For anyone who has been anxiously awaiting the opening date of Pasta Grill on Front Street, I have good news. The restaurant will officially open sometime this week, likely Thursday, although they could pull a fast one and make it happen earlier.

The building, which, if I had to guess, will no longer be known as "the one that has been so many different restaurants" has been completely transformed. You will not recognize it once you step inside.

From the stained concrete to the new light fixtures, everything coordinates beautifully.

My husband came with me to check out the finished space and I raved that I wanted to decorate our home in just that manner. I think I may have said that about another Italian restaurant in town once. How predictable of me.

Those of you who read this column regularly are familiar with my fondness for coffee drinks and my opinion that such drinks should be available for purchase at locations no farther apart than approximately every one-tenth of a mile.

With this in mind, you can imagine how quickly I raced downtown to try out the latest such location as soon as I heard it existed.

Jasper’z Java, located within Branch Out Paint Bar and Boutique, 1116 Oak St. in Downtown Conway, has been serving frothy lattes, hot teas and the like for a couple of weeks.

Named in honor of the paint bar’s mascot, Jasper the owl, the coffee shop is a part of the family business that is Branch Out. However, the inspiration for serving coffee at that location reportedly came from people downtown saying they wanted it. I couldn’t be more pleased that the inhabitants of downtown Conway share my way of thinking.

Jasper’z Java serves Airship Coffee, roasted in northwest Arkansas. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and later whenever painting is going on.

Keep an eye out for Monrow, a new boutique opening next to Village Books in The Village at Hendrix. Caroline LeVan of Conway said she is modeling the store after Scarlet in Little Rock, where she has interned and has received mentoring from the owners.

"There’s such a difference of how people dress in Little Rock and Conway, and it really shouldn’t be that way," she said. "You can ask anyone in Little Rock where the hottest boutique is, and they would tell you Scarlet. I wanted to bring that to Conway."

The boutique will also have a small salon in the back. Monrow is scheduled to open in late November.

You may reach Rachel Dickerson at