Packet House Deal Gets Murky; Restaurant For Sale

Three weeks after announcing an ownership change, a for-sale sign has appeared outside the Packet House restaurant in Little Rock.

The sign shows Rector Phillips Morse Group as the real estate company involved. The property was not on the company's online listing of commercial property as of Tuesday morning. 

The restaurant, which opened in September 2012, announced on its Facebook page on March 28 that it would be closing its doors "for the time being."

The announcement came three days after Arkansas Business and its sister publication, Little Rock Soirée, reported that chef Lee Richardson had purchased the restaurant and assumed the duties of proprietor and executive chef.

Richardson, the former executive chef at Ashley's at the Capital Hotel, was to begin operations immediately with his own spin on the restaurant's menu to be implemented at a later time.

Since the report, Richardson has indicated the deal might not be happening. Neither Richardson nor Yvette Parker, who was working with Richardson on the press announcement about the Packet House purchase, has responded to multiple requests for comment on the status of the deal.

Arkansas Business and Soirée based its report on a news release from Parker. Parker had approached Soirée with news of the deal, and sent Soirée the news release confirming that she had the go-ahead to release it.

But on April 4, Richardson indicated to Arkansas Bites, the online dining blog of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Sync newspaper, that the deal had not been completed.

Arkansas Bites asked whether that meant the purchase was still in the works or had fallen through completely. "I'd say I’m trying to figure that out myself," Richardson told the site via Facebook message.

Arkansas Business has tried to reach Richardson for comment but he has not responded.

Parker has declined further comment. In a phone call on April 4, she said she had "no information to confirm." And in a later email to Arkansas Business, asking her to confirm if the deal between Richardson and Packet House hit a snag or was on hold, Parker would not provide an answer.

"I'm sorry but I cannot provide any information," she stated.