When times get tough, it’s easy to see who the good people are. It’s been increasingly apparent in two different stories this week. First, Trio’s Restaurant chef and owner Capi Peck has been leading a drive to provide food for the TSA employees who are currently working without pay at the Little Rock aiport during the partial government shutdown. Peck has coordinated with dozens of Little Rock restaurants to donate, cook and provide meals for the furloughed workers. Her coalition is providing at least 50 breakfasts and 50 lunches a day. The shutdown is now more than a month long, and as you can imagine that has made lives very difficult for the affected federal employees and their families. Peck is also coordinating a gift card donation drive that anybody can help with. If you are interested in helping out, you can send a check to Congregation B’nai Israel at 3700 Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, AR 72212. Make checks payable to “Congregation B’nai Israel-Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund-TSA.”
The other kind soul helping those in need this week is Kyle Pounders of Excaliburger. Pounders was helping at the Camp fire in Chico, Calif., when he met José Tores of Teddy Malibu’s, a food truck that was destroyed in the fire. Tores found himself unable to care for his wife and children, but that’s when Pounders stepped in. Pounders has launched Food Trucks for Teddy, a drive aimed at getting Tores back on his feet. Pounders has enlisted food trucks around the country to sell Teddy Malibu’s buttons for $5 each. He has also created a list of equipment needed to rebuild the truck in case somebody wants to donate it. And if all that wasn’t enough, Pounders is letting Tores use Excaliburger to sell his food until the campaign is finished. This is a remarkably selfless gesture that will hopefully get a man and his family back on their feet. If you want to help out, visit the Food Trucks for Teddy website.
Head chef Amanda Ivy at Sauced Bar and Oven has announced she is leaving the restaurant next month to focus on her Low Ivy Catering and food truck. In a statement on Facebook, Ivy said she was proud of the work she had done at Sauced and of her team’s efforts during the restaurant’s first year. You won’t have to wait long to find Ivy around town; Low Ivy is open today from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. at The Rail Yard in East Village. Ivy trained at Pulaski Tech and has worked at several places around town, including The Southern Gourmasian, Heights Taco and Tamale Co., The 1836 Club and Old Mill Bread Company. She also has provided desserts for The Fold, Raduno and Skye’s Bistro.
Nori Menegaldo of Zaffino’s by Nori in Sherwood is back at home after a health scare last week. Nori developed a painful abscess that required surgery in Little Rock. Her son, Zaffino’s general manager Michael Fryar, tells me that his mother is in good spirits but still needs to rest before returning to work. He also mentioned that she was still giving out orders before going under for surgery, which will surprise nobody who knows her. Nori will be back at Zaffino’s as soon as her recovery allows it.
Oh, and one more thing. If you have a restaurant you want to be at for Valentine’s Day dinner, stop what you’re doing and go make reservations right now. You’re welcome.
Little Rock is ready for Minute Man to return home. In our most-viewed story this month, we take a look at how the legendary Arkansas restaurant is getting back to its roots and doing a little expansion, too.
And one of Hillcrest’s mainstays just keeps getting better with each new menu. We explored the new lineup at Ciao Baci; let’s just say you need to go eat there soon.