Speakeasy-inspired eatery opening in Hot Springs this summer

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Chef Joshua Garland, the esteemed culinary mind behind Hot Springs’ popular Best Café, recently announced plans for his new restaurant, DONS Southern Social. Located at 901 Central Avenue in Hot Springs, DONS Southern Social will offer an elevated but casual dining experience.

“DONS Southern Social is a culmination of my passion for Southern cuisine and my desire to create a unique dining experience that combines tradition with modern flavors,” said Chef Garland. “With hidden entrances, secret codes, and speakeasy charm, our goal is to set the stage for an unforgettable culinary journey.”

Inspired by the expression “Doing Overtime, No Sleeping” popularized by late night revels of Las Vegas chefs and restauranteurs, Garland’s new restaurant creates a chef driven menu that showcases Southern cuisine with a modern twist, using culinary techniques and diverse flavors gathered from Garland’s extensive travels and experience in the industry. Garland also acknowledged the invaluable contributions of his team and especially Director of Operation Fatima Alvirde, saying, “I am grateful for Fatima’s unwavering support and her remarkable talent. Her passion for hospitality and her deep understanding of the culinary industry have been essential in making DONS Southern Social a reality. Together, we are dedicated to delivering an exceptional dining experience that exceeds expectations.”

Alvirde echoed Garland’s sentiments, saying, “Working alongside Joshua has been an incredible experience. We shared a vision to create an environment that not only delights the palate but also provides guests with a warm and memorable dining experience, and that’s the driving force behind DONS Southern Social.”

The building housing the new restaurant, previously occupied by Douglas A. Arnold and Associates, has undergone extensive remodeling while preserving its architectural integrity. The 4,200 square foot space features a main dining area, a bar, a private dining room, a wine-tasting room and a small art gallery in the foyer. With the help of Sous Chef Diante Green, the menu will feature elevated culinary creations like smoked rabbit Bolognese with fried catfish as well as a wide selection of wine and specialty craft cocktails.

As a successful Black business owner, Garland hopes to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, stating, “I hope that DONS Southern Social not only becomes a destination for exceptional dining but also serves as an inspiration for young people in the community, particularly those from underrepresented communities, to pursue their dreams and find support along the way.”

DONS Southern Social invites guests to embark on a journey of flavors, hidden entrances, and warm Southern hospitality when it opens summer 2023. Reservations can be made online at The restaurant is open on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday from 5-9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5-10 p.m.

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