Cheba Hut / Courtesy photo
A new marijuana-themed sandwich shop is eyeing locations in Fayetteville.
Colorado-based chain Cheba Hut has found an Arkansas franchisee who plans to soon open two locations in Fayetteville as well as one location in Little Rock.
The restaurant specializes in submarine sandwiches named after marijuana strains, like “Jamaican Red,” “White Widow,” “The Kind,” “G-13,” along with “munchies” and “cottonmouth cures.”
Cheba Hut got its start in 1998, and has been growing rapidly in recent years. According to their website, there are 25 Cheba Hut restaurants currently open, mostly out west in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, California, New Mexico, and Oregon. The restaurant also operates a location in Wisconsin.
Founder Scott Jennings told the Denver Post earlier this year he hopes to double in size to 50 restaurants in a couple of years and reach 200 by 2025.
Chief Relationship Officer Seth Larson told us this week the company has partnered with franchisees Hunter and Darcie Fletcher of Conway to operate their Arkansas restaurants.
Larson said final lease negotiations are underway for the Little Rock location, and they are still scouting locations in Fayetteville.
When looking for locations in Arkansas for the restaurants, Larson said there was a lot to like about Fayetteville.
“Fayetteville is a fantastic area,” Larson said. “You guys have a great outdoor culture, culinary culture, music culture, great people, and genuine hospitality. All of that makes that community a great fit for us.”
Larson said the restaurant would like to be located near the University of Arkansas, but would consider a spot in other parts of town.
“Traditionally, we are thought of as a college brand,” he said. “We’d like to be near the UA, that makes sense for us, but we have always been food focused, hospitality driven, and focused on treating people the way they like to be treated. Those concepts can really play well anywhere.”
Larson said Cheba Hut restaurants are typically around 1,800-2,600 square feet, and they have utilized new, stand-alone buildings for their spaces, along with second-and-third generation restaurant remodels, to end-caps in existing developments for their locations.
Attitudes about the marijuana theme for the restaurant have changed quite a bit over the years, Jensen said.
“I think the green wave recently has made marijuana more palatable,” he said. “It was very different 21 years ago when Scott started in Arizona. I think possession of any amount was a felony back then.
“But what we do, there’s no doubt about it, it’s in there, but it’s not in your face, and there are probably people that come in all the time that have no idea our sandwiches are named for strains of weed. Then again, we also have the die hard stoners that live and breathe Cheba Hut and cheba,” he laughed.
Larson said if all goes well, the Little Rock location could open later this year, and at least one of the Fayetteville restaurants could be open sometime in 2020.