UPDATED: James at the Mill restaurant closes after more than 20 years in business

James at the Mill / Photo: Facebook.com/jamesatthemill

Another longtime local restaurant has closed its doors.

James at the Mill, the fine dining restaurant located inside the Inn at the Mill in Johnson, closed for business last week.

The restaurant was created by chef Miles James, and officially opened in 1994. It was best known for James’ upscale take on southern comfort food.

“We want to thank all our wonderful patrons through the years,” James said. “It’s been an amazing run with really nice success at both the hotel and the restaurant.”

James, whose family founded the hotel in the early 1990s, told us on Wednesday that a hospitality group led by longtime general manager Jesse Burkes purchased the property and businesses, and plan to use the restaurant space to build additional suites.

“It’s exciting for Courtney and I to be able to hand this property we’ve loved so much over to a group that ‘gets it,’ and that we think will take the presence of Inn at the Mill forward,” James said. “They have a long history of operating in the hospitality industry, and it has been a smooth transition.”

Chef James said he hopes to spend more time with his family, as well as to work on his new venture, MJ Pizzeria. James opened the original MJ in Springdale a few years ago, and he recently announced plans to build a second location and coffee shop facility on Crossover Road in Fayetteville across the street from the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.

James said the MJ Pizzeria project planned for Fayetteville is about two-thirds of the way through the approval process at the city, and he expects to submit his final plans very soon.

“I’ve talked with some city planners, and I feel good about getting those plans approved,” he said.

The new restaurant will include a wood-fired pizza oven, a wood-fired grill, and a bakery for creating pizzas, homemade pastas, pastries, and other dishes. The menu will be similar to the existing MJ Pizzeria location currently open in Springdale, with some additions.

The coffee shop, which will be operated in a separate building on the same property, will be called Carrera Coffee Company. The shop will serve coffee roasted locally by Anonymous Coffee, along with pastries made next door at MJ.

James said he has selected a builder for the project, and hopes to begin construction soon.