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What's cooking/capsule reviews

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What's cooking J's Place, the West Little Rock burger, catfish and shake restaurant just off Rodney Parham Road on Market Street, will open its downtown location July 18 at the corner of Sixth and Center streets. The downtown location will serve breakfast and will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. No alcohol will be served downtown, but otherwise the menu will be similar to the offerings out west. Capsule review SONIC DRIVE-IN Sonic has opened its first eat-in restaurant in Little Rock, and we’re surprised there aren’t more of this ilk. The restaurant is built to look like a garage, with a huge open front leading to a patio with umbrella-covered tables not too far, but far enough, from Cantrell Road. They keep the air cranked up, so that even on a hot day, the interior is cool. We felt like we were eating outside — only it was about 68 degrees, instead of the boiling hot reality. Cars drive the decor; huge photographs — a Ferrari, 1962 Impala, a DeLorean, an ’81 Ford — and lots of hubcaps were hung on the walls. We sat at a soft yellow leather booth and ordered by phone and got the familiar Sonic meal one gets outside. No surprises. A great vanilla malt, a good cheeseburger, and tots — which we ate instead of putting in our pockets, thank you very much Mr. Napoleon Dynamite — came our way. Our friend was more adventurous and tried the Santa Fe Grilled Chicken Salad, which he gave up on after all the chicken was gone (he should have chosen the barbecue dressing instead of light ranch). He also sipped a great big blue Ocean, which is not saltwater but is a variation on Sprite with Sonic’s blue coconut flavoring. Indoors, condiments are brought to you by a lady carrying a tray. She also offered us “appetizers” — little cups of ice cream and strawberry slushes. Only in America. We ordered a junior banana split – 99 cents and teenintsy — and onion rings so our tab ran to $15. But a corn dog, at 99 cents, can’t be beat, and the breakfast burritos are actually quite good. 2917 Cantrell Road. $$ CC No alcohol.

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