Scott Hanayik and Ryan Brown, co-owners of The Tavern Sports Grill, are opening a new
restaurant July 17 in Benton that Hanayik says will be a place where people go to “see and be seen.”
Agave Grill will feature “Mexican-American fusion” cuisine — that is, it will have Mexican dishes like handmade pork tamales, enchiladas, “street tacos,” fajitas and tortas; American favorites like ribeye and New York strip steaks, ahi tuna and salmon; and the fused: you’ll be able to order a hamburger made with taco seasoning, queso and avocado, for example, or a steak rubbed with ancho chili.
The chef will be Mindy Mitchell, formerly of Honey Pies and the Marriott and a graduate of Pulaski Tech’s culinary school. Hanayik said there will be a fusion of comfort and sophistication as well: come in your shorts and T-shirt and enjoy fine dining in an upscale atmosphere.
Hanayik said he intends to prove people wrong that the location, 17324 I-30 — once the location of Cafe Santa Fe and, later, Patron — is snakebit. “I laugh” when people tell him that, Hanayik said, and respond that “when there’s a line out the front door, and you’re in it, you’re not allowed to come in.” After the remodel, Hanayik said, he expects to be able to seat 120 inside and 40 to 50 outside on the covered patio, “which you cannot find in Saline County.”
The bar will be the focal point. With a name like Agave, expect some fine tequila drinks.
Brown is a Saline County native; he and Hanayik believe it’s time Benton had good, local food of the sort that Little Rock has.