Around the Rock: The Pantry remodels and does it get any better than Burge’s turkey salad?

My weekly views…

New storefront: We’ve been giving plenty of love this week to the new Le Pops storefront in the Heights, and for good reason … the place has a cool vibe and their product is fantastic. I took down a mango blackberry pop and also had a taste of the vanilla. Both were excellent! I highly encourage you to go check them out. Local doesn’t always necessarily mean better, but in this case, it does.

Pizza time: Vino’s is still a top 5 Little Rock pizza joint and last week’s visit once again cemented that fact. My go-to order is now a large mushroom and Italian sausage pizza with a chef’s salad. What’s your pizza of choice at Vino’s?

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Pop-in’s: Quick pop-in’s to Boulevard Bread Company and Burge’s were met with mixed results. The latter’s smoked turkey salad is just about the most wonderfully simplistic and underrated bites of food in this town, while the much anticipated Boulevard bialy was bland and a bit too bready. Such was not the case with the bakery’s delicious chocolate chip cookie, which was meant for one of my kids but somehow ended up on my plate.

Happy Hour: It wasn’t technically Happy Hour at Big Orange Midtown when I was there last week, but I sat at the bar for an hour and was very happy. That’s probably due to the wonderful Toronto cocktail served up by Dylan Yelenich.

And the news…

If you haven’t heard by now, The Pantry will be closed July 1-10 due to kitchen remodeling, but they will be open Sunday, June 29 (11 a.m.-9 p.m.) for everyone to get their fix before the 10 day closure. Keep an eye out on their FB page for food and drink specials the rest of this week.

Bruno’s Little Italy is also taking a break. This from the restaurant: “INDEPENDENCE WEEK NOTICE & ATTENTION to our patrons: Bruno’s Little Italy will be CLOSED from June 29-July 7 for vacation! We will reopen on Tuesday, July 8.”

Beginning July 1, Brown Sugar Bakeshop will be introducing their brownie, blondie, and cookie a lá mode sundaes. These delicious treats will be served warm with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream and various gourmet toppings. Also, Flourless Fridays will be every Friday in July, and the menu will include at least one flourless dessert on that day. Some of the desserts will include: black bean ooey-gooey brownies, white chocolate raspberry flourless cake, and chocolate avocado pudding.

The Next Course will be Thursday, September 25 at the Great Hall of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. The event will start with a wine reception at 6 p.m., with the meal to follow at 7 p.m. Tickets are $150/each. Sponsorships start at $1500. All proceeds from the evening will go to benefitting Youth Home, Inc.

Cache Restaurant now offers a Happy Hour … Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m. in their lounges, patio and upstairs bar. Specials include: $2 bottle beer, $3 draft, $4 house red and white wine and $5 frozen drinks.

Did you know that Ristorante Capeo in NLR offers monthly wine dinners? They do … every second Monday at 6:30 p.m. This month’s dinner will be held on July 14 and features prosciutto melon, cappelletti and veal scallopini, all paired with selected wines. Cost is $50 (excludes gratuity). For reservations, call 501-376-3463.

July is National Hot Dog Month and Petit Jean Meats is giving a percentage of their proceeds of every hot dog package sold during the month to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

Props to the Clinton Presidential Library/Forty-Two, who once again just got started with their awesome kids culinary camps. The kids do a variety of cool activities throughout the camps. On Friday, for example, they’ll be holding a 4-course, locally-sourced, pop-up restaurant. Getting young people interested in good food and sustainable growth is a wonderful endeavor.

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Around the Rock: The Pantry remodels and does it get any better than Burge’s turkey salad?