Edited to add: Flint’s Southern Spoon is postponing the restaurant opening until Friday, April 7, at 3:30 PM. They are still testing the equipment and want to provide the customers with the best possible experience.
Experienced chef and restaurant entrepreneur Flint Flenoy has plans to open Flint’s Southern Spoon on Wednesday, April 5, at 3:30 PM. If nothing else, the certified chef hopes for a soft opening through Friday, April 7, and to serve at least bbq on these days. This is a tentative open date, so watch here for any changes. Flint’s Southern Spoon is located outside the west gates of Hot Springs Village at 4409 Hwy 7 N, Ste 1412, in the same building as Mia’s Hair Salon and across the way from the Great Wall of China restaurant.
Flenoy plans to provide a southern-flair experience with a high-end taste for those who want it in the 87-seat dining room.
Pushing a broom when we walked in the door, Chef Flenoy said, “People talk about recession and food costs and ask me how I can get around the high food costs. I said, ‘not easy, but I know that in the olden days, a man appreciated spending his money for quality and ensuring he got what he wanted.'” Flint wants people to leave satiated and feel they received a fair deal for the money spent.
Flint is no stranger to good ole fashioned down home southern cooking as his roots lie deep in the Arkansas delta at Marianna, where he was raised in a family of 16 children – eight boys and eight girls, with two sets of twins.
Flenoy said when in trouble, his mother punished the children by making them sit in the kitchen, where they learned invaluable cooking lessons. He said, “we got in trouble every day, so watching Mama roll out the biscuits became a normal part of our routine. “My grandmother was a very good baker, but I never had a chance to watch her. I was a taster of grandma’s treats.”
Leaving Marianna at 15, Flint went to the Little Rock Job Corps for training. Flenoy stated, “It was just poverty there [Marianna]. I promise you; I did not know it then.” When departing Marianna, Flint kept looking over his should for his mother to come and get him. He said, “Mom was nowhere around.” Upon arrival in Little Rock, Flint noticed the large buildings and fast-moving life.
After an eleven-month course, where he learned a lot of basic techniques, he became a certified chef. Flenoy participated in a regional competition against ten other teams at the end of the Job Corps classes. Each six-person team cooked a different scratch meal with a time limit. Flenoy was the Captain of his team, and the crew was required to remain clean, meaning no food spots on the uniform. Flenoy’s team fared second out of eleven teams with a score of 99.9.
The chairman of the competition offered to send eighteen-year-old Flint to Treasure Island Culinary School in San Diego for sixteen months of advanced training. Treasure Island was once an Army base. Flint said Treasure Island prepared him for what he is doing today. He learned skills such as table setting, serving in fine dining, restaurant record keeping, and much more. “It was six weeks before we entered the kitchen,” Chef Flenoy said.
After graduating from Treasure Island, he was placed in a fine-dining restaurant in Philadelphia. He said, “I was a 20-year-old, and Little Rock was the biggest place I knew. Although he made $65,000 a year in Philly, Flint was uncomfortable with the city.
Flint said, “I was a country boy and only stayed four weeks and two days.”
Upon returning to Little Rock, he applied to restaurants that would not hire him because he was overqualified. Not letting this deter him, he persisted and quickly found three jobs that he worked simultaneously. He worked days, evenings, and overnight shifts. Flint said, “I saved a lot of money because I did not have time to spend it.”
Flint ended up at Ciaos Italian restaurant for fourteen years, five years at Cheers on Broadway, and one year at Steak and Ale.
After this, Flint reduced his hours at Ciaos and branched out on his own to open Flint’s Lucky Seven Diner.
When asked about his life philosophy, he said, “Maintain a humble spirit and love what I do.” My six children, seven grandchildren, and phenomenal wife of 35 years are top-heavy in my life,” stated Flenoy.
His food philosophy is, “Please return to those good ole days when people made food with love.”
Flint’s Southern Spoon will be open from 3:30 to 8:00 PM Wednesday through Saturday and will serve a buffet brunch on Sundays from 10:30 AM to 2:00 PM. On Wednesdays, meatloaf and herb-baked chicken will be the stars of the buffet; Thursdays, Chef Flint will serve up spaghetti and his signature fried chicken; Fridays spotlight will be on catfish, a seafood boil, salmon, trout, crab legs, or other seafood. Seafood items are not all you can eat. On Saturday, you can order steaks (not from the buffet), prime rib, or something comparable from a carving station. Depending on the menu, the buffet will range from $15.99 to $18.99.
If you do not want a meal from the buffet, eight entrees will be available on the menu. These dishes will change every quarter, so there will frequently be something new to try. You can request something served in the past (but not listed on the current menu), and Southern Spoon will fill your request if possible.
The menu items this quarter are:
Blackened Catfish @ $17.99, Cajun Chicken Pasta @ $16.99, Grilled Salmon/Rice Pilaf @ 21.99, T-bone Steak/Potato @ $25.99, Herb Grilled Ribeye @ $27.99, Center Cut Pork Chop @ $16.99, Seafood Crab Boil @ $38.99, and Hawaiian Grilled Chicken @ $17.99.
The chef said, “We will give Hot Springs Village customers a good product and make them feel at home.”
Not afraid of hard work, Flenoy currently operates another restaurant and three concession trailers.
For more information, Chef Flenoy can be contacted by email at [email protected] or by phone at (501) 975-9315.
Here is a link to Flint’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flint.flenoy
By Cheryl Dowden; Photography and video directly below by Joe Dowden