Mike McNeill

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com.

Los Maguelles Mexican Grill promises on its Facebook page to open this week. Los Maguelles is the former Los Tovares Mexican Grill and Cantina, which closed its doors at the Peace Shopping Center last week. People are excited about Los Maguelles because it is reopening in the location of the legendary Chatterbox Restaurant just off the square in Magnolia. CLICK HERE to see Los Maguelles Mexican Grill page on Facebook.

There has been a lot of activity in the past week related to Mule Kick LLC, a planned 3,000-square-foot restaurant and entertainment center at 2158 N. Jackson. TES Enterprise, Inc., sold the property to Mule Kick for $160,000. Mule Kick managing member Christy Ouei has taken out a $450,000 mortgage with Farmers Bank for the project, secured by the North Jackson property and by the property that was the former location of The Station and Emerson Service Center in Taylor. Earthwork has begun for Mule Kick.

Sam’s Southern Eatery & Seafood lasted not quite three months in Magnolia at the former Larry’s Pizza on East Main Street. The restaurant opened August 13, and it closed last week. There is a “for rent” sign on the building. Sam’s is a regional chain that specializes in po’boys and burgers, seafood and chicken. We ate at Sam’s a couple of times and can report that to us, it was average. There was nothing in our mind that set it apart from any other restaurant in the area selling baked or fried seafood. So now there is a ready location available if you are inclined to jump into the local restaurant market, in addition to the former Los Tovares.

A friend suggests that she won’t eat at another restaurant without making a trip through the kitchen first. Not the worst idea ever. Offering a kitchen tour could be a selling point for new and established restaurants. During our recent supper at Alinea’s in Chicago, we noticed that there was a glass-enclosed dining room IN the kitchen. Of course, the room’s reservation runs into four figures. We’re simply happy with restaurants that don’t wind up on the health inspection report.

Almost every major business in town has “help wanted” signs out.

Media news in South Arkansas. Two online websites in Hope have merged. Two-year-old HempsteadHerald.com has merged with SWARKToday.com, made up of refugees from the recently shuttered Hope Star newspaper. The two publications are going under the SWARKToday.com brand. HopePrescott.com also remains in operation. John Schirmer, who owns the weekly Nashville News-Leader, says he will launch the Arkadelphia Dispatch by month's end as a weekly newspaper to replace the shuttered Arkadelphia Siftings-Herald. The editor will be one of our former colleagues from our El Dorado News-Times days in the late 1970s, Bill Sutley. We’ve spoken with a couple of people in the Arkadelphia area who are interested in online news websites, but no site has been launched. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette will soon halt distribution of physical newspapers in Southeastern Arkansas counties. Subscribers will be offered free iPads as a means for accessing the Dem-Gaz online. Annafaith Mauck has taken over the day-to-day operation of gohaynesvilleshale.com, which is a site for mineral owners in South Arkansas and North Louisiana. Her husband, Keith Mauck, is stepping back to address other business interests.

Might we soon see renewed local interest in the former Capri Apartments/Magnolia Inn?

A utility pole along Renfroe Street caught fire on Monday night. Part of the street was briefly blocked for Entergy Corporation to work on the problem.

Cecil Traylor Wilson looks great with its Christmas holiday lighting.

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com. Email him at news@magnoliareporter.com or call 870-904-3865.

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