Little Rock River Market’s Ottenheimer Corridor reopens this weekend


Ottenheimer Corridor, the Little Rock River Market’s public meals court-style market, situated at 400 President Clinton Ave., has been shuttered for over a yr. This Saturday, Could 1, Ottenheimer Corridor is welcoming again distributors and the general public, coinciding with the reopening of the Little Rock Farmers Market held within the adjoining River Market pavilions.

The River Market district has been comparatively behind different companies which have remained open or reopened throughout the pandemic. Diana Lengthy, director of River Market Operations, stated in an interview in January that the Little Rock Conference & Guests Bureau was assessing the “multifaceted” scenario about reopening month-to-month. Because of pandemic-related closures, cancellations of occasions, lack of tourism and downtown employees working remotely, the Little Rock Conference & Guests bureau took an financial hit. Lengthy stated that they had been ready for folks to return to working in workplaces downtown, for conference companies and occasions to return and for touring for leisure/college discipline journeys, and many others. to renew. A elementary concern for the market corridor distributors, she stated, was that there wouldn’t be sufficient foot site visitors to assist them.

Angia Cox, proprietor of Platnum BBQ, which she’s been working in Ottenheimer Corridor since 2017, met the problem of the indefinite shutdown by altering her enterprise mannequin. Since July, she’s been working out of a meals truck and catering occasions. Platnum’s first catering job: a pandemic marriage ceremony.

“It was loopy, however we had a extremely good time. From there, it’s actually been one job after the opposite. Persons are actually responding to us properly, so I’m very comfortable,” she stated.

Cox was in a uncommon second of downtime in a Walmart car parking zone once I reached her by telephone on Thursday. Platnum has been very busy this week catering occasions for a number of Walmarts that had been internet hosting affiliate appreciation weeks. “We had been in Beebe on Saturday, Cabot on Tuesday, yesterday was Jacksonville, in the present day is North Little Rock and tomorrow is Lonoke … It’s bananas however we’re grateful, that’s for positive.”

Platnum gained’t be opening again up in Ottenheimer till Thursday of subsequent week as a result of Cox is catering an occasion this weekend for the Nationwide Guard at Camp Robinson. Anytime the meals truck is about up in a public area, she publicizes it on Fb to the restaurant’s followers.

“That’s labored very well for us as a result of we’re in a position to proceed to be engaged with our clients. We had been attempting our greatest throughout this pandemic to proceed to be related and to market ourselves in a solution to let folks know that we’re nonetheless right here. And with the assist of our folks that patronize us, we had been in a position to survive so we’re tremendous blessed.”

Cox stated the meals truck goes to come back to a screeching halt as soon as operations start in Ottenheimer subsequent week, a minimum of till she and her group get again within the groove of issues working out of the River Market.

“We’ll nonetheless make the meals truck obtainable for catering, and I don’t actually anticipate that slowing down,” she stated. “It’s going to be a problem for positive, however we’re going to strive our very best to handle each if that’s even doable. Our major give attention to Could 6 goes to be to get in there and hit it exhausting. There’s loads of people which can be anticipating us again. We put out the phrase on Fb, so that they’re excited and pumped, and we need to maintain that going.”

Phoebe Glass, proprietor of Blue Sage Vegan Bistro & Shambala was in Ottenheimer on Thursday cleansing up the area together with her daughter.

“All the things is so soiled. It’s simply been sitting, useless, for a yr, you understand. So I’m truthfully not 100% positive if I’m going to open on Saturday. If it’s not clear sufficient, it’s not going to occur. If not, we may be out on the farmers market,” she stated.

Glass operated a meals truck earlier than she began renting an area out of Ottenheimer round two years in the past.

“It’s unbelievable,” she stated, “nevertheless it’s primarily vacationers and everyone that labored within the space, all of them went residence.”

Within the early days of the pandemic, Glass bought her meals truck and purchased a 40 foot-long tour bus.

“It’s essentially the most superb pandemic deal you’ll be able to think about,” she stated. “I purchased it from this place in Orlando that was renting it out, and the pandemic hit they usually couldn’t lease it to folks anymore as a result of no person’s touring, so I bought it for a 3rd of what it’s value.”

So Glass has been spending time together with her two youngsters who — due to the pandemic — each stayed residence an additional yr, moderately than flying the coop. She’s additionally been touring and researching the route she desires to take Blue Sage, which gained’t be too completely different, she stated, however in step with her authentic idea.

“I need to make outdated folks southern meals. , like what your grandma made. I just like the recollections — like meals and recollections, you understand. So I’ve been attempting to go in little hole-in-the-wall locations and check out to determine what makes nostalgia meals.”

I requested Glass if she thought that folks have change into extra considerate about their relationship to meals and consuming meat or not consuming meat because the pandemic began.

She stated the motion was already underway, however that “individuals are attempting to eat more healthy. This pandemic got here round and it’s like, ‘Oh crap, we actually do must get wholesome if we’re attempting to struggle stuff off.’ I believe there’s much more of that. I believe it’s a lot extra mainstream. Even in Arkansas.”

Each Glass and Cox had been unable to safe cash from the Payroll Safety Program loans. Glass stated she’s grateful that the River Market didn’t cost lease in any respect because the shutdown passed off.

Lengthy stated that the Market Corridor would require folks to put on masks. She additionally famous that till the Arkansas Division of Well being steerage now not contains masks necessities for outside occasions, distributors will likely be required to put on masks and patrons will likely be requested to put on masks and observe social distancing.

Distributors slated to return to Ottenheimer Corridor on Could 1:

Rock City River Outfitters
Jay’s Pizza
Center Jap Delicacies
Casa Manana
Bangkok Thai Delicacies
Huge on Tokyo
Recent Bowl N Roll Bar
Blue Sage Vegan Bistro

Platnum BBQ will open Thursday, Could 6.

Backyard Sq. Cafe and David’s Burgers are anticipated to open by June 1.

Ottenheimer Corridor will stay open all through the Farmers Market season. Hours will likely be 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and seven a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. For extra data, go to the web site right here.


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