Little Rock restaurant staple Lassis Inn will be reopening under new ownership on the tentative date of Aug. 13. Its hours of operation will be from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. 

 

The catfish restaurant, located at 518 E. 27th St., originally opened in the early 1900s and is recognized as one of the first Black-owned restaurants in Arkansas, as well as one of the state’s oldest establishments. 

 

Known for being frequented by civil rights leaders such as Daisy Gatson Bates, the space served as one of few safe palaces in the community where people could discuss problems with segregation and racism, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

 

According to co-owner Christopher Jones, the historic eatery will keep most of its original flair but undergo slight renovations. 

 

“There will be some repainting and retouching inside, and we’ll add an inside bar,” Jones said. “We want to keep the nostalgic feel but add to it with a polished, classical feel.” 

 

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Jones said the main changes to the space will include building a two-part deck with a rooftop space, both of which will be completed after the reopening. Lassis Inn will also add an outdoor smoke pit to include additional menu items outside of seafood, including pulled pork and pulled brisket. 

 

“We will be keeping the exact same Lassis menu, with the same great quality,” Jones said, explaining that he and co-owner Kristian Nelson have been working closely with Elihue Washington, Jr. to complete their vision for the restaurant. 

 

Jones is a restaurant consultant, caterer and nine-time published chef, as well as the executive chef at The Xperience, another Little Rock restaurant located on Main Street. 

 

“We’re excited to bring a level of professionalism and culinary greatness while serving quality to our customers,” Jones said. 

 

To learn more about the history of Lassis Inn, click here. 

 

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