Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism
Kristine and Patrick Dunlap took a relative’s advice, sold everything they had and drove down in a minivan from Philadelphia to Arkansas in late 2005 with the goal of opening a restaurant. That dream of Kristine’s became a reality April 28 when Rocky’s Pub opened at 6929 John F. Kennedy Blvd. in North Little Rock, in the Indian Hills Shopping Center.
Her husband’s former brother-in-law, a CPA in Little Rock, told them Arkansas had nothing like the type of restaurant Kristine had wanted to open.
Naturally, the feature item of the pub is a real Philly cheese steak sandwich, but the menu also has wraps, hoagies, cheeseburgers, grilled sandwiches (a Reuben and a “Rachel,” the female version of the Reuben, with cole slaw instead of sauerkraut) and more. The dinner entrees “are made by me,” Kristine said. “I make my own meatballs, lasagna, raviolis.”
Yes, she’s Italian. “My husband is Irish. He handles the pub part of the business.”
The location was formerly home to Mendy’s Place. The Dunlaps have completely renovated the kitchen and built a full bar with top-shelf liquor, along with five beer taps. They are upgrading the TVs to flat screens. Expect the baseball Phillies and football Eagles to be on at least one of them when in season, but they realize their clientele may have other allegiances. The Dunlaps are offering 20 percent off coupons for Little Rock Air Force Base personnel, as well as police and fire employees, and 10 percent off for anyone else with a coupon through May 28.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. The phone number is 833-1077.
A new Cajun-style restaurant is in the works for a new Highway 10 shopping center that will be anchored by a Parisian department store. A business license for The Imagine Highway 10 Restaurant has been applied for. The owners are former Louisianans relocated by Hurricane Katrina.
UPDATE: GUSANO’S PIZZERIA A bar and restaurant in the festive River Market area, this place stays open late, but our experience is with the lunch buffet, available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. It’s all-you-can-eat pizza and salad for $6.49, drink extra, and compared to the buffets at some of the chain pizza places, it’s a bargain. The pizza is not bad, the crust kind of mid-range, not too thick and not too thin. You can find the standard toppings – pepperoni, sausage, etc. – but you’ll also find more adventurous pizza, like the pineapple and jalapeno pepper we had one day. We thought the salad bar was fairly typical of buffet salad bars, but Gusano’s claims it’s the biggest one downtown. 313 President Clinton Ave. 374-1441. LD daily. Full bar. CC. $
NEW: SUPER TAQUERIA This simple but cheerful little restaurant is a welcome stop on busy Rodney Parham, with its inexpensive and tasty lineup of Mexican standards, emphasis on the tacos. We endorse the Big Burrito ($6.25), a fat tubular meal of rice, beans and the meat of your choice, with cheese dip poured on top and then sprinkled with iceberg lettuce. The cilantro-rich salsa is fresh and zingy, but the chips are a standard commercial variety. Menudo, pozole and deep-fried pork carnitas are a few of the interesting offerings that will beckon us back for another taste. Or maybe tortas de cabeza, otherwise known as a head sandwich. The friendly proprietors (English is limited) also are planning an outlet downtown. 9501 Rodney Parham Road. Beer. CC $ 224-5151 LD Tue.-Sun.