Monthly Archives: September 2013

Outstanding in the Field returns with Little Rock chefs Matt Bell, Alexis Jones

Foodies with $180 to spare will want to mark their calendars for Oct. 10 when roving dinner party Outstanding in the Field returns to Arkansas.

The dinner will take place at Delta Sol Farm in Proctor (near West Memphis) and feature food prepared by Little Rock and Memphis chefs led by Kelly English of Memphis’ Restaurant Iris along with Memphis chefs Andrew Ticers and Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Jonathan Magallanes of Las Tortugas. Repping Little Rock will be Matt Bell of South on Main and Alexis Jones of Natchez. (If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out our recent Q&A with Jones here.)

Outstanding in the Field 2012 in Scott, Arkansas. Photo by Arshia Kahn

Outstanding in the Field 2012 in Scott, Arkansas at Scott Heritage Farm. Photo by Arshia Khan

Outstanding in the field travels around North American in a red ’53 bus to do ultra farm-to-table dinners. The group was last in Arkansas in September 2012 for a dinner in Scott, Arkansas. (Check out some stellar photos from the dinner at Scott Heritage Farm, by Arshia Khan here)

The Oct. 10 meal will be a mix of “Old World Italian, French-Creole and Mexican street food cooking styles” OITF founder Jim Denevan said in … Read more >

Cafe 5501 tries new approach after RJ Tao doesn’t take hold

Let’s take a minute to talk about the concept of re-concepting.

Sometimes, no matter how much money, planning and decorating go into a project, a restaurant concept just doesn’t meld with the neighborhood it calls home. Such was definitely the case with the sleek, club-like look of RJ Tao, the short-lived sushi-and-steak concept that once occupied the space at 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd. in The Heights. It’s hard to make a nightlife venture work in a stretch of businesses anchored by longstanding kitchen supply and yarn stores, guys. It just is.

RJ Tao’s owners—the same family behind mainstays like Sushi Cafe and Chi’s Dim Sum—recognized that the concept would be better suited for downtown, and so a revamp was ordered. Cafe 5501 was born.

Owner Robert Tju says that a new RJ Tao will open in the River Market area within the next six months, but declined to reveal the exact location.

RJ Tao may be gone, but the new concept, Cafe 5501, hasn't changed much more than the menu

RJ Tao may be gone, but the new concept, Cafe 5501, hasn’t changed much more than the menu

In the meantime, he’s hoping the neighborhood will respond to the new incarnation of the sprawling, 5,000 square foot-plus space. While a grand opening for Cafe 5501 will not take place … Read more >

About that 16.9 ounce beer rule in Arkansas…

In Arkansas, the sale of single beers less than 16.9 ounces is prohibited

In Arkansas, the sale of single beers less than 16.9 ounces is prohibited

There’s been a bit of buzz lately about an alcohol distribution rule previously overlooked by some retailers in Little Rock. Being new to the area, I hadn’t seen any signage about the rule myself. Then again, I hadn’t tried to buy a single, either.

Here’s the breakdown:

An Alcoholic Beverage Control Division regulation prohibiting the sale of single containers less than 16.9 ounces is being more strictly enforced after an anonymous tip notified ABC of stores selling single 12-ounce beers.

ABC Director Michael Langley was unable to provide information on when the order was first issued and by whom, but says that it has been in place since he came on as director in 2007, and it has been modified and reissued over the years.

The current order, signed on Aug. 8, 2012, stipulates that beers less than 16.9 ounces cannot be sold as singles. Sixteen-ounce beers must be sold in pairs and anything less than 15.2 ounces must be sold in groups of at least three. The three beers can be different styles, brands and prices, Langley says, but must be brought to the register in … Read more >