The Little Rock restaurant industry moves around a lot. It is not surprising to see people you thought were somewhere else, now at a new space. Despite that, this spring has been even more active than normal. We think the dust has finally settled on most of the major transitions in key spots. Here is a certainly not definitive list of the folks who have moved around over the past few months.
Amanda Ivy – Old Mill Bread Co – With the original culinary team from 1836 Club going their own ways, it was inevitable that they would all land somewhere. The biggest of these transitions is Amanda Ivy, who has taken on a partnership and executive chef role with Old Mill Bread company. Initially Amanda is working on operations, but there are some major overhauls in store for Old Mill before long. She plans to work on both expanding wholesale accounts and offerings, as well as in store items. This includes a substantial menu overhaul eventually to increase the menu offerings and make Old Mill a destination place for meals.
Donnie Ferneau – No word yet on where Donnie is going, other than he is not with 1836 anymore. We hear he is working through a couple of potential ideas, one that sounds really promising, and as soon as that is settled we will bring that news.
James Hale – Capital Hotel – Also joining the Capital is former Acadia owner and chef James Hale. James’ first order of business has been a huge overhaul of the brunch program. From the initial list and photos we have seen it looks very good. We will have that menu soon.
Tim Carty – Raduno – Tim Carty, who worked previously with Heights Taco before moving out of state to Asheville for a bit, returns to Arkansas as the bar manager at Raduno. He replaces Cody Mayes who transitioned to Petit & Keet (see below).
Michael Lanphere – Raduno – Mike comes from the head chef position at Core Argenta to become the new kitchen lead at Raduno. He joins Liv Thompson’s staff here that has been steadily increasing in talent over the past year.
Rick Garrett – Core Brewing – Replacing Mike at Core is Rick Garrett. Like the previous chef, Rick will spend time first developing the menu at the Argenta location then rolling it out to the rest of the Core Public Houses. The Argenta spot continues to be the most food forward location, which helps having Rick in town to run specials and continue to work on the menu.
David Burnett – Ciao Baci – After a long stay at South on Main, David Burnett is closing the chapter in his life on bartending (for now at least) and transitioning to general manager at Ciao Baci. David replaces David Shackelford who is returning to Italy.
Sara Harrington – South on Main – Replacing David at South on Main is certainly no easy task, but the best person for the role was easily Sara Harrington. Sara steps behind the bar that she knows intimately and has already starting turning out some excellent cocktail menus and specials.
Mindy Mitchell – Agave Grill (Benton) – Mindy is on the move again after a short stint with Honey Pies to open up a new Mexican themed restaurant in Benton. Mindy is not only executive chef, but responsible for creating the entire menu from the ground up, a role she said that she could not pass up.
Saige Anderson – Rebel Kettle – Also transitioning from Honey Pies is Saige Anderson who has now joined the Rebel Kettle kitchen team that seems to be almost overflowing with talent lately. The move allows her to work on more savory items, which was a lot of her passion in cooking.
Nathan Greubel – Diamond Bear – Maybe this will be the brewer Diamond Bear finally settles on. The head brewing post has been a revolving door over the past few years. Nathan was recently making beer with the Central Arkansas Fermenters organization joins Diamond Bear as the head brewer and hopefully stabilizes what once was the largest beer producer in the state.
Petit and Keet – Finally, with any new large restaurant opening there are a lot of new hires. If your favorite restaurant is missing someone, chances are they are at Petit and Keet. We see a lot of familiar faces in there (like Cody Mayes above). Also like any new restaurant opening, expect that there will be a number of moves in and out of Petit and Keet until it settles in after a few months of opening.