Chef Bill Lyle hired at Crystal Bridges, will resign from A&P Commission

Chef Bill Lyle


Bill Lyle, executive chef at Ella’s restaurant and a member of the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission, has been tapped to become the new executive chef at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. He will oversee Eleven, the museum’s full-service restaurant beginning Monday, Aug. 12, according to Diane Carroll, the museum’s media relations manager.

Lyle, 31, has been at Ella’s since January 2008 where he quickly rose from sous chef to executive chef and manager of the restaurant located inside the Inn at Carnall Hall on the University of Arkansas campus. He will replace former Eleven executive chef, Jacob Harr, who left this summer to return to Eurest Dining Services in the Bentonville home office of Walmart as food service director.

The move to Eleven will be the biggest in Lyle’s career since first entering the restaurant business while studying towards his bachelor’s degree in business management at the UA. He’s worked at Bordinos, Jose’s on Dickson, and Uncle Gaylord’s Mountain Cafe.

Aside from the extra miles he’ll drive to work, the scope of his meal preparation will skyrocket once he’s at the helm in Bentonville.

Lyle said a typical shift at Ella’s meant feeding up to 60 people. The museum, however, has served as many as 2,000 patrons at the height of an exhibition during lunch alone.

“I am really looking forward to taking on this new position,” said Lyle. “Although I will not be moving up to Bentonville, I will, unfortunatley, have to resign my A&P position.”

State law requires A&P commissioners to live and work in Fayetteville. Four members must be managers or owners of a hotel, motel or restaurant. The other seats include two City Council members and one citizen-at-large.

Lyle was first appointed to a hospitality seat in July 2010 as a replacement for chair Tim Freeman, who moved to Little Rock. He was reappointed in 2012 to a new four-year term which expires April 2016.

Lyle said he will announce his resignation at the next A&P meeting on Aug. 12. Commissioners can then decide to select a new member from the most recent list of 15 remaining applicants or advertise for the position from scratch.

Lyle’s replacement will mark a complete two-year turnover for the commission, whose non-council members serve staggered four-year terms. Alderman Justin Tennant, who began serving in 2011, is the longest sitting member of the group.

Fayetteville A&P Commission (August 2013)

Bill Lyle – Chef and manager at Ella’s restaurant (seat expires April 2016)
Alderman Justin Tennant – Ward 3 City Council member (indefinite seat)
Ching Mong – Owner of Formosa Chinese Restaurant, co-owner at Apple Blossom Brewing Co. (seat expires April 2014)
Alderman Matthew Petty – Ward 2 City Council member (indefinite seat)
Matthew Behrend – General manager at Holiday Inn Express (seat expires April 2015)
Bobby Ferrell – Citizen-at-large – (seat expires April 2017)
Hannah Withers – Co-owner of Little Bread Co. (seat expires April 2017)