Award-winning Chef Michael Dampier, previously of the infamous Ohio Club, has announced a brand new restaurant – Ouachita Bar and Grill – will be coming to Hot Springs this year.
Dampier has won multiple awards over the years, from barbecue to other food-related awards and for his work as a chef. He has been nominated six times for Arkansas Heritage’s Food Hall of Fame and also travels as a sports food judge.
Ouachita Bar and Grill, or OBG for short, will be first introduced to the public in a food truck, which will be located directly next to 911 Central Ave., where the restaurant will be built. The projected finish date for the food truck is in May 2023, with the building renovations expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“Right now, we are focused on getting the food truck up and running with a bar, restrooms, picnic table, beer garden and stage. It will all be completely outdoors for the time being,” Dampier said, explaining that the area will be covered with an industrial tent so that weather will not get in the way of opening.
Dubbed “The Burger Chef,” Dampier has partnered with two other Hot Springs locals – Rob and Tia Koller – in the development of OBG. The Kollers own Arkansas Logo Logic, which is located in Piney, where they focus on screen printing and custom embroidery. In addition to the screen-printing venture, the Kollers also host several concert series in Hot Springs each year.
According to Dampier, the completed restaurant will contain two floors, with the upstairs area matching the vibe of a sports bar and the downstairs area serving as a speakeasy. Dampier plans for the menu to be full of a little bit of everything, not just burgers.
“Before I started working at the Ohio Club, I was big into barbecue, so I will be bringing a lot of barbecue to Ouachita Bar and Grill,” Dampier said. “We’ll serve brisket, ribs and pork in addition to burgers and sandwiches. Our goal is to make this a perfect destination to watch a ball game and a good place to bring kids, eat, drink and have good entertainment.”
Both the Kollers and Dampier have spent a lot of time traveling through the United States, and in doing so, plan to bring some of the aspects of places like Austin, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee to Hot Springs.
“We are bringing something completely new and exciting to the area,” Dampier said, explaining that live music will be a big part of Ouachita Bar and Grill.
“With the Kollers’ connection to music and my own connection to live music, we plan to bring everyone from solo artists to bands to the restaurant,” Dampier said, explaining that he was raised in a musical family.
The food truck is currently being built, and with the development of the grill, Dampier plans to bring some of the best steaks around to the area in addition to seafood and other menu items.
For more information about Dampier or OBG, click here.
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