Rumbles: Diamond Chef Finalists, Dos Rocas Opening Day, The Rail Yard Open Thursday

We now know the six finalists who will challenge next spring for the 2019 Diamond Chef crown. On Monday evening, the 10 semifinalists competed at Pulaski Tech to narrow the field down to six. The finalists are:

  • Jordan Davis – Chenal Country Club
  • Brandon Douglas – Greenleaf Grill
  • Amanda Ivy – Sauced
  • Jamie McAfee – Pine Bluff Country Club
  • Geovanny Vilagran – Little Rock Marriott
  • Izaak Winter – YaYa’s Euro Bistro

The six will face off at the Diamond Chef finals on Thursday, April 11, at Pulaski Tech’s Culinary Institute. Typically, the finalists go up against the previous year’s champion. However, Mary Beth Ringgold of Cajun’s Wharf is not eligible to defend her title since she became the first female two-time champion earlier this year.

After months of teasing pictures and speculation, Dos Rocas Beer and Tacos is open for dinner business today. Dos Rocas is the second restaurant from Jack and Corrie Sundell, owners of The Root Café just down the street. Dos Rocas looks to fill a unique niche in a city filled with taco options by serving up street food styled after cuisines in countries throughout Central and South America. That means you can also expect Latin American staples like pupusas and empanadas in addition to the robust taco menu. Also, Dos Rocas will feature some hard-to-find local beer options, including a regular tap from Prestonrose Farm and Brewing Company and one from Gravity BrewWorks in Baxter County. This week they will do dinner service only, then Dos Rocas will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday starting next week.

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Also opening this week is The Rail Yard in the East Village, in the same location that used to house Rock Town Distillery. The Rail Yard’s grand opening is set for Thursday and will feature food trucks Say Cheese and Pinches Tacos, in addition to Count Porkula, which will call The Rail Yard its permanent home. The Rail Yard bills itself as an urban beer garden, meaning you can expect plenty of craft beer and quality wine options no matter who is serving up the food. More than half of the beer taps are pouring Arkansas brews on opening day. The Rail Yard is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week right out of the gate. We will have your first look on this later today.

It’s hard to believe, but we’re just a week away from Thanksgiving. If the holiday has caught you by surprise, there are plenty of local restaurants that are eager to do the cooking for you. And I mean plenty; just at a glance I found Thanksgiving take-home menus offered at South on Main, Lost Forty Brewing, Sauce(d) Bar and Oven, Haygood BBQ, kBird, Trio’s, TAE and several others. Odds are your favorite restaurant is ready to help you out no matter how many mouths you have to feed this Thanksgiving. Be aware, each restaurant has a deadline to get your orders in, and some are this week. If you are looking to outsource your holiday cooking, make sure get that taken care of in the next couple of days.

A true ramen bar has come to Little Rock. We took a look this week at Aji Ramen Bar in West Little Rock and found plenty to recommend.

After two years of planning, Delta Biscuit Company is up and running. We caught up with the fresh new food truck before its first events this week.

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Rumbles: Diamond Chef Finalists, Dos Rocas Opening Day, The Rail Yard Open Thursday