Downtown Bentonville restaurant The Station Café, to close in April, re-open in June under new ownership

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 11,018 views 

A long-running restaurant in downtown Bentonville scheduled to close next month will re-open later this year under new ownership. A group of investors headed up by Todd and Dana Renfrow of Bentonville completed a deal Monday (March 5) to acquire The Station Café from Cecil Turner.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Renfrow said the other investors are the siblings of him and his wife: Dustin and Jamie Maestri, Craig and Karri Renfrow, Dierek and Dani Madison, Devon and Courtney Maestri.

“We’re going to try and keep [the restaurant] alive,” Renfrow said. “It’s such an iconic part of downtown and there’s no option to keep it there.”

Talk Business & Politics/Northwest Arkansas Business Journal reported earlier this year the restaurant at 111 N. Main St. would close later this spring because of a change in the building ownership.

“The people who own the building have sold it,” Mistie Ward, the restaurant’s general manager, said at the time. “Our last day in this building is April 28.”

According to Benton County land records, the 1,876-square-foot building at has been owned by Joe and Betty Baker since 1994. Property records indicate the building has not yet changed hands to a new owner. Ward said in January that Turner was scouting possible locations to re-open the business, established in 1977 as The Filling Station. The name changed when Turner and his wife, Betty, bought the restaurant in the mid-1990’s.

Turner was not immediately available for comment. A person who answered the telephone at the restaurant said he would be in Tuesday morning.

Renfrow, a principal in Bentonville real estate development firm Lamplighter Restorations, confirmed the restaurant’s final day in business at its downtown address is April 28. He said the restaurant will re-open June 1 in a renovated residence at the corner of Southeast Sixth and D streets in Bentonville, catty-corner from Austin-Baggett Park. Lamplighter has owned the property for almost a year, situated one block west of the Momentary, a new innovative arts venue in development near the 8th Street Market.

The Station Café on Southeast Sixth Street will have indoor and outdoor seating, and a food truck will serve as the kitchen, at least temporarily. The move is pending city approval, Renfrow said

“It will be a family friendly restaurant like it always has been, right by the park,” Renfrow said. “We’re excited about that aspect of it.”

Renfrow said the new location will be temporary. The restaurant will ultimately move to a 30,000-square-foot mixed-use building Lamplighter is developing across Southeast Sixth Street, west of the park. Groundbreaking for that project will be in the fall.

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