Rumbles: Cock of the Walk Closes, Diamond Chef’s 10 Semifinalists, Italian Food Festival Next Year

In a rather sudden move, Maumelle’s Cock of the Walk restaurant has closed for good. The restaurant made the announcement last Thursday and shut down that same day. In a statement released on its Facebook page, someone with the restaurant said everything happened very quickly, and employees were having a hard time with the news. The land and the building are already up for sale. Cock of the Walk is a Mississippi-based chain that now has three locations: two in Mississippi and one in Nashville, Tenn. The business has been open since the 1970s. The Cock of the Walk franchise on Facebook says it hopes somebody will purchase the space and reopen the restaurant soon.

Diamond Chef Arkansas has its ten semifinalists that will compete for a spot in the finals next year. This year, the competition held a video submission and public online vote to determine the competitors. They are:

  • Brandon Brimley – To the Brim Catering
  • Patrick Buchanan – Simply the Best Catering
  • Casey Copeland – The Avenue
  • Jordan Davis – Chenal Country Club
  • Brandon Douglas – Green Leaf Grill
  • Amanda Ivy – Old Mill Bread Company
  • Jamie McAfee – Pine Bluff Country Club
  • Joseph Salgueiro – Cache Restaurant
  • Coby Smith – Arkansas Heart Hospital
  • Izaak Winter – YaYa’s Euro Bistro

All ten will cook Monday at Pulaski Tech’s culinary institute, where judges will narrow the field to six finalists. Those six will return in April to compete against last year’s champion Mary Beth Ringgold of Cajun’s Wharf, Capers and Coppery Grill. Ringgold last year became the first female chef to win the competition.

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This coming April will see the beginning of a new food festival in the downtown area. April 20 and 21 is the planned date for the first Arkansas Italian Food and Culture Festival. The festival has a wide range of events planned, including cooking lessons and competitions, kids cook-offs, an Italian car show, a bocce ball tournament and much more. The festival will be held on the riverfront area on the North Little Rock side near Dickey-Stephens Park. The festival is still in its planning stages, and I’m sure we’ll hear much more in the coming months regarding vendors and restaurants that will be participating.

Food trucks typically have a slower season during the late fall and winter months, but Count Porkula isn’t planning on slowing down. Starting Friday, the excellent barbecue business is gearing up for hunting season with a massive to-go package for deer camp. For $200, Count Porkula is packing up four racks of ribs and five pounds of pulled pork, plus buns, beans, slaw, sauce and dill pickle pasta. Obviously, you’ll need to call ahead at least a day before to get your order started, but it’s a great package for hunting parties. Count Porkula will also sell whole smoked briskets, whole chickens and pork butts. The truck will be setting up on U.S. 165 southeast of Little Rock for hunters on their way to camp. Check out their Facebook page for the truck’s daily location.

If you thought you missed your chance at a Santa Claus experience at The Capital Hotel, you’re in luck. The hotel has added a special lunch with Santa on Wednesday, Dec. 20. Each child will get a personal invitation from Santa to the lunch, where they will get to ask all the questions they want about reindeer, elves and the North Pole. Tickets to the event are $50 and go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m., so be sure to keep a close eye on the hotel’s Facebook page.

It feels like cooler weather is finally here for the season, and that means you can start to expect some menu changes around town. We paid a visit to South on Main this week to sample a few drinks off the new cocktail menu, and found plenty to enjoy.

Get your walking shoes on; we’re dining progressively again! This week, our Eat Progressive series focuses on Argenta, where you have plenty of options for a great five-course walkabout.

Events

  • February 19 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    A Capital Cooking Class – Sushi

    at The Capital Hotel

    The masterful art of sushi making doesn’t have to be intimidating. Join us for an evening of fun and learning as Georgi McNeal, former sushi chef at Botika in San Antonio, will lead you through all the basics. Learn the art of chopping ingredients, cooking sushi rice, perfecting the rolling ...

  • February 25 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    Italian Wine Dinner

    at Ristorante Capeo

    Travel to the northern province of Piedmont, Italy without leaving Arkansas! Chef Eric Isaac will prepare four courses with special wine pairings that will transport you to the foothills of the Italian Alps. Come feast with friends to benefit our 2018 Nonprofit Partner (to be announced on Jan 9th). ...

  • February 27 @ 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    Game Night at Flyway Brewing

    at Flyway Brewing

    Game Goblins, your friendly local game store, will be providing unique, fun games of all types. Come on by from 5pm until 9pm on Tuesday, January 27th, bring a friend or join a group, enjoy a local brew and some delicious food.

  • March 10 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

    LIVE Music: Mark Currey

    at Core Public House – North Little Rock Argenta

    Early show. No Cover. Solo acoustic music, great food, and fine Arkansas Craft Beers!

  • March 17 @ 9:00 pm - March 18 @ 12:30 am

    Big Red Flag live Dugan’s Irish Pub St. Paddy’s Day Blowout!

    at Dugan’s Pub Little Rock

    St. Paddy’s Day at Dugan’s Irish Pub is where ya wanna be this year. Legendary block party, madness ensues. Then, move it all inside the pub for a night of raucous Irish hedonism with Big Red Flag. We’re gonna dust off some old school Irish drinkin’ tunes, along with our ...

  • April 13 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    Food & FoamFest

    at Dickey-Stephens Park

    Food & Foam Fest is a creative twist to the traditional wine tasting event and is a beer sampling event offering samples of over 400 varieties of craft beer from all over the world plus food tastings from generous local restaurateurs.

  • April 19 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    Diamond Chef Arkansas

    at UA – Pulaski Tech Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute

    The University of Arkansas – Pulaski Tech Technical College Foundation and the UA-PTC Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute (CAHMI) present the premier culinary competition and fundraiser—Diamond Chef Arkansas. Diamond Chef Arkansas is a competitive culinary competition that pit...

  • April 21 @ 9:00 am

    10th Annual B Street Rib Off

    at North Little Rock, AR

    We’re excited to celebrate 10 years of the B Street Rib Off. Make plans now to join us in April 2018!

Specials

Yellow Rocket Concepts has unveiled its specials for the month of November:

  • Big Orange: Frito Chili Pie Burger and Pecan Pie Shake
  • Local Lime: Lobster and Shrimp Enchiladas
  • Zaza: Arkansas Waldorf Salad, and Winter Squash and Sausage Pizza

Ristorante Capeo’s weekly special is a fresh fish entree. The risotto of the week is made with sausage and mushrooms.

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Rumbles: Cock of the Walk Closes, Diamond Chef’s 10 Semifinalists, Italian Food Festival Next Year