Downtown Bentonville restaurant The Station Café will close in April

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 19,361 views 

2018 will be a year of change for a long-running eatery on the downtown Bentonville square.

The Station Café, in business for more than two decades at 111 N. Main St., will close its doors this spring. Mistie Ward, the restaurant’s general manager, confirmed the news to Talk Business & Politics.

“The people who own the building have sold it,” Ward said. “Our last day in this building is April 28.”

Ward said the business is planning to relocate. She said restaurant owner Cecil Turner has been scouting the area to determine where the next address might be, but no decisions have been made on where and when it will re-open. The Station Café is an American diner that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant was established in 1977 at 111 North Main as The Filling Station, but the name changed when Turner and his wife Betty bought the business in the mid-1990’s. Ward said Turner was out of the state on medical leave, and was not available for comment.

According to Benton County land records, the 1,876-square-foot building at 111 North Main has been owned by Joe and Betty Baker since 1994. Property records indicate the building has not yet changed hands to a new owner.

When asked if the property had been sold or was under contract, Joe Baker — a real estate broker in Rogers who has been buying and selling real estate in Northwest Arkansas since 1973 — said he wouldn’t go that far.

“I’m trying to peddle it, see what’s out there,” he said. “I buy and sell stuff all the time.”

The building is adjacent to a two-story building at 109 North Main that sold in December to a Delaware-registered LLC for $1.4 million. The company bought the 4,904-square-foot building from HRH Haifa Bint Naif Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, a princess who is the granddaughter of Ibn Saud, the founder and first king of Saudi Arabia. (HRH stands for Her Royal Highness).

Bentonville attorney Josh Mostyn, who represents the buyer of 109 North Main, said he was unaware of details about a pending sale of the 111 North Main building.

Both buildings — as well as the building at 113 North Main at the hard corner of Main and Second streets — are just a few doors down from three buildings owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Collectively, they house The Walmart Museum exhibit gallery, Walton’s 5&10 gift shop and The Spark Café soda fountain.

113 North Main is owned by Clare Chen Enterprises LLC. It last changed hands in July 2013 for $660,000. The first floor of the property is leased to Blue Moon on the Square, a women’s clothing boutique and gift shop. The second floor is available for lease.

Marian Ruesink acquired the Blue Moon business last fall “for a steal” and signed a two-year lease at the beginning of December. She declined to say how much the monthly rent is for the property, but did say the previous owner made the decision to sell the business largely because of a rent increase for the space.

Clare Chen is registered to Rogers attorney Blake Clardy. He said the building owners have no plans to sell the property.

“They have been approached by interested parties about acquiring the building, but they have no plans to sell it,” he said.

Clardy declined to say who was behind the LLC, only that it was an Arkansas company that also has foreign ownership interests.

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