Browning's To Close; McGehee Partnership Plans Restaurant

Yellow Rocket Concepts, the Little Rock restaurant partnership, is opening the Heights Taco & Tamale Co. in the space now occupied by Browning's Mexican Grill at 5805 Kavanaugh Blvd. in the Heights.

Yellow Rocket — whose partners are Scott McGehee, John Beachboard and Russ McDonough — is the parent company of Big Orange Burgers + Salads & Shakes, Local Lime Tacos & Margaritas and ZaZa Fine Salad & Wood Oven Pizza Co.

BMG Group LLC of Little Rock, owner of Browning's, and Yellow Rocket each issued press releases Tuesday about the new restaurant.

BMG, led by Stephen Davis, said that it has entered into a sale and lease arrangement for the restaurant and premises of Browning's Mexican Grill to the Heights Taco & Tamale Co. Browning's will remain open through June and will reopen as the Heights Taco & Tamale Co. in the late summer or early fall of 2014, both BMG and Yellow Rocket said.       

Browning's was founded in 1946 by J.T. Browning and his son-in-law Boyd Montgomery. The restaurant was one of the first Mexican restaurants in central Arkansas. Browning's was a Heights institution for many years but closed for a spell in 2010, reopening in 2011 after a renovation under BMG auspices.

The restaurant "has enjoyed three great years from many very loyal customers," BMG said. 

"Scott and his team have consistently developed some of the best restaurant concepts in Little Rock in recent years, and I’m confident that their new venture will be something special. It has been very rewarding to have participated in the evolution of the historic Browning's, and despite the end of that era, I’m very excited for the future of great Tex-Mex in the Heights," Davis said in the release. 

Yellow Rocket Concepts said: "HT&T’s menu is an exciting, vibrant mix of authentic Mexican and Spanish dishes prepared Texas-style. Our mouth-watering TexMex menu, created by YRC Executive Chef Scott McGehee, will feature classic dishes such as House Made Tamales, Burritos, Nachos and Churros with a modern flair, commitment to locally produced goods and excellent service that YRC restaurants have become known for," the Yellow Rocket release said.

"Working with tamales in our test kitchen last fall inspired me to revisit the recipes my father created during his days as co-owner and co-creator of Blue Mesa Grill and Juanita’s," Scott McGehee, executive chef of YRC, said in the release. "The days spent with him and the food we ate during that time made such a huge impact on me personally and professionally.

"I’m developing this menu to accomplish several things: to pay homage to the quality of food he [McGehee’s father, Frank McGehee] loved and helped produce, to carry on the tradition of great TexMex in the Heights and to be small enough so we can experiment with creative specials, yet large enough to make sure everyone can enjoy their new favorite HT&T dish anytime."