chef James Botwright selling his interest and leaving Lulav a few weeks ago. Keeton was the general manager at Lulav before leaving in January. Matt Lile and Russell Smith remain co-owners of the restaurant, and Curtis said he was looking at investing in the restaurant as well.

Curtis has been with Lulav since its inception, in which it was designed to be a kosher-style restaurant, though Botwright steered it away from the kosher description not long after opening.

Now, the V Lounge will have a different menu and a wider focus, both Curtis and Keeton said. “We’ll still be Mediterranean, but with an ethnic blend,” Keeton said. “We’ll be doing more middle-American dishes, too. There will be a little bit of Caribbean, Spanish and Mediterranean. We’re going global.” Look for such new menu items as seared scallops with pineapple blackberry habanera sauce and coconut shrimp (or jumbo prawns) with a mango chili sauce and grilled pineapple.

The restaurant will have happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and a reverse happy hour from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Keeton said the V Lounge will begin to offer more live music.

Tony Roma’s A Place for Ribs in West Little Rock has closed and will become home to Jerry Barakat’s Gaucho’s Grill, a Brazilian-style churrascaria, which is moving from Rahling Road, just off Chenal Parkway.



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