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story.lead_photo.caption The building at 116 E. Elm is expected to house a new restaurant on the main floor and short-term apartments upstairs. Madeleine Leroux/News-Times - Photo by Madeleine Leroux/News-Times / Madeleine Leroux/News-Times

A new restaurant is expected to join El Dorado’s downtown in spring.

At the Tuesday meeting of the Main Street El Dorado Board of Directors, Beth Brumley, executive director of Main Street, said the Historic District Commission signed off on plans for a restaurant and upper floor apartments at 116 E. Elm, in the building that formerly housed Elm Street Bakery and Rascal’s.

Paul Choate, president of the MSE board, said the restaurant will be opened by Tracy Fort, the daughter of the late Edwin Boyd Alderson Jr., who died in early October. He said he believes a team from Florida has been hired to run and operate the new restaurant, which he said was likely to be farm-to-table, similar to the Griffin Restaurant in the Murphy Arts District.

“With the loss of Edwin, that has probably slowed the process down a little bit,” Choate said, adding that originally the plan had been to open in time for the grand opening of the Murphy Arts District and MusicFest XXX, but infrastructure issues in the building caused a delay. “It’s going to be an excellent addition to the downtown.”

The building on Elm formerly housed a post office from 1912–1929, Hall’s Drugstore and, most recently, Elm Street Bakery and Rascal’s, both of which relocated to 320 W. Main.

Last month, the Historic District Commission approved a Certificate of Appropriateness for the project after hearing about the plans from architects Matthew Jennings and Michael Rogers. At that meeting, Fort, with Edwin Boyd Alderson Properties, was listed as the applicant.

Jennings told commissioners the existing color scheme of browns and greens will be maintained and the look of the storefront cleaned up. The architects also said the second floor will be transformed into four, contemporary units intended for short-term stays.

“It may very well be the sign of what’s going to

happen downtown, you know more of a lifestyle-type downtown community,” Choate said Tuesday.

Brumley said the restaurant is expected to open in May.

In other business, Brumley said she would be giving a tour to some city officials from Shreveport, Louisiana, on Thursday. Brumley said someone attending the Murphy Arts District grand opening in late September “fell in love with our downtown” and wanted to know more about how the downtown and district work together.

The officials will be given a tour of the downtown area, as well as MAD, she said.

Brumley also reminded people of the annual Downtown Holiday Lighting Ceremony, which is set for 5-7 p.m. Thursday in the Union Square District.

At 6:10 p.m., a local celebrity will flip the switch for the holiday lights, illuminating Downtown El Dorado in the traditional red-and-greens of the Christmas season. Rides on a horse-drawn carriage and the PJ’s Express Holiday Train will be free to the public for the evening.

An El Dorado Pep Rally also will be held at 7:15 p.m. Thursday on the west side of the courthouse, and Casey James will perform at the Griffin Restaurant at 9 p.m.

Madeleine Leroux can be reached at 870-862-6611 or Follow her on Twitter @mleroux821.

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