Downtown Little Rock will see another new restaurant open this spring when Ira’s Park Hill Grill makes the move from North Little Rock. Chef and owner Ira Mittelman is closing his Park Hill restaurant after Saturday’s dinner service and will soon begin work on reopening at 307 Main St, across the street from Bruno’s Little Italy and Soul Fish Café. For Mittelman, the move comes after more than two years of struggling to draw in local customers.
“My food didn’t work in North Little Rock,” says Mittelman. “We could get people in on birthdays and anniversaries and special occasions, but we couldn’t get a steady clientele. About 70 percent of my customers came from across the river. So we’re really excited about this move. It’s going to be great for us.”
Mittelman is changing the restaurant’s name to Ira’s. It will be located in the Rose Building, which is almost a century old and on the National Register of Historic Places. That means any renovations made will be authentic to the original design, which Mittelman plans to incorporate into the look and feel of the new restaurant. Mittelman says Ira’s will have a little less than 100 seats; will feature outdoor seating; and will include a lunch, dinner and bar menu.
“We’ve hired a new bartender, and we’re going to have a large mixed drink program with a bar menu and bar seating,” says Mittelman. “We’re really hoping to attract the 5 and 6 o’ clock crowd, and we’re definitely hoping to see some good numbers there.”
Mittelman says he is planning on keeping some of the more popular dishes at the new restaurant while creating some new plates for the downtown crowd. When it opens, Ira’s will serve weekday lunch and be closed on Sundays. Mittelman says people working around the Main Street neighborhood are already eager to welcome Ira’s to town.
“People are really excited, I’ve been telling customers for a while now and they are thrilled,” says Mittelman. “We’ve talked with the people at The Rep and some downtown businesses, they’re really excited about the move. That old adage about location, location, location, well, we’re getting into one of the best locations in the city.
“I’m excited, I get to build a dream restaurant from scratch. You don’t get that chance very often.”
Mittelman is hoping to be open by this spring, which would be an aggressive timetable. However, the building had a grease trap installed by a previous tenant, which will cut down on some of the construction time. Ira’s Park Hill Grill will hold a special celebration event this weekend to commemorate its time in the Park Hill neighborhood. Be sure to check their Facebook page for more details.