The House Opens for Business in Hillcrest

The House
Josh Blevins
722 N. Palm St., Little Rock 72205                                                                 Phone: (501) 663-4500
11 a.m.-1 a.m. daily; kitchen open until midnight
Startup: June 26, 2009

Josh Blevins, owner of The House restaurant in the Hillcrest neighborhood of Little Rock, remembers to the hour when his business debuted inside the turn-of-the-century two-story residence.

"I remember thinking ‘4 o'clock' for weeks," Blevins said, as he worked to get everything ready.

Blevins, 25, says The House is "one of very, very few restaurants in Arkansas that tries to exclusively use Arkansas produce," seeking to network with farmers and local produce vendors to incorporate their products into his "burger joint" menu.

The House also offers a stage to local musicians every Thursday night, along with locally brewed beers such as Diamond Bear as well as various other brews.

Originally from Rogers, Blevins has a background in real estate and politics, most recently as a public affairs worker for state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. Working in a profession in which he traveled frequently, Blevins said, "I ate at a lot of cool places and wanted to bring such products here without being pretentious - that's why the burger."

The new business scene has had its share of surprises Blevins said. One such has been the breadth of the demographic that has visited the new establishment. Just recently, Blevins said, an 87-year-old woman "shut the place down" celebrating her birthday.

Blevins hopes to one day own several historic buildings in Hillcrest, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, restoring them with the same quality he seeks to provide his customers.

As for advising prospective business owners, Blevins urged: "Do your homework."

"I always wanted to run a restaurant," Blevins said. "It's great to be passionate about the idea, ... but if the numbers don't add up, it may not be a good idea."

"It's the little things that matter," Blevins said of starting his own business. "It's maintaining the little things on a day-to-day basis that is the most difficult."

The House restaurant in Little Rock's Hillcrest neighborhood seeks to exclusively use Arkansas produce to create its "burger joint" menu.