Restaurant Transitions: Kimchi Open on University; Red Robins Coming to Central Ar This Year

Kimchi Korean Restaurant has replaced VanLang at 3700 S. University Ave., Little Rock.

Kimchi Korean Restaurant has replaced VanLang in the strip center at 3700 S. University Ave., Little Rock. A Korean family took over the principally Vietnamese restaurant a couple of years ago and had been gradually introducing Korean dishes on a subsidiary menu, so the transition isn’t entirely a surprise. The restaurant’s fliers identify it as having Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese food (for example, the flier mentions pho and vermicelli noodles). The menu has a number of relatively familiar Korean dishes (including Bibimbap, Bulgogi, Galbi and Jamppong) and some maybe not so familiar, including Ttkeo-bboki (a Korean hot-pot for two), Gomtang (“pale bone-broth garnished with brisket slices”) and Jajangmyeon (a noodle bowl topped with a thick soybean-paste sauce with diced vegetables and pork). Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 570-7700 (same as VanLang’s); visit the Facebook page,

The Colorado-based Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews chain has two central Arkansas outlets on the blocks: at the Shoppes of Benton, fronting Interstate 30 (Benton Mayor David Mattingly tells Arkansas Online that the city has received final drawings for the project and the permit process will soon follow), and at Lewis Crossing, just off the Dave Ward Drive exit off Interstate 40 in Conway (along with previously announced outlets of Hideaway Pizza and Rita’s Italian Ice, and, also planned, but not yet under construction, David’s Burgers). The chain has two other Arkansas locations, in Fayetteville and Rogers. No word yet on opening dates.

And speaking of Dave Ward Drive, a Burge’s Restaurant is set to open July 1 in a shopping plaza under construction at the southeast corner of Dave Ward and Equity drives, at the entrance to Conway’s Acxiom campus. Burge’s has two other locations: the original, which opened in 1962 in Lewisville, and a branch now in Little Rock’s Pulaski Heights that opened in 1974.

And speaking of Conway, our math may be a little untrustworthy, but if you count 90 days ahead of the most recent posting, April 3, on its Facebook page ( — “We’re getting closer folks. … A lot to happen over the next 90 days” — that would place the target opening at approximately July 1 for the inaugural John Daly’s Steakhouse, 912 Front St. Two additional locations have been posited (out of a planned 10 over the next five years), in Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas.

And speaking of burger franchises, franchisee/owner Allen Hurst says, based on current information, that the tentative opening date will be before July 4 (while the corporate folks in Tampa, Fla., are conservatively saying July 26; the website,, still lists it as “coming soon”) for the first Arkansas outlet of Burger 21 in the shopping center at 12319 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, where its neighbors include Staples and Bed Bath & Beyond. The menu will feature 10 beef burgers and 10 nonbeef burgers (tuna, shrimp, chicken, turkey) plus one featured burger, which rotate once a quarter — “That’s where they get the 21,” Hurst explains. They’ll also offer salads, sliders, chicken tenders and hot dogs on a toasted New England roll. The hours, tentatively, will be 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 11-10 Saturday and 11-9 Sunday. The phone number is (501) 916-2520.

And still speaking of burger franchises, Yellow Rocket Concepts has announced plans to open Big Orange Northwest in late fall in the Pinnacle Hills Promenade Outdoor Mall, 2203 S. Promenade Blvd., Rogers. The third location (the other two are in Little Rock, the original on Chenal Parkway and the other in Midtown) will fill 5,200 square feet and seat approximately 150. The menu will be based on the one at the two Little Rock locations, adding “expanded small plates and starter dishes, hyper-local food and beverage selections, house-made desserts, and dangerously delicious spiked milkshakes,” according to a news release. It will also include a full-service bar, which will replicate the mini-chain’s award-winning “cocktail program.”

Chef Jeffrey Moore says he’s leaving B-Side and confirms a report in Arkansas Business quoting Heights Corner Market co-owner Eric Herget saying he has hired Moore to run the market’s prepared foods department and the pending Heights Corner Cafe. Moore has been, at various times, the chef for the now-defunct Restaurant at Terry’s Finer Foods, the grocery store at 5018 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, that Heights Corner Market has taken over.

Jacobs Wings & Grill opened Tuesday at 5200 John F. Kennedy Blvd., North Little Rock, sharing a structure with Custom Carpets, between the Splash Full Service Carwash & Detail, 5116 JFK, and the Kum & Go gas station and convenience store, 5216 JFK. Owner Amr Alfarah says his menu will include wings, of course, plus gyros, “Phillys,” burgers, potatoes, salads, smoothies, hummus, falafel and tabbouleh. Hours are 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 508-5783.

Collier and Ashley East have bought Le Pops Gourmet Ice Lollies, 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, from Charles and Laurie Harrison, who, we’re told, are moving to Boulder, Colo. (Ashley East, according to her father, as a 13-year-old sold shaved-ice cones from a mobile stand when the location was a Safeway parking lot.) Hours are noon-8:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, noon-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (501) 313-9558; the website is

Owner-franchisee Ryan Hamra says demolition and construction delays mean he’s now looking at a mid- to late July target date for the opening of his downtown Potbelly Sandwich Shop, in part of the former Cheers on Broadway space in the lobby of the Lyon Building, 401 W. Capitol Ave., Little Rock (the shorter building, housing U.S. Bank, next to the much bigger Simmons Bank Tower). The lunch-afternoon menu will be the same as the one Hamra operates at the first location, in the Park Avenue shopping center, 314 S. University Ave., Little Rock — sandwiches, soups, salads, shakes, etc., plus breakfast; tentative hours will be 7 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays.

Bray Gourmet Deli & Catering, in the Prein-Catlett Tower Building, 323 Center St., Little Rock, has, after some delay, finally released its new menu, featuring a couple of new sandwiches — including the Pimento Pig ($7.09), which they’ve been offering as a special (the house pimento cheese, smoked ham, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise). Hours are 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday. The phone number: (501) 353-1045; the website:

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, 323 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, is among the 16 Flying Saucer locations teaming up with Pints for Prostates Inc. for a promotion through May 31 to generate prostate cancer awareness “through the universal language of beer,” hosting events throughout the month. Customers can also buy raffle tickets — $10 each, $25 for three, $50 for seven — for the Pints for Prostates English beer tour Aug. 3-13, valued at $9,200, which includes stops in York, the Cotswolds and London for the Great British Beer Festival. The drawing will take place June 11 at the chain’s Charlotte, N.C., outlet. (Rules, regulations and more details, visit For more details on the trip, including how to join on your own dime, visit The chain is looking to raise approximately $35,000 among all 16 locations.

Arkansas’ Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafes are putting together the HOPE (“Herbs Offering Personal Enrichment”) Project, a partnership with Access, a Little Rock-based nonprofit offering services and education for individuals with disabilities, in which Access clients will receive information on all aspects of the herb business, “including transferable skills that will prepare them for future job opportunities,” according to a news release. The program will grow basil, rosemary, cilantro and oregano on-site using a soil-less, aeroponic growing system; Taziki’s, in turn, will use the herbs the program grows, first at its Cantrell Road location, with plans to expand to other locations in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Conway and Northwest Arkansas.

And All Aboard Restaurant & Grill, 6813 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, will mark National Train Day, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. May 13 — appropriate, since the kitchen delivers food via a small train that runs around the dining room just beneath the ceiling — with train rides, giveaways, food sampling and a drawing to win a train set and other prizes. A band will play train-theme music. Call (501) 975-7401 or visit

Mother’s Day is closer than you think — May 14 — and another opportunity for restaurants to break forth into full brunch mode. For example the Capital Hotel, 111 W. Markham St., Little Rock, will be offering Mother’s Day Brunch on the Mezzanine, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., this year offering a separate stir-fry station and New Orleans-inspired Eggs Sardou. Cost is $58, $25 children 6-11, free for kids 5 and younger. Meanwhile, restaurant One Eleven will have a three-course prix-fixe lunch menu, also 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; cost is $68, $25 children 6-11, free for kids 5 and younger. The preceding day — that’s 12:30-2:30 p.m. Saturday, One Eleven will offer a Mother-Daughter Tea, with tea, finger sandwiches and pastries. Cost is $38, $48 if you add a glass of champagne (additional glasses, $10 per). Make reservations by calling (501) 370-7068 or emailing

If your restaurant is offering something special for Mother’s Day, send us the details, by noon Monday please, via email to address below. We’ll plan to print what we get in the May 11 column.

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:

Weekend on 05/04/2017