FAYETTEVILLE -- Anyone who misses having a beer and a burger at the Old Post Office on the square should be able to do so again by early next year.
Cheers at the OPO is set for a February opening. New owner Curtis Arnold has partnered with Chris Tanner and the people behind Cheers in the Heights in Little Rock to bring a new restaurant and hangout spot to the historic building.
The new ownership is still working out the details, but customers can expect the same idea as the Cheers in the Heights restaurant in Little Rock, Arnold said. He envisioned rolling out more options as time goes on, as many businesses do.
"Of course, you want to do everything right away," Arnold said. "It just depends on everything getting in and people getting ready for it."
Arnold, 29, lives in Fayetteville but his family hails from central Arkansas. Tanner help develop the menu.
The menu will entail sandwiches and burgers, steaks, shrimp, po' boys, soups and salads and appetizers. A wood-fired grill will cook everything.
The idea is to provide an affordable place for all kinds of people that meshes with the vibe and history of the downtown square, Arnold said. Families and young people on dates would have a good time, he used as an example.
"We know we're in the center of the square and that it's an important building and space for the city of Fayetteville," Arnold said. "We plan to give people something they haven't had there for a long time."
The building has seen its fair share of owners and tenants over the years. Built in 1911, it was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
It was a post office until 1963 and continued to house federal offices for about a decade. A land swap in the 1970s resulted in the Fayetteville Housing Authority owning the property. The building was almost demolished to build a civic space until a resident-led petition kept it standing.
The Bumpass family bought it in 1977. Jim Huson bought it in 2013. Arnold's family purchased it this summer for nearly $2.3 million.
From the late 1970s to the early 2000s, the building served as home to OPO Restaurant and Bar. Other establishments came and went. Among them were Hog City Diner, Sodies, Urban Table, Stogie's, Jammin' Java, Country Outfitter and Hayseed Ventures.
The main floor will be familiar to those who have been inside, Arnold said. Plans are still being developed for the basement, but it'll likely serve as some sort of event or party space, he said. The city owns the property outside the building and maintains the gardens.
Steve Clark, Chamber of Commerce president, said he has visited with the new ownership several times and is excited.
By every impression he's gotten, Clark said he believes the new establishment will celebrate the property and everything it has meant to the city.
"It will be another part of the reason people like a livable, walkable downtown," he said. "It's a complement to the Dickson Street entertainment area, it's a complement to everything on the square."