Cheers at the OPO / Staff photo
For the first time in about a decade, a restaurant is once again in business at the center of the Fayetteville Square.
According to a post on their Facebook page, Cheers at the OPO will officially open for business tonight (Friday, April 5).
The restaurant, located in the former Post office at 1 E. Center in the center of the square, is a project by local resident Curtis Arnold and partners behind Cheers in the Heights in Little Rock. According to the menu on their website, the restaurant will focus on steaks, seafood, along with sandwiches, burgers, salads, soups, and more.
The new spot has been hosting trial runs for friends and family this week, but their first official dinner service will be held tonight. Arnold told us that, at least at first, the restaurant will only be open for dinner, though lunch service could be added in the future.
The building that will be home to the new restaurant has a rich history in Fayetteville.
It served as a U.S. Post Office from 1911 until 1963. The original cost of construction was $60,000.
The fate of the building was in jeopardy when in 1974, it was slated for demolition by the Urban Renewal Plan for the downtown area. A group of citizens began a petition drive to preserve the Neoclassical Revival structure as a historic landmark. Eventually the ruling was reversed and the building was saved.
In August 1974, the building was placed on the National Historic Register. Two years later, the building was purchased by Ronald and Edna Bumpass. In 1977, a project began to convert the building into an upscale restaurant and club. Original features preserved include the building’s native marble frieze panels, classical dentals, and solid brass door handles. The electrical system, with copper fuses and fuse boxes enclosed within beveled glass, was designed by Thomas Edison.
The property is encumbered with a Historic Preservation Easement dated June 18, 1978. The easement has a term of 40 years. This agreement requires the owner or successors of the subject property to maintain and administer the property so as to preserve its historical character for the 40-year term. The agreement also gives the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program the first rights of refusal if the owner shall wish to sell the property. The Arkansas Department of Historic Preservation has twice declined to exercise the right of refusal.
The OPO has housed various other business over the years, including a restaurant and night club called the Old Post Office and Gathering Place, Hog City Diner, Stogie’s Fine Cigars and Tobacco, Sodie’s Fountain and Grill, Jammin’ Java and Bliss Cupcakes.
For more information about the latest restaurant to operate in the building, visit cheersopo.com.