Juanita's moving to the River Market 

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. The move will take Juanita's to 614 President Clinton, the former home of Bill St. Bar & Grill. It will happen around June 10, according to co-owner Joe Cates.

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."

The future location is two stories. Juanita's general manager James 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.

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

For more details and pictures of the new location, visit Eat Arkansas.

The Underground (formerly The Underground Pub) announced on Monday on its Facebook page that it's closed after 13 years of business. Scott Harris, who co-owned the River Market restaurant and bar with his sister Sara Harris, said he and his sister had both increasingly gotten involved with side businesses in recent years and finally decided it was time to move on.

"Financially, it's been tough. Business has progressively gone down over the years. At the same time, there wasn't the money to put back into it to remain viable. That was a little bit of neglect on our part.

"It's been a long, fun run. But there's no regrets on our part. We feel bad for our employees who've been loyal to us over the years that we couldn't give them more time."

The Underground was located underneath Bosco's at 500 President Clinton Ave.


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