Little Rock's Strangest Food/Environment Marriage Ends

For the past couple of months we have been privileged to one of the oddest pairings of food and location in recent memory at Core’s Argenta Public House. It seems like that is finally coming to an end.
Core Brewing opened the doors to their Argenta location this March to little fanfare. The location was extremely bare bones to say the least, and with the exception of a partial coat of paint, a few decorative items, and some new chairs, the place was essentially the same as the previous occupant left it. In fact the biggest knock we heard from the few people who did stop into Core was on the environment of the place and crowds were so sparse we frequently received questions asking if the location was still open.
Then in August we received a message from a chef we had previously worked with in Northwest Arkansas, Jeff Wetzel, who ran a food truck called Le Bouvier. The food was beyond impressive, and entirely contradictory to the surrounding environment. Dishes were thoughtful, well plated, fresh, and surprisingly inexpensive. He blew us away again with a quick menu update offering many of the same qualities.
Over the weekend we reached out to Wetzel regarding a very amazing sounding event with him and one of our favorite chefs in Northwest (that you all should attend if you can). Through casually checking in we learned that he and Core have officially severed ties and his food will no longer be featured in Core.
Our sources at Core have confirmed that Wetzel is no longer working his menu out of the kitchen at Core, despite the odd Facebook message stating “Due to Equipment Malfunctions we will not be serving food” over the weekend. I suppose a chef could count as equipment.
Regardless it was always a strange juxtapose. On one hand there was a chef who seemed to care deeply about his dishes and a place that gave very little thought to the environment they were served. The Argenta staff, for what it is worth, has always tried to make the most out of what they have and create the best experience possible, even on their obviously shoestring budget for the location. We have had nothing but positive experiences with the bartenders and managers in the space.
Wetzel says he will have his Le Bouvier truck up and going again soon in Northwest Arkansas. I highly encourage you to look him up when you are in the area, his food truck produces very thoughtful and flavorful food.
Officials at Core say they plan to bring in another chef to develop a menu and run the kitchen. Hopefully in doing so they can find someone to create enough of a spark to overcome the environment’s shortcomings and make it worth visiting the way Wetzel did.

Greg Henderson
Author: Greg Henderson

Owner/Publisher - Rock City Eats, Rock City Life, Rock City Times

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