Friday was the last day of lunch service for Bruno's Little Italy, 310 Main St., Little Rock. Co-owner Gio Bruno explains that, "Because we do everything from scratch, the amount of extra prep and the amount of payroll to accomplish that (as well as having line cooks, servers and hosts each day)," they've never been able to make a profit in their yearlong experiment with lunch. Lack of available daytime parking has also been a factor, he suggests: "At night we have free valet parking, but in the daytime, if there is the slightest bit of [inclement] weather, we lose all our walk-in business." They've returned to dinner-only hours, 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 372-7866.
And speaking of Italian food, the Arkansas Italian Food and Culture Festival, 4-9 p.m. April 20 and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. April 21 at North Little Rock's North Shore Riverfront Park, will feature Italian cooking competitions, wine tastings and music; a grape-stomping competition; bocce and Baggo tournaments; sporting events, including a cycling race and a soccer tournament hosted by Club United of Arkansas; and an Italian car show. Denis Seyer, late of Alouette's/Gypsy Grill, is heading up the festival food committee. And Chef Eric Isaac of Ristorante Capeo will cater meals in the VIP food tents -- Northern Italian on Friday and Southern Italian on Saturday. At least 10 area and regional Italian and pizza restaurants will vend food in the park throughout the weekend. The festival will also include presentations from historians and authors and documentaries on the Italian-American experience in Arkansas, the South and the United States. Community leaders and associations from towns all across Arkansas -- Tontitown to Lake Village -- as well as representatives of Italian-American associations from Memphis, New Orleans and Jackson, Miss. Patrick Presley, co-founder (with Justin Acri), says all proceeds will go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of central Arkansas. Sponsor is Relyance Bank. Visit aritalianfestival.com.
A banner recently appeared across the front window of the former Jerky's Spicy Chicken and More space, 521 Center St., Little Rock, is further confirmation that Cantina Cinco De Mayo is what's going in there. We're still trying to track down a target opening date. The growing mini-chain has two other Little Rock restaurants, on Rahling Circle and on Stagecoach Road, plus one in Bryant and one pending in Benton.
The UCA Echo reports that Blue Sail Coffee will close its Donaghey Hall location at the University of Central Arkansas, 201 Donaghey Ave., Conway, on Friday, while keeping open its original Conway outlet, 1028 Front St., and its new-ish Little Rock branch, 417 Main St.
The North Little Rock Planning Commission on Jan. 9 approved a proposal for an Andy's Frozen Custard location at 6907 John F. Kennedy Blvd., North Little Rock, on an outparcel in the Indian Hills Shopping Center parking lot. No building permit has yet been filed. The Missouri-based chain has five Arkansas outlets: two in Jonesboro and one each in Conway (with a second reportedly in the works), Fayetteville and Rogers.
Tuesday is the target opening day for the Movie Tavern, in the Gateway Town Center, 11300 Bass Pro Parkway, Little Rock, where Interstates 430 and 30 meet, Little Rock. We're awaiting details on operating hours, the menu (but the website, movietavern.com, promises a "full-service bar and lounge" and "full menu, beer, wine, and mixed drinks delivered to your seat in each auditorium") and what films will be on the screens. An April grand opening is planned.
The website for Cheshire, Conn.-based Wayback Burgers (waybackburgers.com) still lists as "coming soon," without a target date, its pending Little Rock location, in the Chenal Curve Shopping Center, 16900 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock. The menu offers burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, shakes, sides (fries, cheese fries, mac & cheese bites, etc.) and the so-called "Triple Triple" -- nine patties and nine slices of cheese.
Rock Town Distillery, 1216 E. Sixth St., Little Rock, is offering a Valentine's Day whiskey dinner, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 14, hosted by founder and head distiller Phil Brandon and Chef Amanda Ivy, who have paired a Rock Town whiskey with each of four courses: Potato Wrapped Oysters Rockefeller/Rock Town's Hickory Smoked Whiskey; Arugula Salad with Torn Cherries, Shaved Pecorino and Lavender Cured Egg Yolks/Rock Town's Rye Whiskey; Boeuf Bourguignon with Creamed Arkansas Rice Grits and Balsamic Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms/Rock Town's Four Grain Sour Mash Bourbon; and Persian Love Cake-White Chocolate Spice Cake with Pistachios and Roses/Rock Town's Single Barrel Bourbon. Cost is $70 per person. Space is limited. Visit tinyurl.com/y7rbbyex. The phone number is (501) 907-5244.
And during 2018, which it is designating as a "Year of Giving," central Arkansas Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe restaurants will give a percentage of the proceeds each month to a different area nonprofit. For this month, 5-9 p.m. Tuesday at 8200 Cantrell Road, 12800 Chenal Parkway and 10800 Bass Pro Parkway, Little Rock, and 3929 McCain Blvd., North Little Rock, the beneficiary will be Women and Children First, which "empowers women and their children to live independently and free from domestic violence by providing crisis intervention, safe shelter, social/legal advocacy and support services," according to a news release. Visit facebook.com/events/161870447777349.
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:
A banner across the window at 521 Center St., Little Rock, tells passersby that Cantina Cinco de Mayo is planning to open a downtown location there.
Weekend on 01/18/2018
Print Headline: Lunch ends at Bruno's; costs cited