Table Matters: Maid-Rite from Fort Smith to Bentonville?

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 257 views 

Soon, shoppers at Pinnacle Promenade will be able to pick up almost-ready-to-eat gourmet dinners, candy, flowers and more luxury grocery items on their way home.

Plans have been submitted for The Fresh Market to occupy the massive 20,700-plus-square-foot space that’s been empty since the Borders bookstore closed amid a mass of store closings this time last year. For those who’ve forgotten, Borders was at 2203 Promenade Blvd., Suite 12100, facing Interstate 540 on the outer edge of the promenade.

John Donahue, plans examiner for the city of Rogers, declared the space will be “one packed building” with a European market-style presentation of the chain supermarket’s unique and hard-to-find products. Offerings include a meat and seafood counter; a full service deli; an extensive cheese counter; a bakery; a florist/gift shop; a wide selection of beer, wine and spirits; as well as groceries, frozen foods, dairy products, coffee, candy, bulk foods and produce. Epicureans and culinary practitioners of every skill level are sure to flip.

The Greensboro, N.C.-based company’s website has yet to list the Rogers location, only one on Cantrell Road in Little Rock. There’s no word yet on when The Fresh Market may open.

The Fresh Market is not Publix, but they are publicly traded on the NASDAQ under TFM

To catch a Flying Fish
The Flying Fish, a casual, down-home fish joint is “weeks away” from opening at 109-A N.W. Second St. in Bentonville, just south of the Harps Food Store off the city square.

The menu looks scrumptious, perhaps too much so. With fried catfish, shrimp, oysters, as well as crab, gumbo, burgers, crawfish, chicken, po’boys and grilled fish, deciding can’t be easy. Offerings include plenty of kid-type fare, and beer, wine and homemade margaritas for the big kids.

While you wait, there’s plenty of patron-inspired fishermen’s paraphernalia to look at, such as contributions to the restaurant’s Billy Bass Adoption Wall.

From their perch in Dallas, owners Shannon Wynne and Larry Richardson operate seven Flying Fish restaurants and 15 Flying Saucer restaurant/bars. Marketing Director Gabe Cardinale said the partners have longtime friends who live in the area.

“And with the rejuvenation of Bentonville’s downtown, they wanted to be a part of it,” Cardinale said.

Flying Fish made its Arkansas debut in Little Rock’s River Market District, in 2002. A Flying Saucer landed in the same area prior to that.

Maid-Rite all the way up the corridor
January saw the opening of Maid-Rite in Fort Smith, at 3895 Phoenix Ave., where the Cricket Wireless used to be at the Fort Smith Pavilion.

Now President and CEO Bradley Burt tells us he was in Northwest Arkansas as recently as last week looking at locations in Van Buren, Fayetteville and Bentonville.

“It’s economically prosperous. It’s a growth area,” explained Bradley.

He also recognized the demographic as it pertains to Maid-Rite’s average meal price of $7. He said folks in our area, many of whom are two-income families, tend to eat out often. An order can be placed, made and filled in just three minutes, Burt said.

Maid-Rite sandwiches are made with loose hamburger meat, but without the sauce. It’s kind of like a dry but seasoned Sloppy Joe. If you don’t turn it into a specialty sandwich — such as the Taco Maid-Rite, the BBQ-Texas Rite or the Chili Cheese-Rite, each burger contains just 415 calories.

The local franchisees are Rod and Lisa Calhoun with partner Jon Hagedorn — information that Burt was able to pull off the top of his head despite the fact he has 70 restaurants in 14 states. Maid-Rite was founded 86 years ago in Des Moines, Iowa.

Kids pick the darndest things
The Bleu Monkey Grill, began in Hot Springs two years ago by cousins Ozzy and Joey Godoy, is slated to open March 26 in the old Oseguera’s location, 1100 48th Place (near the corner Interstate 540 and U.S. 412).

When trying to think of a name for the place, the guys did what anyone might do: made a list of suggestions and asked their kids to choose. Thus, the Bleu Monkey Grill.

Joey Godoy, born and raised in Chicago, describes the eatery as a family restaurant (the owners have five kids between them) with flavors they’ve chosen while traveling around the country. The menu includes everything from avacado rolls and tamale cakes as appetizers to fulfilling entrees such as steaks, ribs, carne asada, salmon serveral ways and the namesake Bleu Monkey shrimp.