Harding Restaurant in River Market To Open In Fall 2013

by Kate Knable  on Monday, Aug. 20, 2012 12:00 am  

An artist rendering of the interior ground floor of Rush and Payne Harding's planned River Market District restaurant, which they expect to be open in fall 2013.

Moses Tucker Real Estate’s three-story construction project in the Little Rock River Market District includes an upscale restaurant in its designs.

Rush Harding, CEO of Crews & Associates in Little Rock, and his son, Payne Harding, are the owners of the coming French and Italian restaurant concept. The restaurant doesn’t yet have a name.

Moses Tucker President Jimmy Moses said last week that his company owns the project site, which is currently a parking lot and police substation at the corner of President Clinton and River Market avenues. It has taken about three years for the company to put together the project, he said.

Work at the site is scheduled to begin in October, and most tenants of the facility should open there in the fall of 2013, Moses said.

The Hardings’ restaurant will be joined by a movie theater, and other commercial or office tenants will own space in the condo-style building, Moses said.  

Clark Contractors of Little Rock is constructing the building’s shell, and architecture and design firm The Johnson Studio of Atlanta is designing the Hardings’ two-floor, approximately 8,000-SF restaurant.

“We hired what is arguably the best restaurant design firm in the U.S.,” Rush Harding said. “We hope this is going to be unlike anything Little Rock’s ever had. … Fine dining in a casual, fun, vibrant setting.”

Dining space that can be converted from indoors to outdoors and an open kitchen are among the restaurant’s features, he said.

Payne Harding, 25, said he would write the restaurant’s menus, oversee major decisions and hire two friends as chefs. Both yet-to-be-named chefs are, like Payne Harding, young culinary school graduates.

Tim Morton, who is an experienced chef and the younger Harding’s partner in revamping Restaurant 1620 in Little Rock, will also work with the Hardings on the River Market restaurant.

The emphases at the River Market venture will be house-made pastas and sauces, fresh vegetables and working with local farmers, Payne Harding said.



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