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Oxford restaurant owner opening another in Arkansas

Clint Boutwell has dreams to make Grillehouse a national name, and he is starting with one SEC town at a time.

The 35-year-old owner of Oxford Grillehouse has taken his steak show on the road and is opening a restaurant in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

He said after his steak was voted “best steak” in Oxford polls the past couple years, he realized, “the overwhelming success of Grillehouse is my future.”

Boutwell visited in-state places like Madison and ventured to Nashville, Austin, Texas, and other cities before honing in on Fayetteville at the urging of a friend.

“Fayetteville and Bentonville are basically 30 miles apart,” he said. “It’s a small metro area with half a million people with income ranging from student to very wealthy clientele. The area is right.”

So he said he ate every steak in the metro area he could find and decided his food would be a good fit.

He also said his casual fine-dining concept will fit in there also.

“It’s what I consider to be casual fine-dining,” he said. “The level of service is fine-dining, but you can walk in in shorts and tennis shoes and not feel like you’re in a pretentious restaurant. I pride myself on being somewhere you can be in a nice but not pretentious restaurant. Everybody feels comfortable there.”

He said it’s his servers and employees as well as consistent service and food that helps him in this next step of growth.

“Tentatively within the next year, to year and a half we believe that Bentonville could be the closest next jump,” to open yet another restaurant. “I still haven’t taken out the idea of Southaven and Madison, and I like the SEC town route so I’m very interested in Nashville.

“I’d like to open a couple more corporate-owned restaurants and then setup a purchasable franchise model people can buy and open. That’s a year away at least.”

Grillehouse opened in 2012 on Jackson Avenue and moved to the Square in June 2013. The Arkansas restaurant has a planned soft opening of Sept. 28-29 and a full opening Oct. 1. More information is on the web at oxfordgrillehouse.com and thegrillhouse.com.