Delicious Food & Brew News for Central Arkansas


Your Whispers staff has some luscious food and brew news, beginning with:

 Flyway Brewing Co. of North Little Rock will be one of the restaurants coming to the soon-to-be-redeveloped and re-envisioned Breckenridge Village at 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road in Little Rock, recently purchased by a group led by Little Rock’s Keet family.

Flyway will open a gastropub at the shopping center. No brewing will take place there. Brayan Mcfadden, the chef at Brood & Barley in North Little Rock, a project of Flyway Brewing, will be developing the menu for the restaurant, Tommy Keet tells us.

 Count Porkula BBQ at the Crossroads at 201 Keightley Drive in Little Rock, the former Ozark Country Restaurant and the old Ozark Mountain Smokehouse location, is scheduled to open in fall 2022, Keet says.

Kelly Lovell and Walt Todd are the owners of Count Porkula, which has locations at The Railyard at 1212 E. Sixth St. in Little Rock and at 10840 Maumelle Blvd. in North Little Rock.

The Maumelle Boulevard location opened June 2, and we’re told it’s going gangbusters.

 DeLuca’s Pizzeria of Hot Springs is all but certain to open a location in Breckenridge Village with plans to be in operation within the next 12 to 14 months.

 The lease has been signed for a Waldo’s Chicken & Beer at the Gateway Town Center in Little Rock. It will be at the site of a former David’s Burgers. Keet expects that Waldo’s to open in early 2023.

The common denominator in these developments is the Keet family’s JTJ Restaurants, whose chairman, Jim, said when announcing the Breckenridge purchase in May, “The group intends to bring back the glory days of Breckenridge and revitalize it with a diverse combination of restaurants and other retail spaces.” Jim Keet’s sons, Tommy and Jake, are partners in JTJ Restaurants.

Count Porkula’s Lovell and Todd are teaming with JTJ Restaurants (operator of Cypress Social in North Little Rock and a number of Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe and Waldo’s Chicken & Beer restaurants) and Fresh Hospitality, the restaurant group based in Nashville, Tennessee, that is behind the Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe and Waldo’s concepts, along with a number of other restaurant brands.

Jim Keet tells us his restaurant company has plans for at least seven new restaurants in the next year.

And in the everything is related (at least in Arkansas) category, Fresh Hospitality has brought one of its restaurant concepts, Big Bad Breakfast, to Little Rock, with Ben Brainard as the operating partner. A soft opening for the restaurant, at 101 S. Bowman Road, was planned for last weekend.

Michael Bodnar, the chairman of Fresh Hospitality, is a longtime business associate and friend of Jim Keet.

Brainard, a former partner in Local Lime and Heights Taco & Tamale, grew up with Tommy Keet. The Keets “made the connection with me and Fresh Hospitality out of Nashville,” Brainard said.