Monday, May 9, 2011

Juanita's is moving to the River Market

Posted By on Mon, May 9, 2011 at 10:56 AM

The view from the patio at the future home of Juanitas
  • Brian Chilson
  • The view from the patio at the future home of Juanita's

Juanita's, the venerable Tex-Mex restaurant and music venue, is leaving the South Main Street location it's called home since 1986 for the River Market and the former home of Bill St., 614 President Clinton Ave. The move will happen in June.

"We were at the end of our lease and couldn't come to terms with our landlord," Juanita's general manager James Synder said. "We were looking at the cost of doing business on 13th Street versus the cost of doing business in the River Market, and moving made sense."

The future location is two stories. Snyder said he anticipates the capacity in the upper level will be larger than Juanita's current music room. "Hopefully, we'll be able to bring in bigger acts," he said.

UPDATE: I just visited the new location and talked with Snyder, co-owner Joe Cates and building owner Dennis Long.

Cates, who co-owns the business with restaurateur Jim O'Brien, said he doesn't anticipate any core changes in the move.

"We're not shaking the Juanita's brand. All we're doing is upgrading the building. Juanita's is a heritage name. We felt that, in order for the Juanita's facility to grow, we needed to go to a newer facility. We had to go to something that was more energy efficient."

The decision to move stemmed from a disagreement with landlord Lisa McNeir, whose late husband Frank McGehee opened Juanita's in 1986.

"We talked to her about remodeling the building, and we couldn't come to terms on who should pay for it, Cates said. "And it could've been four to six months remodeling it, and that would've really hurt business."

Cates expects to be open around June 10 without any gap in service.

"The Juanita's customers won't feel the change. When we turn the switch off on South Main, we'll turn the switch on the next day down here."

Co-owner Joe Cates in the restaurant portion of the future home of Juanitas.
  • Brian Chilson
  • Co-owner Joe Cates in the restaurant portion of the future home of Juanita's.

The restaurant portion of Juanita's, which will be housed in the lower level can accommodate about 75% of the seats Juanita's current dining room can, Snyder estimated. But with a large patio and overflow seating upstairs, the new location could handle more customers than the old, he and Cates said.

The venue space in the upper level is 4,000 square feet and looks cavernous, with hardwood floors and big windows at the north and south ends. A wooden bridge goes from the second level to President Clinton Avenue.

General manager James Snyder and co-owner Joe Cates in the venue portion of the future home of Juantias
  • Brian Chilson
  • General manager James Snyder and co-owner Joe Cates in the venue portion of the future home of Juantia's

The building was built in 1911, according to building owner Dennis Long. His Long Sales Agency purchased it in the early '90s; it burned in 1993, and he spent 15 years remodeling it. Since 2008, he's had two, short-lived restaurants as tenants, Wrought Iron Grill and Bill St. Bar & Grill.

Long cited Juanita's established name as one of the primary reasons he picked the bar and venue instead of other suitors. "It helps if you've got experience," he said.

The venue will be non-smoking, though smoking will be allowed on the patio, Cates and Snyder said.

One new wrinkle: On Saturday nights, after the restaurant closes, the lower level of Juanita's will turn into a comedy club, curated by local comedian Patrick "Angry Patrick" Beam.

The view from Clinton Ave.

Inside the restaurant portion of the future home of Juanitas.
  • Brian Chilson
  • Inside the restaurant portion of the future home of Juanita's.

Tags: ,

From the ArkTimes store


Speaking of Juanita's, Coming Soon

Comments (41)

Showing 1-41 of 41

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-41 of 41

Add a comment

More by Lindsey Millar

  • The Aftermath of the March to Death Edition

    The executions of four men in eight days and related matters, the state’s plans to deal with a shortfall in revenue and more — covered on this week's podcast.
    • Apr 28, 2017
  • The Kenneth Williams' execution thread

    Kenneth Williams, 38, is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. tonight at the Cummins Unit near Grady. If a court does not stop the execution, he will be the fourth death row prisoner to die over the last eight days in Arkansas.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • Commission to hear about plans for Ten Commandments monument

    The state will move one step closer to a lawsuit on May 11, when the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission will hear the American History and Heritage Foundation's plans for a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the state Capitol.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • The Lemon Cakery is pure bliss

    In the eternal and often epic battle between "cake" and "pie," I normally come down on the pie side of things. The Lemon Cakery puts that rule to the test—deliciously.
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • A sneak preview of Fourquarter Bar in Argenta

    A look at Fourquarter Bar in Argenta, brought to you by the folks behind Midtown Billiards. Beer, barbecue and killer cocktails abound!
    • Feb 23, 2016
  • Coming Monday: Little Rock Black Restaurant Week

    MoTown Monday is Ceci's Chicken and Waffles. Tasty Tuesday is Sims BBQ and Brewster's Soul Food Cafe. Wing Wednesday is Chicken King and Chicken Wangs. Soul Food Thursday is Lindsey's BBQ and Hospitality House and Food Truck Festival Friday is @station801. It's the first Black Restaurant Week.
    • Mar 8, 2017

People who saved…

Most Shared

  • Workers stiffed

    How is it going with the great experiment to make the Republican Party the champion of the sons and daughters of toil instead of the oligarchs of wealth and business?
  • O'Reilly's fall

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.

Visit Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Arkansas angler and fishing expert Billy Murray shares his extensive knowledge of the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation