In a short time, wounds will begin to heal in downtown Conway. You know the ones. Something Brewing and Michelangelo’s — two places both well-loved by their own crowds of regulars — went out of business not long ago. But those locations are not fated to sit empty or to be remodeled and mangled to house some ill-advised business plan. No, fortunately, both are welcoming new restaurants that ought to fit right in.
Last week I talked to Carl Garrett, owner of Table Mesa Bistro. You may recall my rave review of the restaurant’s Bentonville location in July before I had any idea they were coming to Conway. Garrett is a transplant from Seattle who has lived five years in Arkansas. He said the interior of the restaurant is getting a bit of new paint, and it should be ready to open by Oct. 21.
He said, “The menu is modern Latin with bold, rich flavors. It’s a mix where Pacific Northwest meets south of the border. It has a bit of a west coast flare. We’ve taken those flavors and incorporated them with our love of the Southwest and foods from Mexico and even the Mediterranean. It’s a nice blend. Everything is made from scratch with a lot of hard work and a lot of passion. We go all out to make our food very, very fresh.”
He added the restaurant uses Petit Jean bacon and is interested in forming relationships with other local vendors. The company just earned a gluten-free certification and is fine tuning its menu for customers with food allergies to nuts, soy and wheat, he said.
The Patio Café
Casey and Lisa Covington were regulars at Something Brewing when it closed. It also happens they had always thought about opening their own restaurant, and not long ago they helped Lisa’s father open a bar and grill. Both of them have experience in food service. Add all that to one great location, and you get The Patio Café.
I had the opportunity to walk through the entirety of the building, which has been cleaned from top to bottom, repaired in a few places and given a new coat of paint inside. A new color scheme and a few different light fixtures make it look like a different place.
If you don’t like change, however, here are a few things that should feel familiar. The menu will include coffee and espresso drinks, pastries, scones and muffins. Coffee lovers will be glad to know they sampled several different companies’ wares before selecting a vendor. The Patio Café will offer a house coffee and a flavored coffee of the day, Casey said. The couple plans to use family recipes made from scratch to offer daily specials like chicken fried steak, chocolate gravy on the weekends, as well as every day favorites like hand-pattied burgers.
They expect to open in about three weeks and will be open Tuesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. As they grow, they hope to expand those hours. You can visit them on Facebook.
As always, email me with any questions. Have a great week.
(Rachel Parker Dickerson is a freelance columnist/journalist. Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org)