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River Market now offering outdoor dining on weekends through October

With perfect fall weather and local food at every corner, outdoor dining at the River Market may encourage more people to get out and have fun in a safe way!

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Since the beginning of April, the Ottenheimer Market Hall in the River Market District has remained closed. 

While those vendors wait for the doors to open back up, the River Market is trying to attract people to the area. 

We've seen it in Argenta and the SoMa District where they block off the streets and put out tables and chairs to help restaurants continue to survive.

RELATED: First night of SoMa Entertainment District brings hope to business owners

According to Director of River Market Operations, Diana Long, the opening date for the Market Hall is still unknown, but she hopes outdoor dining will boost morale on Clinton Avenue. 

"This is the year of making the best you can out of what you have," she said. 

For the past six months, Long said the River Market District streets have been quieter than normal.

"They're doing pretty good, all things considered. They're just glad to be able to be open and working," she said. 

Most of the restaurants, according to Long, are slowly getting back on their feet, but one staple on the block still has its doors shut. 

"We couldn't safely keep it really open at that time and there wasn't enough business to support the vendors being open," she said. 

The Ottenheimer Market Hall, which is home to 15 different vendors, has had its lights off since April and Long said they're not sure when they'll come back on. 

"We do have a lot of regulars who work down in the River Market District, who come in for things, but it's not enough to keep that support so it's a feast or famine thing down there and it always has been," she said. 

The River Market started blocking off the streets on Friday to allow more seating for the restaurants that are still open and try to help out where they can. 

The extra chairs and tables addressing two different situations, according to Long.

"We wanted to increase the good business for folks and disrupt a little bit of the traffic and bad business that was going on down there," she said. 

With perfect fall weather and local food at every corner, Long hopes outdoor dining encourages people to come down and explore.

"We really want them to be supported, but we need to make an environment where customers feel really good about coming down and safe about coming down," she said. 

RELATED: Outdoor dining boosting restaurant sales in central Arkansas

The River Market outdoor dining will be open Friday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

As of now, Long said the outdoor dining will only be offered throughout the month of October.