(RE) NEW DINING FLAIR
JOHN LOVETT // Times Record
This upscale, eclectic nd may be old to some, but a stylish refresh and expansion is turning heads. 21 West End celebrates its 10th anniversary in Fort Smith in 2017 following a complete renovation in 2016 and a growing wine list with tastes from around the world.
The contemporary and eclectic restaurant is at 21 N. Second St. downtown, tucked in a historic rock building with two dining rooms and a spacious atrium where weddings and receptions are often held.
“We want people to feel comfortable,” 21 West End owner Kevin Dory said of the dining experience at 21 West End.
The remodeling designed by restaurant manager Michael Chronister and Dory allowed 21 West End to seat 22 more people for a total of 90 guests. Chronister became manager two years ago and set out to expand the wine list beyond Californian wines to include more European wines and single-source, family owned vineyards to pair with “Chef Paul’s tendencies to blend old world cooking with a bit of a southern twist,” Chronister said.
21 West End now offers about 150 wines from around the world.
“I really wanted to bring these fun, funky old world wines to this area to merge the beautiful relationship there between food and wine,” Chronister said.
“That’s pretty much been my focus during this expansion ... to bring these
small, family cult wines to western Arkansas, where we could potentially have wines that even in northwest Arkansas and Little Rock markets just can’t have.”
Chronister also brought in smaller 375 milliliter wine bottle options for those who may want to try something new without paying for a more expensive 750 milliliter bottle.
“It’s one thing I also wanted to try that you don’t really see in this market a whole lot, is not only stretching our legs to encompass small glimpses of wine, both new and old world, we really wanted to play with the format,” Chronister said.
“Every situation is a little bit different, and trying to sell a 750 bottle of wine is not always appropriate, so we brought in a fun selection of both large and small formats. And going to a 375 format has for some of the wines has really seemed to be a hit with our guests.”