We made some well-informed predictions back in December based on the rumbles we heard in the industry. As expected, the first half of 2019 was relatively quiet in terms of major restaurant news in Little Rock.
The food industry chatter has been on the rise around the middle of the year. It looks like there are several quality projects that will either open or make a big announcement before the end of the year.
Here is what we know so far. Also, I fully expect to hear at least a couple more spots before the end of the year. There are still a few rumors out there unattached to a property or concept.
Opening in 2019
These are what we have confirmed so far for the fall, we have seen details, heard plans, and often have stepped foot inside the space.
Hill Station – We have given all the details we know on the Hill Station here. The TLDR version is most of the burgers and sandwiches you love from H.A.M./District Fare are coming over along with some other menu items. Should be the big opening of 2019.
Mugs in the Heights – We have not heard anything at all since doing a walkthrough of the location earlier this year. Progress looks to have stalled and we cannot get an update. Still, I expect work to resume and this to open before the end of the year.
AW Lins – AW Lins has been working on their downtown location for over two years now. Unlike Mugs, there is constant progress, it is just moving slow. It would be nice to move this one off of our coming soon list sometime this fall, we still do not have a date from the ownership.
Properties on the Move
These are going to get a little more speculative. For several of these we know it is happening, we just have no confirmation on the concept or date at the moment. For others, it is rumored or reported in other places without us having first-hand knowledge. Many of these will see the build-out stretch into 2020.
Hillcrest Little Bakery – 203 North Van Buren Street – This one should be up and going soon, and we are expecting an announcement at any time. The space applied for a zoning permit last year, so it is taking a while, but according to their facebook page things are getting close.
Former Andina Cafe Location – 433 E 3rd St – We have confirmed this is going to be a second concept from the owners of At the Corner, which should be a big deal. We are not sure of the concept other than it will be different than their other. It does appear that some level of progress is taking place on the build, so it might come sooner than expected.
Flyway Restaurant – 411 N Main St, NLR – Shortly after Core closed their Argenta public house we heard word that the lease on the location had already been acquired. We have been able to trace it back to Flyway Brewing just around the corner. We have no confirmation on the concept, but what we hear is a nice beer-focused restaurant. That should be great in the location especially with the following coming.
Argenta Plaza Food Hall and Restaurant – The upcoming Argenta Plaza buildings are set to stimulate the growth of the surrounding area. It should be no surprise that there are some food concepts attached. The food hall in the Power and Ice building has already been announced and will open in 2020, we expect to start hearing some vendors soon. There is however a restaurant going in that is unannounced. I have a good feeling about who will be behind it, but we are already scheduled for confirmation on that later this month. It will be a well-known name and likely the largest opening next year if so.
Former Gusanos & Former Rumba Locations – River Market – This one is a little more vague, but should move fast. We are hearing leases have been signed on both the former Gusanos spot and the Rumba/Live Live Chill locations. We know the Rumba spot should be a second location for Diablos Tacos & Mezcal out of Hot Springs. The Gusanos location appears to be an out of state investor with multiple properties, we are not sure if one or any of them will land in the old Gusanos location.