New Restaurant, Cathead’s Diner, Announced with Chefs Kelli Marks and Donnie Ferneau

Long time Little Rock chef Donnie Ferneau is back with a new concept set to open next year. This time he is partnering with Kelli Marks for a brunch themed eatery called Cathead’s Diner in the Paint Factory building of the East Village area.

The restaurant is expected to open in early 2018 and will feature Southern-style comfort foods as part of its breakfast, brunch, lunch, and pastry and dessert menus.

Ferneau has been around Little Rock for some time, rising to popularity in the mid 00’s with his Ferneau restaurant. He later went on to open Good Food by Ferneau in Argenta and most recently worked at the 1836 Club as their executive chef.

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Marks operated Sweet Love Bakery from 2012 until the first of 2016 as well, baking cakes out of her store front on Cantrell. She has continued to operate under the Sweet Love brand after closing the store front, baking for weddings and caterings.

For Ferneau and Marks, it is a familiar relationship. They have been close friends for a long time, collaborating in different areas.

“For us, this was a fairly natural progression,” Marks explains. “We’ve been friends for years, and we’ve worked together off and on throughout different projects we’ve been associated with.”

This is not Ferneau’s first collaborative space. Originally when opening Good Food he partnered with Travis McConnell who operated a butchery jointly in the space. The partnership with Marks’ baking and pastry experience should be a good overall match.

“I think we’re both experts in our field, and coming together just made sense,” Ferneau says. “We’re both at a point in our careers where we need to be working on something bigger than we’ve done in the past.”

The restaurant will be located at 515 Shall Ave., and will seat 90 guests indoors and 30 on the patio. A chef’s table and private party room will accommodate about 100 guests, making it an ideal space for business gatherings, birthday parties and other events.

They hope to hire 20 to 25 positions for servers, food runners, hosts, and all kitchen positions.Interested applicants should send resumes to catheadsdiner@gmail.com.

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New Restaurant, Cathead’s Diner, Announced with Chefs Kelli Marks and Donnie Ferneau