“When one door closes, another one opens.” With those words, the owners of Saké Martini & Sushi Bar in downtown Fort Smith have signed off.
In a Facebook post on Monday (June 25), the Saké ownership released a statement they would close their doors on Saturday (June 30) and accept reservations through that date.
“Our lease renewal is approaching, and after careful thought and consideration, we have decided not to renew,” the statement read, adding the decision came “after determining to set our sights on new goals and endeavors.” Saké opened in 2012 at its location on 823 Garrison Ave.
Dave Rolens, former owner of Havoc Nite Club once located at 301 Garrison Ave., opened the facility in May 2012 after taking over from Mojo’s Ivory House and Piano Bar. Rolens and his partners — mom Ruby Rolens and Michael Holman — targeted downtown professionals for lunch, with plans to bring them back for happy hour and a late-night dinner menu. Hours were originally 11 a.m. – midnight. Current hours are 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Despite the closure, downtown Fort Smith has a number of new developments in motion. Among them, Harry’s Downtown at 507 Garrison Ave., which opens on July 13. Harry’s is named for the late Harry Schwartz, a downtown property owner who in the 1980s and 1990s owned the Hamburger Barn, one of the few restaurants in downtown Fort Smith.
Jeff Gosey, the owner of AJ’s Oyster House in the Brunwick Place in downtown Fort Smith, said he’s investing $100,000-plus in the venue that briefly housed Wishbone’s. The operation will employ 10 to 15 people full-time and feature a music side and a bar side.
Additionally, Phil White, owner of General Pallets, is redeveloping the 900 block of Garrison with plans that include space for retail, a restaurant, and “11 or 12” 2nd-floor studio loft apartments.
Fort Smith Ward 1 Director and KCP Real Estate broker Keith Lau is developing a “white box” space still seeking tenants in the old C&H Tire building. In a previous interview with Talk Business & Politics, Lau said he planned to spend around $1.5 million on the development. The design concept from Studio 6’s Shannon Reith called for a restaurant, rooftop bars, and two additional lease spaces.
Reith also led the design concept on the planned redevelopment of the former Shipley Baking facility at 63 S. Sixth St. The building, currently owned by Bill Hanna of Hanna Oil & Gas, has attracted interest from a Northwest Arkansas brewery, which plans to start with a taproom and on-site catering before moving onto a full-scale brewery at the location. While Hanna wasn’t at liberty to name the tenant, sources on condition of anonymity said it would be Bentonville-based Bike Rack Brewing Co. Talk Business & Politics reached out to the company to ask about possibly locating in the Hanna property.
“Nothing is official yet but we are definitely interested in being a part of the exciting growth in downtown Ft. Smith and hope to be involved soon,” an official with Bike Rack noted in a response.