Rivera opens in NLR spot off McCain

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Italian restaurant Rivera, 4546 E. McCain Blvd., North Little Rock, has taken over the space previously occupied by Layla in a mini-place behind the Burger King and in front of the Walmart Supercenter. According to the website (riveralittlerock.com, and don’t pay attention to the logo that says “Riviera”), it is “[an] Authentic Italian restaurant that has proudly served the DFW region and beyond since 2000. Since then our mission has been to provide high quality food to anyone who wishes to combine a fun and enjoyable ambience with skillful cooking in one dining experience. extraordinary. The menu is divided into pasta, seafood, chicken and veal dishes and “House specialties”. Online ordering is available. A sign on the window indicates an application for a wine and beer license which we are told is supposed to arrive today Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. h on Sunday. The phone number is (501) 955-2300.

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The advent of Rivera helped us realize that with the closure of several Italian restaurants over the past two years, including Ciao, Zaffino’s, Cafe Prego, Vesuvio Bistro, Pasta J’s in the River Market, Pasta J’s West on Cantrell, Pasta House in Maumelle and Bravo Cucina Italiana’s outlet on Chenal Parkway – there are surprisingly few Italian restaurants in the Little Rock metro area. A Google search reveals a number of pizzerias, some of which serve pasta (Domino’s, for example, and the two locations of Grady’s Pizza and Subs and by Gusano), but it’s not quite the same.

So we decided to compile a list of only a dozen non-chain Italian restaurants remaining in the area. No doubt we missed a couple of them, which our eagle-eyed readers will remind us of.

◼️ City centers – Bruno’s Little Italy, 310 Main Street, Little Rock and Capeo Restaurant, 425 Main Street, North Little Rock

◼️ West Little Rock – Graffiti, 7811 Cantrell Road; The Italian grill in Milan, 6100 Stones Road (at Cantrell Road)

◼️ North Little Rock / Maumelle / Sherwood / Jacksonville – Rivera (New); Rocky’s at Country Club, 117 Country Club Road, Sherwood; The Italian grill in Milan, 1800 Club Manor Drive, Maumelle; Italian restaurant in Rome, 2126 N. First St., Jacksonville

️ Cabot – Italian restaurant Morina, 2006 S. Pine St.

◼️ Benton / Bryant – Luigi’s Pizza and Pasta, 22000 Interstate 30, Bryant; Italy in the city, 120 N. Market St., Benton; Italian J pasta, 1314 Green Street, Benton.

◼️ And, of course, if we included the channels, various locations of Olive garden.

We also remember a few places that started out as Italian and / or still have a bit of an Italian accent: Ciao Baci, 605 Beechwood St., Little Rock, which began as a branch of Ciao; and red door, 3701 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, which started out as Bene Vita with a menu that retained some of Bene Vita’s Italian fare including lasagna, parmesan chicken and eggplant, chicken piccata, an appetizer of fried cheese ravioli and Bene Vita meatballs.

An orange sign informs passers-by that the Town of Little Rock has received a rezoning request for the former Café Prego on Kavanaugh Boulevard in Pulaski Heights. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / Eric E. Harrison)

And speaking of Prego Cafe, a John Stephens requested a zoning change for the chalet style building at 5510 Kavanaugh Blvd. in Little Rock’s Pulaski Heights which housed it for over two decades. Jamie Collins, planning and development manager for the City of Little Rock, said the request involved plans to “renovate and expand” the building to create “a classic Italian restaurant.” This, Collins adds, includes an addition to the rear of the building and an outdoor dining area. The requested exemption also consists in increasing the availability of parking, which currently only includes a few spaces in front of the restaurant.

The item is on the agenda for the Little Rock Adjustment Council meeting on July 15th; there is no set timetable for when the work will take place, and Collins says the city has yet to issue any type of building permit. We do not yet have any information on a potential name for the new restaurant if it does not remain at Café Prego.

Louis and Jacqueline Petit moved Café Prego and its Italian-Mediterranean menu from 1900 Grant St. (now the home of Fantastic china) after a French restaurant called Chattie’s closed in the mid-90s. Brian Lane and Maureen Martin, a couple from Colorado (she is from Arkansas), bought Prego in 2012; it closed at the end of 2020, probably as a victim of covid-19.

We reported a few weeks ago the sale of the property by General Enterprises Co. to Kavanaugh Restaurant Properties LLC / Prego Inc. for $ 540,000.

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And speaking of pizzerias, Homemade Pizza, which replaced Pasta House at 1900 Club Manor Drive, Maumelle, apparently opened to the public, but will now be closed until July 8 due to a death in the family of one of the co-owners, according to an article on the Maumelle Everything on the community’s Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Blue dolphins, a seafood / chicken / sandwich restaurant located at 4920 Baseline Road. Little Rock, is opening soon – late July, early August – in the old Taco Bell, 4324 Camp Robinson Road, North Little Rock. The restaurant was hosting job interviews last week. The menu will be the same as Operation Baseline Road – chicken wings and fillets, catfish, rice dishes, and specialty sandwiches (including gyros, Philly steaks, and Italian beef). The hours on the baseline are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily and the phone number is (501) 570-8383.

Samantha’s Tap Room & Wood Grill, 322 Main St., Little Rock, closed since mid-February after pipes burst and flooded the basement after an ice storm, is scheduled to reopen for dinner at 4 p.m. Wednesday and 11 a.m. on July 8 for the lunch. Expect a return to full pre-pandemic hours, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. A post on the Facebook page (facebook.com/samanthastaproom) on Tuesday mentions the return of most of the menu items, and co-owner Chris Tanner said he plans to launch two new ones (a Facebook post describes this. which appears to be one of them, “our NEW Tom Yum Shrimp Skewers,” grilled shrimp on skewers “filled with lemongrass, ginger and garlic flavors”). We always get a record that the mailbox is full when we call the phone number (501) 379-8019. The website is samstap.com.

The Mighty Crab is now open on North Shackleford Road in Little Rock, in the famous former Dave's.  (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / Eric E. Harrison)

The Mighty Crab is now open on North Shackleford Road in Little Rock, in the famous former Dave’s. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / Eric E. Harrison)

The third location of The mighty crab is now open at 225 N. Shackleford Road, Little Rock, formerly Famous Dave’s. Like restaurants in North Little Rock’s Lakewood Village (2703 Lakewood Village Drive) and 1817 S. University Ave., Little Rock, the menu features boiled shrimp, crab, mussels, clams, lobster tail, and more. ., with corn and potatoes in four seasoned sauces at five “heat” levels. Hours, according to Google, are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday to Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 224-8828.

James Blackwood, who operated Blackwood’s Gyros & Grill in Conway, opened Landing and sports grill at 100 W. Broadway, Morrilton, formerly the location of El Penjamo. The menu offers Mediterranean and Cajun dishes; the facility is operated under a private beer retail club license. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The telephone number is (501) 215-4976 (GYRO).

Construction is underway on a Fire station submarines in Springdale, with a goal of opening in late July at 4914 Elm Springs Road. Besides being the first Fire station submarines in Springdale, this is the first Arkansas location to sport the brand’s new community design layout, which, according to a press release, “features a repositioned order area, a designated area for Rapid Rescue To orders. Go and a new back-of-the-house layout with a more efficient flow for crew members. ” The franchisees are Audie White, a former Russellville police officer who has lived in Springdale for 15 years, and Jason Steele, a former Springdale firefighter. They own six more Fire station submarines outlets: two in Fayetteville and four in the greater Tulsa region. They are looking to hire 25 to 30 employees to fill part-time and full-time team members, team leader and management positions “with positive, energetic and dedicated people,” according to a press release. Apply online through Indeed or Monster; Interviews with potential candidates will take place at the new Springdale site while catering training will take place at a nearby Fayetteville facility.

And Mcdonalds is launching a new loyalty program from July 8: MyMcDonald’s Rewards, “our first national loyalty program allowing you to unlock gifts simply by enjoying your favorite meals”, via the McDonald’s app of participating restaurants, according to a statement from hurry. For every dollar spent on qualifying purchases, you earn 100 points, which you can earn to redeem for free items.

Has a restaurant opened or closed near you in the past week or so? Does your favorite restaurant have a new menu? Is there a new chef in charge? Write U.S. Send an e-mail to: [email protected]

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