South on Main Restaurant to Open for Lunch Aug. 5

Matthew Bell, owner and chef of the much-anticipated South on Main, said Monday afternoon that the restaurant will open Aug. 5 with a lunch service. If all goes according to plan, the restaurant likely will then offer dinner service two weeks later, he said.

On the restaurant's Facebook page Monday evening, it asked that prospective diners be patient: "We will train our staff on lunch service this week. You may see people in our space, but please be patient while we train our staff, as we are not officially open to the public yet."

The restaurant, in the same building as The Oxford American at 1300 Main St. in downtown Little Rock, will occupy a portion of the space that once housed Juanita's Restaurant.

Rounding out Bell's culinary team are Phillip Schaaf as sous chef, Matthew Lowman as pastry chef and David Burnett as bar manager, though Bell prefers the slightly retro term "barman."

"What we're doing at South on Main is taking the Oxford American from the page to the stage," said Bell, who worked at Ashley's in the Capital Hotel for four years, eventually coming to serve as sous chef. "What that means for the restaurant is we're going to be exploring the entire experience of the South through food and drinks."

The restaurant will operate from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and, once dinner service starts, 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Bell is a native of Missoula, Mont., and earned a culinary arts degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, Texas. He interned at fine Italian restaurant Ristorante Capeo in North Little Rock.