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First night of SoMa Entertainment District brings hope to business owners

For some restaurants, this is more than entertainment. This is another opportunity to keep customers coming in during these tough times.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Friday night was the first night for the SoMa Entertainment District.

Participating restaurants can sell customers a special cup with an adult drink and a wristband. Customers can then walk out of the restaurant and enjoy their meal at the outdoor dining room.

RELATED: Dine out options expand in central Arkansas with coronavirus restrictions still in place

For some restaurants, this is more than entertainment. This is another opportunity to keep customers coming in during these tough times.

"What we are hearing from customers right now is that for the most part, people are craving experiences, but they want them to be safe, you know, they want them to be socially distanced," said Jack Sundell.

Jack Sundell is the owner of The Root Cafe and Mockingbird Bar and Tacos. He said once the pandemic hit, he lost one-third of his usual revenue.

"At Mockingbird for example, we are 33 percent bar sales normally, and you know, that has basically been wiped out with just doing curbside," said Sundell.

Now, restaurants on South Main Street in downtown Little Rock have a chance to gain back some of that with the entertainment district.

The SoMa Entertainment District is only temporary. It will continue for 8 weeks, but if all goes well, the entertainment district could be around even longer. 

RELATED: North Little Rock launches entertainment district in Argenta

"Right now it's hot, but in the fall it's pretty nice in Arkansas, so it wouldn't surprise me at all to see this extended if it's a success and if people are following the rules and adhering to the social distancing guidelines," said Downtown Little Rock Partnership Executive Director Gabe Holmstrom.