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Restaurant transitions: Flint’s open downtown; Ira's delayed; TAE expanding hours; Red Robin updates

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Photographs by Eric E. Harrison

Flint’s Just Like Mom’s Home Cooking opened Monday on the ground floor of the Union Plaza Building in downtown Little Rock.

Flint's Just Like Mom's Home Cooking, opened Monday on schedule in the ground-floor space in the Union Plaza Building, West Capitol Avenue and Louisiana Street, Little Rock (formerly Sufficient Grounds Cafe). Owner Flint Fanoy will be serving breakfast weekdays 6:45-10:45 a.m. and lunch (including a meat-and-two-sides plate lunch) from 10:45 a.m.-2 p.m.; he'll keep his grill and fryer open until 5 p.m. for catering, so you can drop by until then and snag a burger or some chicken wings but you won't get full service. The phone number is (501) 502-0100.

Ira Mittelman's long-in-process, eponymous Ira's, 311 Main St., Little Rock, hit another snag this week -- Mittelman said Monday, the day he was finally expecting to open his doors, that he was still awaiting the arrival and installation of the water meter. He was confident, however, that he'd be up and running on Wednesday (after this column went to press), with the bar opening at 4 p.m. and kitchen service beginning at 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday (closing hours will depend on the volume of business). Lunch should be a little ways down the pike. The phone number is (501) 902-4911; the website: irasrestaurant.com.

Jerry Barakat says he's hoping to open Oceans at Arthur's as early as next week in the Subaru half of what used to be the Riverside Acura and Subaru dealership, 16100 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, about two miles south of its original location in the Village at Rahling Road, 27 Rahling Circle. And its older sibling, Arthur's Prime Steakhouse, is on target to open the first week of August in the former Acura building. Hours will remain 5-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Sunday; the phone number will also remain, (501) 821-1838.

TAE, in the Hotel Frederica (formerly the Legacy and, of course, the Hotel Sam Peck), 625 W. Capitol Ave., Little Rock, is slowly expanding its hours. Open initially just for lunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., is now also open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. You'll recall it's the re-emergence of Justin Patterson, formerly of Southern Gourmasian, with a menu focusing on "Southern comfort-type food with a contemporary twist." The phone number is (501) 301-0892.

David Smith, in his Sunday Business section column, reports that Conway-based Centennial Bank has paid $1.3 million for the erstwhile Dixie Cafe, 1215 Rebsamen Park Road, Little Rock, with plans to demolish it and put a branch bank in at least part of the space.

We have an update on the planned relocation the downtown Little Rock McDonald's restaurant from its current location, 701 Broadway, a block north and on the opposite side of Broadway, on what is now the parking lot at 515 W. Sixth St., next door to the Goodyear Auto Service Center. A spokesman for the franchisee says the groundbreaking is planned for "late this year or early next year," and the new place "will have a double-lane drive through and in-store ordering kiosks." The drive-through was one of the things for which a property representative was seeking a variance from the city; others involve the planting of trees, a ground-mounted sign and parking along all four sides of the property. The site plan for the 5,100-square-foot building shows it would be set back from Broadway to allow for "better flow around the site to keep traffic moving." The current Broadway location opened in December 1986.

And speaking of McDonald's, the chain has rolled out its new Bacon Smokehouse Burger, part of its "Signature Crafted Recipes" menu. It comes, according to a news release, "with hearty and satisfying thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon, sweet and smoky bacon-onion sauce, crispy, in-house fried onion strings, real white cheddar cheese and a mild sweet mustard sauce ... on a toasted artisan roll." You can get it with one or two patties, or if you're not into red meat, with "Buttermilk Crispy Chicken or Artisan Grilled Chicken."

Phoebe Glass, in the process of moving her food-truck-based Shambala Vegan Mobile Kitchen into River Market's Ottenheimer Market Hall, 400 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, says they're hooking up her long-awaited oven this week and has a target (that she might actually exceed) to start serving customers July 20 -- initially for lunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and breakfast, 7-10 a.m., not long after. The phone number: (501) 286-2684. Meanwhile, the announcement of what is moving into the adjacent Market Hall kiosk that previously housed Rivershore Eatery is still awaiting the signing of a lease, says River Market spokesman Diana Long.

Curtis E. Williams has applied to the state Alcoholic Beverage Control division for a "restaurant mixed drink minimum" for Calvin's Restaurant and Lounge, 1700 E. Capitol Ave., Little Rock. That's at the intersection of Capitol and Bond avenues, which is, and probably not by coincidence, also the location, listed at 423 Bond Ave., Little Rock, of the closed-for-some-time Calvin's Soul Food Restaurant. Recent postings by a Monickaa Phutry on that establishment's Facebook page, as recently as June 29, show work taking place there. We've been unable to find a phone number; and the former phone number, (501) 374-4577, returns a "disconnected" recording.

The website, redrobin.com/find-us.html, still shows as still in progress the Red Robin at The Shoppes of Benton shopping center, at 20220 Interstate 30, Benton, "coming soon." Meanwhile, we have not yet been able to confirm reports that a Red Robin is also in the works for the recently closed Applebee's Grill & Bar, 4333 Warden Road, North Little Rock.

Burge's Hickory Smoked Turkeys and Hams opened a 100-seat Conway outlet July 2 at 405 E. Dave Ward Drive. It has the same menu as at the one in Little Rock, 5620 R St., including Burge's famous smoked turkey salad. And the hours match those in Little Rock: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. The phone number: (501) 205-1926. The original Burge's opened in Lewisville in 1962, and the second outlet in Little Rock's Pulaski Heights neighborhood in 1977. Owner Jeff Voyles says a Northwest Arkansas location is possible, but probably still several years away.

In the Spa City and its environs:

Mango Peppers Urban Tacos is now open at 1020 Airport Road, Hot Springs, which has previously been the site of Paradise Grill, the Old Feed House, Grampa's and the Salty Oyster. According to the the website, mangopeppers.com, "Our menu ranges from tacos from Mexico City, Baja, Pacific Coast, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea"; varieties include "Pollo Pastor, Bistek, Carnitas, Fried Avocado, Oyster Mushrooms, Camaron Baja and much more ...." And their salsa, brags the website, is "fresh from the most authentic places in Mexico. We only use the best possible peppers to cook them in." Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, and at least temporarily, 11 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. The phone number: (501) 463-9887.

• The Hot Springs Sentinel-Record reports a recent $1,148,386 permit filing for 3623 Central Ave., for "construction of a 7,163 square foot restaurant." What's replacing the former and now demolished Dixie Cafe at that address? The evidence points to a Texas Roadhouse.

• And Mediterranean restaurant mogul Bruno Beqiri appears to have quickly resurfaced after being cast out (literally, we're told) of his Bruno's Italian Villa in Benton at the end of May, as chef at the pending Dolce Vita Italian Restaurant, 111 Ponderosa Lane, Hot Springs Village, where his wife, Christina Minden, is the owner and manager. Beqiri's photo appears on the restaurant's Facebook page, where a June 26 posting indicates the target opening date would hit sometime this week. The page lists the hours as 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday; the phone number as (501) 226-3377 and a website, dolce-vita-hsvillage.business.site.

And to mark National Ice Cream Day, Sunday, the Dippin' Dots outlets in Park Plaza and McCain malls in Little Rock and North Little Rock, respectively, will hand out free mini cups, one per customer, 12:30-2 p.m. at Park Plaza and sometime during the afternoon -- times to be announced -- at McCain Mall.

Has a restaurant opened -- or closed -- near you in the last week or so? Does your favorite eatery have a new menu? Is there a new chef in charge? Drop us a line. Call (501) 399-3667 or (501) 378-3513, or send a note to Restaurants, Weekend Section, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, Ark. 72203. Send email to:

eharrison@arkansasonline.com

Weekend on 07/12/2018

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