Restaurant openings are coming fast and frequently this summer in the Little Rock area, and we have three to tell you about this week. First is the newly opened El Mezcal in Hillcrest, in the building that once housed Afterthought Bar and Bistro. Partners Ramiro Valadez and Vicente Hernandez have done an impressive amount of work on the space, which had been left in disrepair when they took over. It’s taken less than seven months to go from having no floors in the building to grand opening. El Mezcal has a different feel from most Arkansas Tex-Mex restaurants, with black leather seats and chandelier light fixtures. The restaurant is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. The restaurant is a cousin to the chain of Cantina Cinco de Mayo restaurants in Central Arkansas.
And just behind El Mezcal, the fourth location of Ohia Poke is almost ready to open. Owner Au Tran is opening the latest spot in the same space that once housed Izard Chocolate. The poke restaurant is a build-your-own-bowl experience for guests, and the limited amount of space plus the walking neighborhood likely means this location will see plenty of to-go business. Ohia Poke opened its first location last year downtown and his since opened spots in the Promenade and in Conway. The Hillcrest location should be ready in the coming days.
Currently open for business is the Little Rock location of the Hot Springs-based Bone’s Chophouse. The new restaurant has taken over on Rahling Road in the spot that once belonged to Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse. Bone’s Chophouse is a classic steakhouse with an a la carte menu and plenty of menu items for those who don’t want to eat beef. The menu in Little Rock is largely the same as the Central Avenue spot in Hot Springs. Bone’s Chophouse is open seven days a week for dinner only, along with a Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Wunderhaus in Conway has a dream dinner pairing this evening when it hosts Ralston Family Farms for a special, five-course rice dinner. If you don’t know, Ralston grows some of the best rice in Arkansas (or anywhere else for that matter), and Wunderhaus is a fantastic farm-to-table restaurant that is fiercely devoted to using local products. The combination should be something special, with dishes like purple rice risotto, golden rice arancini and jasmine dolmas. The dinner is $65 per person, and there are still some seats available. If you don’t have dinner plans for tonight, you really should consider giving this one a shot. Call 501-358-6806 to reserve your seat.
Diners in Saline County will be missing Verona Italian Restaurant for the month of July. The restaurant is closing for the month to undergo some renovations. Verona is one of the better dining choices in Benton, with solid Italian recipes and fresh ingredients. While Verona is closed, its sister restaurant My Little Pizzeria on Salem Road will remain open as usual.
The hot days of summer have many of us reaching for a beer to help cool us down. The Rock City staff picked out its favorite easy-drinking beers made in Central Arkansas to keep you refreshed.