Central Arkansas has had a good run lately on the Food Network. Donnie Ferneau and Amanda Ivy competed on The Great Food Truck Race, Ivy went solo on Guy’s Grocery Games, and recently six Little Rock-area restaurants were featured on the network’s flagship Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Now, there’s a new Food Network competition show that has just debuted, and it will soon feature Bryant’s own Carmen Portillo of Cocoa Belle Chocolates. The show is called Bake You Rich, hosted by Buddy Valastro of Carlo’s Bakery in New York. Four competitors battle through three rounds for the chance to have their pastry sold by Carlo’s to millions of customers worldwide. Episode 1 aired this past weekend but did not feature Portillo. She can’t tell us when she will be on yet, but you can always check the Cocoa Belle Facebook page for the exact episode and air date. Bake You Rich airs Sundays at 9 p.m. (so you can change the channel as soon as Game of Thrones rolls credits).
A big congratulations to North Little Rock’s Gadwall’s Grill on celebrating 30 years in business, here is a deeper look at their past 30 years. The much-loved all-day diner is throwing a party this weekend to thank its loyal customers. All beverages on Friday and Saturday will be $1, including domestic beers. Fries will come on the side of every entrée for just 30 cents. Gadwalls is run by Bart and Shea Bryant, who grew up working in the restaurant under their mother Karen Bryant, who owned Gadwall’s Grill along with her sister. Gadwall’s will be closed on Easter Sunday.
The 35th Annual International Greek Food Festival is a month away, but for the first time ever you have a chance to check out the menu well in advance. The festival is hosting a preview tasting event for visitors to sample this year’s six new menu items on Wednesday, May 1, at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. For $20 per person, you’ll get to try out the gyro salad, improved Greek salad, Olympic sundae, OPAtizer plate, ouzo cake and “vegeterranean” plate. That $20 admission also include wine and beer for the evening. You are encouraged to purchase your ticket in advance. If you miss the preview dinner, don’t worry. The festival itself returns on May 17.
Arkansas Brews Cruise has a special tour planned for next weekend that will go to a very good cause. The company is holding another Meet the Brewer tour, this time with Odell Thomas of Flyway Brewing. The tour will hit Flyway, Rebel Kettle and Stone’s Throw, and includes a behind-the scenes look at each facility with plenty of beer tastings. Odell is a charismatic draw and will make for a fun tour guide. Plus, half you ticket price will be donated to STOP (Students That Officially Patrol), an organization that teaches students leadership and education skills. The tour is Friday, April 26 starting at 4 p.m. Tickets are $75 and are available online.