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What's new and coming soon to South Main Street in Little Rock 

A distillery, a Latin street-food restaurant, apartments and more.

click to enlarge INTERSECTION OF RETAIL AND RESIDENTIAL: A planned multiuse building at 15th and Main streets would feature shops and 16 apartments.
  • INTERSECTION OF RETAIL AND RESIDENTIAL: A planned multiuse building at 15th and Main streets would feature shops and 16 apartments.

It's south of the border — that is, Interstate 630 — and now the flourishing South Main Street neighborhood we know as SoMa will have south-of-the-border cuisine when Dos Rocas Latin eatery opens later this year. Also new: A distillery, a brewery, the opening (finally) of a home-churned ice cream parlor and, because all of that means more reasons to live there, a new apartment complex. The neighborhood has so much to offer these days, you might never have to leave it. Here's what's new and updates, too:

1200 block of Main

Distiller and founder Phil Brandon has set a late April opening for Rock Town Distillery's new home at 1201 Main St. The 25,000-square-foot building, which sports the SoMa mural on its street-facing wall, will provide larger tasting and bottling rooms, more barrel storage and allow for more inventory than the previous location in the East Village. There will also be off-street parking right at the door, which was lacking.

The west side of Main is lively, too. Springdale-based Core Brewing is opening second Central Arkansas location at 1214 Main (its other location, on Main Street in Argenta, will remain open). Little Rock's Core has both a bar out front and a game room in the back, with Baggo and ping pong.

As mentioned earlier, the block is also getting a new eatery: the Latin American restaurant Dos Rocas Beer & Tacos, at 1220 Main St., in the space formerly occupied by Piano Craft. Dos Rocas is born of a partnership among The Root Cafe owners Jack and Corri Sundell and longtime Root kitchen manager Cesar Bordon-Avalos and his wife, Adelia Kittrell. Luis Vasquez, who was born in Honduras and has been the breakfast cook at The Root, will run the kitchen.

Dos Rocas (Two Rocks, as opposed to roca pequeña, little rock, and in honor of the fact that the name of Borden-Avolos' hometown in Paraguay is Itá, which also translates to "rock") will be "sort of like an indoor taco truck," Jack Sundell said, serving street-style tacos, pupusas, empanadas, nopales and Tex-Mex items and should open sometime this summer. The 2,750-square-foot restaurant will seat around 60. Dos Rocas will feature 16 taps at the bar dedicated to the flagship beers of Central and Northwest Arkansas breweries.

click to enlarge UNDER CONSTRUCTION: The Villa View apartments on Scott, new housing for SoMa.
  • UNDER CONSTRUCTION: The Villa View apartments on Scott, new housing for SoMa.

1300 block of Scott

The Lasiter Group's 35-unit apartment complex going up on the east side of the 1300 block of Scott Street is aptly named Villa View, since it looks upon the historic Villa Marre, 1321 Scott. The complex, the first ground-up apartments built in SoMA since redevelopment there kicked into high gear a decade ago, will be made up of two three-story buildings with an open space in between. The exterior design will echo the "Second Empire/Italianate" architectural style of the Villa Marre. The buildings will include 11 two-bedroom and 24 one-bedroom units. Ground floor units will feature porches, and sidewalks will connect the development to surrounding streets to foster SoMa's walkable charm. First Community Bank of Batesville financed the estimated $4 million project. Architect is Little Rock firm AMR. The apartments are expected to be ready for occupancy at the end of the year.

click to enlarge COMING TO SOMA: David "Rusty" Thompson's Tusk Holdings will develop this mixed use space at 1424 Main St.
  • COMING TO SOMA: David "Rusty" Thompson's Tusk Holdings will develop this mixed use space at 1424 Main St.

1400 block of Main

Construction on a mixed-use development at 1424 Main St. is slated to begin sometime this spring and take about a year, according to Kate East of AMR Architects, which designed the project. It will feature 16 apartments and five retail spaces in the ground floor and will require the demolition of the Miracle Wash coin laundry, which had operated at that address since 2003. Developer Matt Foster purchased the space in 2016 for $500,000 and proposed a mixed-use development with condominiums and retail spaces in the ground floor. Less than a year later, he sold the property for $575,000 to Broadway Park LLC, led by Brett Pitts, who then flipped it for $650,000 to Tusk Holdings, led by David "Rusty" Thompson of Hot Springs.

If you pine for homemade ice cream, Loblolly Creamery, with its handcrafted, small-batch ice cream, has a cone for you. Co-owner Sally Mengel, who brings Loblolly to the masses with a food truck and who previously had a soda fountain setup in The Green Corner Store, opened her own "Scoop Shop" in 2017 at 1423 Main St. Along with your ice cream flight of eight flavors, you can order specialty coffees and top things off with French macarons, making Loblolly a one-of-a-kind ice cream parlor in Little Rock. It's not just the ice cream at Loblolly that's homemade; it also incorporates flavors derived from other home-grown outfits like the Dunbar Garden (lavender) and Rock Town Distillery (whiskey). Look for the hungry scoop-monster sign and pink benches on Main.

click to enlarge ON THE ROCKS AT THE ROOT: The Jupiter, the Negroni and the Greyhound Fizz are special cocktails that Justin Hurty has crafted for The Root Cafe.
  • ON THE ROCKS AT THE ROOT: The Jupiter, the Negroni and the Greyhound Fizz are special cocktails that Justin Hurty has crafted for The Root Cafe.

1500 block of Main

Just because The Root Cafe's Jack and Corri Sundell have been busy plotting Dos Rocas for the 1200 block of Main doesn't mean they're not thinking up new things for the local-food eatery at 1500 Main they founded in 2011. The Root keeps growing, adding hours and new seating in adapted shipping containers last year. Now, the Root is adding liquor to its beverage menu with help from mixologist Justin Hurty, who is creating specialty drinks sourced from Rock Town. Thus, The Root stays true to its local-foods mission, even with the cocktails.

1600 Scott

That two-story, PermaPro-wrapped building you've been wondering about at the southeast corner of 16th and Scott streets will be a live/work space, AMR Architects says. The first floor will be an art gallery — at present called The New Gallery — and studio space; the second floor will be residential.



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