Rumbles: Summer Restaurant Openings, NWA Beers Come to Little Rock, Loblolly Grand Opening Sunday

We’re only weeks away from a few openings in the Central Arkansas area. I spoke with Three Sams BBQ Joint owner Annette Davis about her rebuilding after a fire gutted the restaurant last year. Davis says all that remains are a few kitchen updates, along with finishing touches on plumbing and electricity. I also stopped into Southern Table recently, the new restaurant going into the former Kent Walker Artisan Cheese. The space is gorgeous, and owner Margie Raimondo is shooting to get it open to the public at the end of the month. And in Hot Springs, we should just be weeks away from the opening of Bubba Brews taproom across from Bathhouse Row. That taproom is going into the old Bank of America building. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on all the openings over the next few weeks.
Beer lovers absolutely should not miss the Arkansas Brewers Guild tap takeover on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Vino’s Brewpub. In addition to beer from Little Rock-area brewers, you’ll also be able to get a pour from Northwest Arkansas breweries, like Bike Rack and Apple Blossom. Plenty of brewers will be on hand to chat about their beers and enjoy a pint with you. There will also be live music from Arkansas band The Itinerant Locals. Admission to the event is free.
And after you have your beer on Saturday, make sure you stop by Loblolly Creamery for your ice cream on Sunday. The creamery is holding the grand opening celebration of its new scoop shop on July 16 (incidentally, National Ice Cream Day). All day long, mini scoops will be just $1. In advance of the celebration, Loblolly is holding its happy hour from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. all week long, with buy one/get one free mini scoops. Loblolly recently completed the move into its Main Street scoop shop from the Green Corner Store, where it had been located for several years.
Perhaps lost behind tomato season and berry season in Arkansas is the season the state is best known for nationally. Watermelon season has arrived, and this Sunday, Bernice Garden is holding its watermelon festival celebration. Watermelon tastings start when the market opens at 10 a.m., with special watermelon cooking demonstrations kicking off at 11 a.m. Recipes in the cooking demo include pickled watermelon rind and watermelon smoothies. Then of course, what would a watermelon festival be without a seed-spitting contest? That starts at noon. Bernice Garden Farmers Market is one of the best in the state and runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday during harvest season.
And it looks like SoMa really is the place to be this weekend. On Saturday, it will also host the launch of Arkansas Ketchup Company at Green Corner Store from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. Amber Davis and John Crowley have been working on getting the company started since last winter, and the two are ready to get their products on Arkansas shelves. Arkansas Ketchup Company’s classic recipe uses nothing but Roma tomatoes grown in Arkansas cooked and prepared over a two-day period. They hope to bring more flavors to the market after getting their business up and running.
This week’s big news: Boulevard Bistro chef Chris McMillan is headed to Yellow Rocket Concepts to serve as executive sous for all restaurants. We caught up with him and Yellow Rocket’s Scott McGehee to see what you can expect from the transition.
Conway, get ready for some high-quality German food! Food truck The WunderBus is making Faulkner County home to its permanent location, and we have the details of where and when you will find the city’s latest eatery.
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Yellow Rocket Concepts has released its specials for the month of July:

  • Big Orange: Beer-Battered Fried Gulf Grouper Sandwich and Lemon Icebox Blueberry Shake
  • Local Lime: Fried Chicken Tacos with Arkansas Corn and Lime Slaw
  • Zaza: Local Heirloom Salad with Fresh Mozzarella and Market Pizza with Soppressata and Peppadews

Ristorante Capeo’s weekly special is a fresh fish entree. Its risotto of the week is made with toasted prosciutto.

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