We’ve been trying to figure out what is happening with beloved local restaurant Pesto Cafe for a while now, and the picture became a little more clear this week.
A social media post by private chef Lance Corbin indicates the baton for the restaurant has been passed, and the cafe will soon open under new management.
From the text of the post accompanying a photo of Corbin in front of the sign of the restaurant:
I know lots of locals are missing this Fayetteville favorite since they closed in December.
Today the keys were turned over to me, and I promise to bring Pesto’s back to life, just as delicious as you remember and better than ever. I’ll provide updates here as we get the restaurant ready to reopen!
According to his website, Corbin got his start at 19 as a pantry chef for a resort in northern Michigan called Marsh Ridge. He worked with with Chef Lynn Allen who encouraged him to pursue his apprenticeship through the American Culinary Federation. Later, he worked as executive chef of Sarasota, Florida restaurant, Mama Leone’s.
He moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2018 to work for Tyson Foods, and has also offered personal chef services.
In the post, Corbin calls the new iteration ‘Pesto’s by Lance.’ It is unclear whether Corbin has purchased the business from the previous owners.
Corbin said he has some ideas for a few changes. A lot will stay the same as well.
“We are planning to stay true to the heart of Pesto and what is so loved about it,” he said. “We will be cleaning, doing some light renovation improvements, and giving her a new coat of paint to freshen her up. We intend to work with the décor that is there but may shift things around a bit.”
As far as the menu goes, he has similar plans to build on the foundation already in place at the restaurant.
“We will keep many of the same dishes, plus add a few more classic Italian entrees as well,” he said.
If all goes well, the new restaurant will be back up and running in a matter of months.
“We are targeting mid-to-late spring to re-open, pending the exact timing it takes to complete the improvements,” he said.