Downtown Texarkana is emerging from the shutdown and Texarkana diners and bar crawlers are once again finding their legs under them as they renew their acquaintance with the scene. Those familiar with that scene give their views as to how things are, as well as what the next several months will look like.
Ina McDowell, executive director of Main Street Texarkana: “There has been tremendous growth in recent years as Texarkana has been a part of the national trend to bring back historic downtowns. It’s exciting that we as a community recognize and appreciate this opportunity by investing in our downtown. Every city has its own story to tell. We are embracing our uniqueness, beyond the state line, which benefits the entire community.”
Jamie Reynolds of the Railyard Saloon: “Folks still seem a little scared of the pandemic. However, my part of downtown seems not only to be busy, but the folks are excited about what is going on and what may be to come. We are staying as positive as possible.”
Megan Oliver of Pecan Point Gastropub and Brewery: “I think downtown was a little slow getting going after quarantine and everything. But it has been picking back up, with live events and whatnot. I think everything will continue to look up as people gain more confidence in coming out of their homes.”
Les Munn of B & J’s Downtown Diner, The Paragon and the coming Crossties event center: “B & J’s has been doing extremely well, even in its first week, we’ve been crowded every day. The Paragon, on the other hand, and nighttime in parts of downtown seem to become a ghost town around 7 p.m. I’m hoping Crossties gives it a shot in the arm.”
Colby Crook of Hopkins Icehouse: “Right now, downtown business is great. New people, itching to go out. Folks need to get out and hang out. Things are starting to pick up. Over the next several months, folks will continue to get back into the swing of things.”
The first Hopkins location was established downtown, named for the ice storage houses that were located near the rail lines, where Texarkana citizens came to congregate, get cool in the days before air conditioning and enjoy a beer. Now, two locations offer a range of reasonably priced main dishes that are generously portioned, such as the pork chops with sides. The spinny dip is a popular appetizer. The downtown location, at 301 Wood St., is known for live entertainment. The second location can be found at 4030 Gibson Lane.
Other downtown eateries include:
Verona Restaurant and Wine Bar — This classy place offers a great Italian-style meal, along with delicious bread that goes well dipped in olive oil and vinegar. Or, if you prefer, you can just enjoy a wide array of wines. If a particular glass appeals to you, buy a bottle and take it home. Located at 212 E. Broad St.
Johnny B’s—Offering a wide range of comfort food and serving breakfast all day, Johnny B’s is no-frills dining for the whole family in historic downtown at the old Glass Pharmacy building. Enjoy flavorful comfort food, such as the chicken and dressing, roast beef with creamed potatoes, green beans, corn or candied yams, along with hot dinner rolls. Also, burgers of various configurations. Located at 224 E. Fifth St.
Pecan Point Gastropub and Brewery—Established as part of the local craft brewing scene with beer making facilities on the premises, Pecan Point has established itself as one of the go-to places for fine dining. Located next to the Perot Theater, diners can enjoy a range of craft brews, wines and cocktails along with a variety of entrees and appetizers. One favorite is the Duck n’ Grits, while others love the Fish and Chips and the Steak Fingers, which periodically appear on the menu. Word is, the stuffed mushrooms are to die for. Located at 213 Main St.
TLC Burgers & Fries—A longtime downtown establishment, this restaurant with old school decor has been serving old fashioned burgers for decades. Along with fries with their legendary Red River Sand spice, this unique establishment will fill you up. Located at 201 E. Broad St.
Zapata’s—Representing the higher end of Mexican dining in Texarkana, this downtown local favorite offers a varied selection of standards as well as options for the more health-minded diner who is looking for flavor still, such as large salads with grilled salmon or tuna. The salsa is tremendous and the bar is full, with restaurant favorites like the Cuba Libre. Located at 217 Walnut St.