by Lee Hogan
Posted 3/25/2014 03:41 pm
Updated 8 months ago
A familiar face has taken over operations at Packet House Grill as of today.
Lee Richardson, the former executive chef at Ashley's at the Capital Hotel, is now the owner and executive chef of the historic Little Rock restaurant on Cantrell Road.
The New Orleans native was at Ashley's from 2007 to 2012.
"For more than six years I've driven by the Packet House almost daily, and I've always felt like it fit my vision for the ultimate in fine dining in Little Rock," he said in a news release. "I came to Little Rock and took over a well-known and well-respected restaurant at Ashley's, and that's exactly what I'm excited to be doing at the Packet House."
Richardson said he has "an ultimate vision" for the Packet House Grill, but because it is an established eatery, the changes won't come immediately.
"But over time," he says, "I will put my stamp on the restaurant and its menu."
Richardson was awarded the People's Choice award for Best New Chef for the Midwest region in Food & Wine magazine, and has been a repeat nominee for food industry awards from the James Beard Foundation of New York.
The Packet House was built in 1869, and was placed on the national registry of historic places in 1978. More than 30 years later in 2011, Betty Richards purchased the house, located in the 1400 block of Cantrell Road. Together with chef Wes Ellis, the Packet House Grill was renovated and opened in September 2012. Ellis was executive chef and owner.
The restaurant did $614,191 in sales last year, according to tax records maintained by the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.