After hearing rumors that David Bennett, long-time Executive Chef and General Manager of Hillcrest favorite Vieux Carre, would be turning over the reigns of his Southern-style bistro, I hoped that perhaps they were unfounded. Vieux Carre is one of Little Rock's top spots for brunch, lunch, and Creole-influenced cuisine that has become one of my favorite places in town to eat. Chef Bennett's mother Linda e-mailed me today, however, and confirmed my worst fears: come April 1, Vieux Carre will be under new ownership with a new chef.
Following the trend for businessmen to get into the Hillcrest dining scene started by Rocket 21 owner Frank Fletcher, Vieux Carre's new owner is Joe Gillespie, owner of Revolution Fitness and FIX, a computer repair business in the Heights. Handling the cooking duties as Executive Chef at Vieux Carre will be Greg Wallis, most recently of YaYa's Euro Bistro in West Little Rock. He'll have some big shoes to fill. Still, such changes can be exciting, and I'll be sure to approach the new chef's menu with an open mind and empty stomach.
Linda Bennett says that her son is "looking forward to spending more time with his family and hopes to find a spot where he can cook, be creative and not be tied down 7 days a week managing bar and restaurant." Best of luck to Chef Bennett, from all of us here at Eat Arkansas, and rest assured that if he remains in the Little Rock area and wants to cook, we'll be more than ready to eat.