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Yellow Rocket Concepts Combine Partnerships

2 min read

Yellow Rocket Concepts is a brand that includes several different partnerships.

Scott McGehee, John Beachboard and Russ McDonough became equal partners in both ZaZas (Little Rock and Conway) and both Big Oranges (west Little Rock and Midtown) after McDonough bought out Herren Hickingbotham’s share in the restaurants in the fall of 2013.

Local Lime and Heights Taco are shared among four equal partners: McGehee, Beachboard and McDonough and Ben Brainard, chef at Local Lime.

Lost Forty consists of an equal partnership among McGehee, Beachboard, McDonough and Little Rock businessman Albert Braunfisch, CEO of Mail South Inc.

And as with any good partnership, each member of the McGehee-Beachboard-McDonough triumvirate plays a different role.

A 2001 Hendrix College graduate, Beachboard spent four years working at restaurants like Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Bacar in San Francisco. He returned to Arkansas and met McGehee when Beachboard started working at Boulevard Bread Co., which McGehee had opened in 1999. Beachboard rose to sous chef, working under McGehee for about three years.

Beachboard was instrumental in the opening of Boulevard Bread locations at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and in the River Market District. He left Boulevard in April 2007 to become executive chef at Valentine’s Ballpark Restaurant, leaving there in 2008 to partner with McGehee in developing ZaZa, Big Orange and the other Yellow Rocket restaurants.

Launching Lost Forty Brewing has occupied much of Beachboard’s time for the past year. Beachboard is on the operations side of Yellow Rocket and is responsible for ensuring consistency and quality, as well as improving kitchen processes. “Usually, as soon as a restaurant is open, I’m pretty much there seven days a week full time,” he said.

McDonough describes himself as the “big picture” guy: “Business strategy. Finance. HR. How we manage our growth. How we finance it.”

McDonough has an extensive background in real estate and publishing. He’s a broker with Colliers International-Arkansas and was president and CEO of Winrock Enterprises. McDonough also owned the At Home magazines, selling them for an undisclosed sum in 2005 to Network Communications Inc. of Lawrenceville, Georgia. And he helped bring the Oxford American from Mississippi to Little Rock in 2002.

McGehee is the son of Frank McGehee, one of the forces behind the Blue Mesa Grill and Juanita’s. After training under chef Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, he launched Boulevard Bread in 1999. McGehee sold Boulevard in 2008 to focus on new projects; those included ZaZa first in 2008 and then Big Orange, Local Lime and the rest.

McGehee is the creative director on the culinary side of Yellow Rocket’s operations.

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