District Fare to Open in Hillcrest at the End of March

District Fare, the new Hillcrest restaurant concept by Tomas Bohm, is set to open in one month. The space that once belonged to Hillcrest Artisan Meats has undergone a complete overhaul, with new flooring and nearly triple the seating that HAM could fit in the dining room. While nothing is a sure thing when it comes to opening a restaurant, Bohm says he has most of the equipment ready to move in, which means menu development and staff training are the biggest obstacles left to opening. Bohm says longtime fans of HAM will be pleased with what they see.
“I definitely want to continue the same kind of concept,” says Bohm, who also owns The Pantry and The Pantry Crest. “I love this space, I love this aura. I guess I’m just making it mine. The concept will be the same.”
While the concept may continue, the difference is noticeable as soon as you walk in the door. Bohm took down the wall just behind the entrance and extended the restaurant toward the front door. Seating will be limited to just eight chairs in this area, but moving everything forward means much more room for seating in the back. Bohm estimates 20 additional seats will fit there.
The continuation of what HAM started means you’ll see plenty of housemade sausages, freshly prepared bacon, and a robust selection of meats and cheeses behind the counter. Bohm is also selling provisions, though far fewer than HAM did. Still, you’ll be able to grab a jar of Bonta Toscana, fresh buffalo mozzarella, fresh herbs and other foodstuffs to take home. Don’t feel like cooking? Bohm plans on keeping grab-and-go salads, dinners and soups that will make preparing dinner a breeze. And of course, District Fare will feature sandwiches, soups and salads for dining in.
Construction in progress at District Fare

However, it’s what’s new that should have the neighborhood excited for District Fare’s opening. Bohm is partnering with Arkansas Fresh to serve as the bakery’s Little Rock retail location for bread, rolls and specialty loaves. Arkansas Fresh will bring fresh bread to District Fare seven days a week. Diners will be able to buy craft beer and wine to drink on premise. Also, District Fare will feature a curing program, with two curing chambers making pancetta, coppa, lomo and other cured meats. And if you’re wondering how much influence The Pantry will have, at least one of the restaurants most popular dishes will be on the menu.
“You’ll be able to get the large (Pantry) board and the small board, and get a beer or a wine,” says Bohm. “I want to keep that social aspect of it. It’s true, a lot of our business will be take home provisions, but I want people to still be able to sit down and enjoy food here with their friends.”
Bohm also has plenty of ideas for unique special occasions at District Fare, like a monthly social centered around a food event, such as shucking oysters or a Spanish tapas night. Still, if Bohm’s plans come to pass, the everyday offerings will be satisfying enough for most customers. For Bohm, the excitement is building daily as the grand opening approaches.
“I’m so excited, I can’t wait to get this finished and open it up,” says Bohm. “When you open a new place, every emotion is running through your body. I feel really good about it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to be a lot of work. But I just want to give Little Rock something new again, something people can’t get anywhere else, and be proud of what we make here.”
When it opens, District Fare’s hours will be Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m.
The District Fare logo is the property of District Fare and is used by permission.
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