The House Restaurant in Hillcrest Closes

Josh Blevins, owner of The House in Hillcrest, has announced on the restaurant's Facebook page that the restaurant will close at the end of this month.

The restaurant opened in June 2009. At that time, Blevins said, "The House is 'one of a 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."

Blevins was among the honorees of Arkansas Business' first 20 in Their 20s class, as chairman and CEO of Blevins Investment Group of Little Rock, a real estate investment company. Blevins, originally from Rogers, also had served as Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's public affairs officer.

A chalkboard sign outside the restaurant, at 722 N. Palm St., on Friday read, "C'est la vie."

In the Facebook post, Blevins said:

"On Monday of this week, I informed The House's staff that our operations will come to a close at the end of August. As is obvious to anybody who has ever visited The House, our family — our current and former staff along with a whole band of loyal patrons — is a pretty tight-knit group of folks, so this decision did not come easily.

"Restaurants operate on the slimmest of margins, The House exceptionally so. I've always been able to find ways to make us scrape by, but in the past month, our revenues have dropped considerably, to a degree that for a small operation like ours is simply unsustainable."

The House reported $485,878.63 in gross receipts in 2012, according to the Little Rock Advertising & Promotion Commission. Through April of 2013, The House had reported $122,277 in receipts.

The location at 722 N. Palm, a two-story former residence, had previously housed The Laughing Moon and Sufficient Grounds restaurants.

A response to a message to Blevins through the restaurant's Facebook account said the restaurateur was traveling and in meetings on Friday. An email to Blevins' at his investment firm hadn't been answered as of mid-afternoon Friday.

A man answering two phone calls to The House on Friday hung up on an Arkansas Business reporter.

In his Facebook post, Blevins said, "My immediate aim is to find gainful employment for all of our staff. I had secured jobs for most of our full-time staff before I even told them The House was closing, but the quest continues for a few of our part-time employees. If you’re a potential employer for any these folks, give me a shout. They’re the hardest-working, most lovable, best crew in the business."