by Max Brantley
Some exciting stuff is happening over at the Capital Hotel, weeks away from reopening after a top-to-bottom renovation and expansion. We're interested in the kitchen, where chef Lee Richardson has been working on the Stephens payroll for a year to perfect new menus for hotel restaurants and banquets. Richardson, whose background includes John Besh's heralded New Orleans restaurant, has been traveling the state seeking local products for a dressed-up menu that promises to put a bit of haute cuisine polish on the likes of Arkansas apples and non-factory-farmed pork. Just to give you a small taste, this Brian Chilson photograph shows Richardson with a plate of barbecued pork belly. We hear that a lunch of pork knuckle and turnip greens was cheerfully received at a private luncheon for Stephens money managers. Soon, you, too, can try it out. David Koon, who can wax lyrical about Arkansas food, will be reporting more on this for the Times soon.