What's cooking/Capsule review 

Two longtime U.S. Pizza Co. employees, Lana Powers and Julie Mara, plan to open a U.S. Pizza franchise on 402 S. Louisiana St. in the former home of House of Philly Cheese Steak. Powers said U.S. Pizza Co. Salad Express will serve salads, sandwiches, soup and breadsticks, not pizza. The menu will mirror U.S. Pizza's offerings, with a few additions. The restaurant should open on or before May 1, Powers said.

U.S. Pizza owner Judy Waller said that she plans to grow the U.S. Pizza empire with franchises as well as stores she owns and operates. The long-indevelopment new U.S. Pizza location on Kavanaugh in Hillcrest should be ready within 20 to 30 days, she said. The interior is finished and all the equipment is in place. Once the parking lot is paved, the restaurant will be ready to open, Waller said.

Fat Boys Cafe has closed in downtown North Little Rock.

Capsule review

NEW: THE CROOKED HOOK All about catfish, shrimp, oysters, and crawfish tails. And to help out the non-aquatic ones in the party, there's some chicken filets, a pair of steaks and a few hamburgers and sandwiches. While our drink order was taken, we were served a small bowl of onion slices and another small bowl of the most addictive tomato relish we've ever had. The spicy relish is made up of large chunks of green tomatoes pickled in vinegar and other spices. Barely embarrassed, we asked for refills several times, asked for some with our take home leftovers and even bought a jar of the relish sold at the register. We relish the tomato relish! We also enjoyed our medium catch (seven piece) fried catfish dinner with hush puppies, slaw and pinto beans. The fried catfish was hot right out of the frier and meaty with a light batter coating. Usually we find hush puppies as an afterthought at other places, but here they were an excellent crunch, hot and made with a light sweet batter. But with all this goodness, the pinto beans were a disappointment. They tasted like they were poured straight from the can with very little flavor. Maybe the relish would've helped? Companion ordered a catfish and shrimp combo and was satisfied. And our little miss gave a thumbs up to her chicken filet basket. But she didn't like the tomato relish. 1802 So. Hwy. 161 982-9276, no alcohol, CC, LD Tues.-Sun., $-$$.




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