Black Angus Restaurant is being forced to vacate its location at 10907 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, after 30 years.
The exit date is March 31.
“The rumors are true: WE ARE RELOCATING!” says a Friday post on the Facebook page (facebook.com/blackanguslittlerock). Customers are advised to “stay tuned for our new location address.”
Owner Karla Creasey says she was "shocked" ("Actually, that's probably putting it a lot nicer — I was devastated”) when she received a notice to vacate — on New Year's Eve.
She admits she might have seen it coming, but it arrived out of the blue. “Why New Year’s Eve? Couldn’t they have waited until Thursday?” she adds.
The shopping center, which formerly housed a Kmart and in which her restaurant occupies an outlying plot, is now being developed into Premiere Medical Plaza by Premier Gastroenterology Associates and real estate firm Newmark Moses Tucker. Creasey says she was in negotiations on a new lease, "but they didn't have real numbers" on what it would have cost her, "and to know how much you're going to charge for a burger, you have to know how much your overhead is going to be."
The notice to vacate gave her 30 days to move, 90 days if she chose not to sue.
A post on Facebook’s Remember in Little Rock group page last week spilled the beans, and Creasey, who to that point had told only a few of her regular customers, subsequently confirmed it there and later on her own restaurant’s page.
She’s been getting support, help and suggestions for new locations from regular customers and the community at large.
"I've been getting lots of community input, amazingly so," she says. "My phone number is quite well known; I've been getting texts and Facebook messages."
She says she's been avidly scouting new locations, the search made more difficult because she wants to remain close to her current spot.
"I want to stay within 10 minutes of right here," she says. "This is the community I've served and grown to love. It's amazing the friendships you develop when you run a small business."
Also complicating the search: Black Angus grills its steaks, burgers, etc., on charcoal, so any new spot will have to be able to accommodate that. And there has to be, or at least there has to be the potential for, a drive-through window.
"Though lots of people do, this is not the kind of place you come in and sit," she explains. "One-third of our business comes from the drive-through. This is one of the only places where you can phone in an order for a T-bone and pick it up through the window."
In addition to her own issues, Creasey says, she’s concerned about her employees, many of whom have been working for her for decades.
The venerable burger-steak-plate lunch establishment has been around since 1960, first at Markham and Van Buren streets (now the site of a Subway shop) and then on South University Avenue before it moved again in 1990 into the Rodney Parham building that had previously housed an outlet of the now-defunct Kenny Rogers’ Roasters chain.
Creasey says she has no idea what will happen to the building — "I guess we'll all find that out together," she says, on or about April 1. Whether there's a new tenant or a demolition crew "doesn't even matter," she adds. "It doesn't affect me at all."
Hours, at least until March 31, are 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday. The phone number is (501) 228-7800; the website is blackanguscafe.com.