Table Matters: Arsaga’s great crepe adventures

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 155 views 

FAYETTEVILLE — Cary Arsaga, founder of a half-dozen Arsaga’s coffee shops and once a mayoral candidate in this town, has mortgaged his house and businesses in pursuit of a cafe and creperie off Dickson Street. He’s remodeling the historic freight building, or cargo building, along the railroad tracks and walking trails that run perpendicular to Dickson.

“It’s a cool building. I love it. That’s my main motivation for wanting to do this, Arsaga said.

But forget the real estate for now. Think crepes.

Arsaga’s barista-turned-crepe maker, Daniel Estes, will be crepe manager, having mastered the art at Arsaga’s roasting warehouse off Martin Luther King Boulevard. There, Estes catered to an “underground” crowd of crepe lovers, mostly friends. The good news spread, and when folks started to line up outside the warehouse on the weekends, Arsaga knew he had to go big or make Estes go home.

Estes, most recently the manager of the Arsaga’s at the Fayetteville Public Library, is already training staff to make breakfast, lunch, supper and dessert crepes — some with meat and some without. In addition to crepes, the new Arsaga’s will offer soups, salads, wine and beer.

In the vein of Arsaga’s long-ago dream for owning and remodeling the train depot, he’s keeping with the style of the original building. He’s shooting for a June 15 opening.

The main entrance will be on the trail side of the building.

“It’s our goal to have people walk here, bike here,” Arsaga said. A patio and second entrance is planned for the east side, where there’s parking.

Car and Cindy Arsaga, an artist, also own Arsaga’s locations at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Washington Regional Medical Center, the library and one at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market.
Resurrection of Tim’s Pizza
Meanwhile, out on Fayetteville’s main drag, at 2730 N. College Ave., former Razorback football player Zac Painter has been working several months, readying the former Tim’s Pizza parlor to reopen as, yes, another pizza place.

Painter owns the Z-330 club, whose main attraction is a bar and DJ, at 330 N. West Ave. So far, we haven’t been able to reach him for a name, menu or opening date of the new place.

An epicurean’s fantasy
As part of Bentonville’s ArtsFest (May 31-June 30), host Downtown Bentonville Inc. has put together the Bentonville Culinary Festival June 4-10.

One of the participating eateries, Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie, is involved in the launch of the first-ever Serving Up James Beard promotion in Bentonville. Beard, an iconic American chef and food writer, helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of of the James Beard Foundation, restaurants across the country are serving specialty dishes for a limited time and giving $1-per-dish to the foundation for scholarships. The promotion runs through Labor Day weekend.

Kris Moon, the foundation’s director of charitable giving and strategic partnerships, said Tusk & Trotter is the only eatery in Bentonville to participate thus far, but Nelson is nudging his peers to join in.

“This program gives chefs the ability to be creative,” Moon said.

And Nelson is taking it literally. His specialties for the occasion are awe-inspiring:

“Beans and cornbread” made from a house-made duck pastrami and duck confit with cassoulet and corn casserole with duck skin vinaigrette.
 A “Canadian Bacon Chop” — a pork chop cured, then smoked to the point of being Canadian bacon and served with root-vegetable mash, sautéed arugula and sauce mostarda.
The “Ice Pick,” a house-infused orange and ginger vodka made with Sprite, simple syrup and orange juice.

The dishes will be available at Tusk & Trotter beginning Monday (May 28). Eateries in Chicago, New Mexico and several in Miami are also among those participating in this inaugural program, Moon said. The scholarships go to aspiring culinary students pursuing successful careers in the hospitality industry. 

Among restaurants participating in the Bentonville Culinary Festival are Petit Bistro, Travola Trattoria, Table Mesa Bistro, The Flying Fish and Basil’s Cafe. Festivalgoers should look for special tastings and menu items during the week of the festival.

More choices along Rogers Avenue
A new McAlister’s Deli and a Five Guys Burgers and Fries will anchor a new development known as The Plaza at 7110 owned by Rodney Ghan at 7110 Rogers Ave. So far, the only business there is an AT&T store.

With groundbreaking expected this week, the shell for the building housing the restaurants should be ready in October. Both restaurants should be open by the end of the year.

McAlister’s — known for its sandwiches, giant potatoes, salads as meals, soups, sweets and of course our signature sweet tea — will take roughly 3,900 square feet. The Washington D.C.-based Five Guys Burgers and Fries will lease about 2,500 square feet from Ghan.

A word of advice about the burger joint: study the menu in advance. The Five Guys website claims there are 250,000 ways to order a burger there.