From national exposure to local flavors, this edition of A Look Forward will keep you up-to-date on the new restaurants and businesses in our area.

According to Fox, “Gordon Ramsey’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back” episode featuring Bears Den Pizza is scheduled to air Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. Chef Ramsey came to Conway back in November, revamping the pizza restaurant located on Farris Road. Unfortunately, if you are a DISH customer, you are still out of luck as Fox 16 has not returned to that satellite provider yet.

Emerge, a locally-owned women’s formal dress shop owned by Renee Lawrence Stone, plans to open its new flagship store in downtown Conway in the historic 1023 Oak Street Building that formerly housed Kordsmeier Furniture. A Grand Opening and ribbon cutting will take place in March. The store, which specializes in formal attire for women, is currently located in the Conway Towne Center.

Conway is getting a new Bath and Body Works in the Conway Commons next door to Old Navy. The store should be open sometime in April. Conway currently has a Bath and Body Works location in the Conway Towne Centre.

Taco Local, which has been serving Mexican fare out of a food truck at 154 S Broadview in Greenbrier, is expected to open its restaurant north of Greenbrier this month. Sergio Reyes has been working on this project for several months. The location is in the former B.F. Smith & Sons Saddlery.

Although it’s been awhile getting started, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has begun site work on its new location at 175 E. Oak Street across from Colton’s. The $600,000 restaurant will be 1,558-square-feet.

According to Arkansas Business, about a dozen Arby’s restaurants in the central Arkansas area will be undergoing renovations. According to the news release, diners will see “upgraded exteriors, new authentic textures, multi-color wood materials, modern lighting and chalkboard graphics.” The renovations will take place two restaurants at a time and were expected to remain open throughout the project.

Patticakes Downtown, 1137 Front, will hold a ribbon cutting Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 10 a.m. This new location offers European style pastries like croissants and ciabatta with more scratch breads being added in the future. Guests can enjoy free samples while touring this new 6,000-square-foot patisserie.

The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and the Morrilton Chamber of Commerce are combining forces to welcome UACCM’s new chancellor, Lisa Willenberg, at the first “Off the Clock” event for 2020. Willenberg is the first female chancellor of the college and the fourth leader of the school since it opened in 1963.

The Thursday, Feb. 27, 5-7 p.m. event will be held in the new 53,843-square-foot, $13 million Workforce Training Center that opened at UACCM in 2018. The facility has classrooms and lab space for auto service technology, welding, HVAC, and industrial maintenance and mechanics technology.

Guests will enjoy great food from local restaurants and live music from the Akeem Kemp Band as well as tours of the facility. No RSVP is required and the event is free.

I will be launching a new column in Winc Magazine starting with the March issue which comes out March 1. The column, “Local Flavors,” will feature locally owned restaurants in the Faulkner County area. It will be in a Q&A format with the owners of the restaurant sharing their visions as well as their favorite dishes.

O’Malley’s Irish Grill, which plans to open within the next couple of weeks, will be the first feature as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and the “luck of the Irish.”

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