It has been way too long since we rounded up some restaurant news for y’all.
Here’s what we know about the places that have recently opened, closed, or are planning to soon open in Fayetteville.
Boulevard Bread Company
A well-loved bakery and restaurant that got its start in Little Rock will soon expand to Fayetteville.
The owners of Boulevard Bread Company are planning a new location at 2069 N. Crossover Road, in the space next to Washington Regional Urgent Care near Walmart Neighborhood Market.
The restaurant first opened in 1999, and now includes three locations in the Little Rock area.
Christina McGehee, co-owner of the Little Rock restaurants, said the Fayetteville location will offer all of the same items the restaurant has become known for over the years, including pastries, fresh breads, sandwiches, platters, soup, coffee and grab-and-go items.
Here’s a look at the Little Rock menu for an idea of what to expect.
Johnathan Buford and Joshua Begley will co-own and operate the new location, Buford told us this week. He said the space will require a build-out that hasn’t yet begun.
If all goes well, the restaurant will be up and running sometime this spring.
Fayetteville Beer Works
The new brewery will be called Fayetteville Beer Works, as is operated by Brian O’Connell, a local entrepreneur and one-time founder of Colorado-based Renegade Brewing Co.
O’Connell founded Renegade in 2011 in Denver, and operated the brewery for a number of years before selling an undisclosed but “significant” stake in the company in 2017 to Anne Mulcahy, the former CEO and chair of the Xerox Corporation. O’Connell stayed on as CEO for a few more years before moving back to Fayetteville a few years ago.
The idea behind Fayetteville Beer Works, O’Connell said, is to create a fun, family-friendly place to hang out in east Fayetteville.
“We live on the east side of town, and love it over here,” O’Connell said. “We’d like to see more places on this side of town where we can hang out.”
O’Connell said he’ll rely heavily on feedback from the neighborhood to determine what beers resonate locally, he said, and though his previous brewery Renegade – known for its signature Redacted Rye IPA – quickly became a production house brewing about 20,000 barrels a year and distributing to five states, his hope is to keep things smaller and more flexible this time around.
The brewery will have some snacks, and he hopes to find a food truck partner or two to feed hungry patrons.
Fayetteville Beer Works will occupy the west side of the new building, which is currently a blank slate as a recently constructed structure that hasn’t yet been built out.
O’Connell said he hopes that will allow things to progress more quickly, with no need for demo work at the site.
If all goes well, O’Connell said he hopes to be up and running sometime in late spring or early summer.
Pesto Cafe has been closed for the last couple weeks, but it’s unclear whether the closure is temporary or permanent.
We’ve reached out to the owners, but haven’t received any responses to our calls, texts or emails.
Pesto Cafe opened in the late 1990s in the building currently home to Cafe Rue Orleans by then-owners Ghazi Issa and Steve Glenn. Not too long after that, they opened a second location at 3075 Market Ave., and after abandoning that space, they opened in the current location at 1830 N. College Ave. next to the old Chief Motel.
The restaurant was originally known as Ghazi’s Pesto Cafe, but eventually became known as just Pesto Cafe after Issa’s departure from the business.
After moving around a bit at first, Pesto Cafe settled into their current location to become a Fayetteville treasure, serving a menu of pasta dishes, pizzas, and more for lunch and dinner in the small space that was packed with diners more often than not over the past couple decades.
Like a lot of places during the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant had experienced some challenges in recent years. The cafe lost its beer and wine license and began encouraging patrons to bring their own alcohol. Recent online reviews reference inconsistent hours and other problems likely caused by staffing issues also stemming from the pandemic.
An employee of the adjacent motel this week told us that the restaurant has indeed permanently closed, but again, we haven’t been able to reach Glenn to confirm that news.
We hope that the restaurant re-emerges, but at the moment, we’re concerned about the future of the landmark establishment, to say the least.
Stonemill Bread Company
Stonemill Bread is on its way back to Fayetteville.
The bakery and restaurant has agreed to terms and signed a new lease at the Fayetteville location, according to a recent company Instagram post.
“We have officially signed a new lease at our flagship location in Fayetteville. And the remodel is underway,” according to the post. “Stay tuned for updates! We miss you all!”
Restaurant officials in October announced that the Fayetteville location was closed indefinitely, and cited “facility maintenance” and long-term lease negotiations with the landlord as the reason for the closure.
The restaurant also operates locations in Springdale and Bentonville, and those locations have remained open.
Owner David Dantzler said if all goes well, they’ll be back up and running at the Fayetteville location in late spring or early summer.
A popular Mexican restaurant chain will open its first Fayetteville restaurant next month.
Chuy’s will open its new location at 642 E. Millsap Road in Fayetteville sometime in February, according to the company’s website.
Chuy’s got its start in 1982 in Austin, Texas, and was founded by entrepreneurs Mike Young and John Zapp who, according to their website, had “had a vision of a fun and funky Tex-Mex restaurant that served authentic and fresh food in an atmosphere that appealed to everyone.”
The restaurant’s menu focuses on traditional Tex-Mex fare, including tacos, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, and other items.
The chain opened its first Arkansas location in Little Rock in 2013, followed by a location in Rogers in 2014. The new location will be the first Chuy’s restaurant to open in Fayetteville.
The restaurant chain currently operates about 100 restaurants across 20 states, mostly concentrated in Texas and around the South.
Smokin Oak Wood Fired Pizza
A pizza chain recently opened a location in north Fayetteville.
Locals Ben and Monica Roberts recently opened a franchisee restaurant for a Smokin’ Oak Wood Fired Pizza in the Uptown Apartments + Shops building at 3959 N. Steele Blvd. on Sunday, Jan. 8.
The menu for the restaurant includes about a dozen specialty pizzas, along with sandwiches, salads and other items. The chain also offers a self-serve digital tap room element with a rotating selection of beers, wines and mixed cocktails that’s accessed by a wristband for samples or full beverages.
The chain is based in Florida, and the company’s website lists locations in Brooksville., Fla.; Broomfield and Grand Junction, Colo.; Cedar Falls, Iowa; Austin, Texas; and Omaha, Neb. Locations are in the works in Dallas, Clifton, and Frisco, Texas as well.
The Fayetteville location is open each week from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.
Local quesadilla restaurant Plomo has opened a second location in Fayetteville, and the concept will soon expand to another market as well.
Plomo, created by local entrepreneur Omar Kasim, replaced Kasim’s taco concept Con Quesos at 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Fayetteville.
It is the second Plomo location to open in Fayetteville, with the original located at 644 W. Dickson St. The brand will also expand to Dallas next year, according to the company’s Facebook page.
The restaurant’s menu focuses on about a dozen quesadilla options filled with a variety of meats, cheeses, and veggies, including Caribbean jerk chicken, chorizo, brisket, and more.
The new restaurant on MLK changed over to Plomo from Con Quesos in late September. According to the Facebook post announcing the change, it looks like the Con Quesos location in downtown Springdale will remain open with the taco concept.
The new MLK location is open from 11 a.m. until 10 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. until midnight on Friday and Saturday.