New eatery prepares to come downtown

Visitors to downtown Siloam Springs will have another option for dining later this spring.

The new restaurant will take the place of Emelia’s Kitchen, which closed on Jan. 29, at 100 E. University St.

Opened over two years ago by George Ouyoumjian and his wife Sara Lusher, Emelia’s offered lunch, dinner and a Sunday brunch. The kitchen served up Mediterranean-style foods such as falafels, gyros, shish kebabs, hummus and lamb.

Although there were a number of regular customers, Lusher explained in an interview with the Herald Leader that there just wasn’t enough traffic to keep the business open. “It’s just really sad that this town is not big enough,” Lusher said.

However, the couple does own another restaurant in Fayetteville, Ark. The original branch of Emelia’s Kitchen is located at 309 Suite 2, W. Dickson St. It will remain open.

Fans of the restaurant’s babakanoosh or crème brulee are still just a short ride away from satisfying their taste buds.

Taking Emelia’s place in downtown Siloam Springs will be another restaurant, 28 Springs.

On Thursday, Feb. 2, local entrepreneurs Shelley and Todd Simmons announced the creation of a new eatery. Named after the 28 springs that flow into Sager Creek, it is set to open in late April or early May.

The exterior of the restaurant will remain fairly similar to that of Emelia’s but the interior will be renovated to include an open kitchen and a wood-burning grill. The bar will stay and alcohol will continue to be served.

The new menu, centered on casual dining, will include items ranging from pork chops and hamburgers to salads and ice creams. All items will be under $20.

Chef Miles James has been working with the Simmons family since late last year on the details surrounding their new venture. His trademark “Ozark Plateau” cuisine will be incorporated into the menu at 28 Springs using fresh local, and traditional ingredients from Northwest Arkansas and surrounding areas.

James graduated from the New England Culinary Institute and has trained across America in cities such as Nantucket, Mass., New York and Santa Fe, N.M and around the world in Paris and London.

He is currently the owner of James at the Mill, which is the award-winning restaurant affiliated with Inn at the Mill in Johnson, Ark. He will continue working there as well as at 28 Springs.