Rumbles: Trio’s Strawberry Shortcake is Back, The Pantry Turns 9, Rock Town Honors

It’s not officially spring until Capi Peck puts her famous strawberry shortcake back on the Trio’s menu. That happens this weekend; specifically, it happens at 5:30 p.m. this Friday. Trio’s puts its signature dessert on the menu as soon as Arkansas strawberries are in season. After Arkansas berries are done for the year, Trio’s switches to California strawberries through August. But there’s nothing like strawberries grown in the Natural State, so you’ll want to get over to Trio’s sooner rather than later. If you want to upgrade this classic, there is also the Banana Delight Capi’s Way, which pairs strawberries with pecan shortbread, banana pudding, sliced bananas and coconuts. This news also means you can probably start finding strawberries at your local farmers market this weekend as well, so set your alarm this weekend.

The Pantry West, one of Little Rock’s most beloved restaurants, turns nine years old this weekend. On Sunday, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m., the Rodney Parham spot will celebrate in its usual splendid way: by cooking up housemade bratwursts and owner Tomas Bohm’s massive paella. The party is first-come first-served, and the paella is free for anybody who drops by. Bohm opened The Pantry in 2009 in the former Alouette’s, whose owner Denis Seyer gave Bohm the financing he needed to get started. Now, The Pantry has two locations, as well as District Fare, a sandwich shop and charcuterie that sells many of The Pantry’s ingredients for shoppers to take home and cook themselves.

Rock Town Distillery is bringing home even more accolades against international competition. At The Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York, Rock Town’s Arkansas Bourbon scored a 93 out of 100 to land in the “Excellent: Highly Recommended” category. But because it’s sometimes difficult to tell what judges thought based on scores alone, it helps to see whom Rock Town beat out. Arkansas bourbon was rated higher than Pappy Van Winkle 20 Years Old, Four Roses Single Barrel, Buffalo Trace, and Old Fitzgerald 11 Years Old. Those are some of the dominant names in the bourbon business. Rock Town’s Sour Mash scored a 91 as well. Our hats are off to Rock Town Distillery for the impressive job they continue doing. By the way, stop by the distillery some time for Rock Town’s latest creation: Watermelon Vodka. It’s at the taproom now and will be in stores next week.

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The poke craze is coming to Conway. Poke Hula has announced plans to open a third location in Conway in the coming months. It’s only been a couple of months since the first Poke Hula opened on 3rd Street downtown, but the business is undergoing some very aggressive expansion. Poke Hula is set to open in the Heights neighborhood in the next few weeks in the former Red Mango location; we’ll let you know when that spot is ready. Poke Hula hasn’t released any details on the Conway spot; no address or phone number or estimated opening date.

And a quick word now from our favorite barbecue competition. B Street Rib Off is moving the location for its event on April 21. The contest will now be held in the 500 block of Main Street in Argenta, where it has been held in previous years. That lot is expected to be under construction soon, but that wont’ happen before the ribs hit the smoker. B Street Rib Off will host a record 27 competitors cooking ribs and chicken. The event opens to the public at 11 a.m.

Details are finally starting to come together for the upcoming Sauced restaurant. Opening is set for mid-May and the kitchen team is coming together, here are the full details.

And maybe it’s time to bring back the progressive dinner. We take a look at some ways you can enjoy a fun night of restaurant-hopping in the SoMa neighborhood.

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Rumbles: Trio’s Strawberry Shortcake is Back, The Pantry Turns 9, Rock Town Honors