The University of Central Arkansas’ signature color will be served as a milkshake at the Village at Hendrix when The Purple Cow Restaurant officially opens Wednesday at 11 a.m.
Purple Cow Restaurants Operating Partner Ken Vaughan said of all the comment cards he reads, Conway is the most requested city for a Purple Cow restaurant.
“You’d be amazed how many [comment cards] say, ‘Open in Conway,’” he said.
Vaughan said the Village at Hendrix was the right fit for Purple Cow because it felt like a “destination” rather than just a location.
“It’s not restaurant row, but a destination spot for people to walk around and eat lunch or dinner,” he said.
As it is printed on the top of each menu, said Philip Tappan, managing partner of Purple Cow Restuarants, the restaurant is “For the Young of All Ages,” from a senior having a grilled cheese to a kid having their first signature Purple Vanilla shake.
“We wanted to create fun and whimsy,” Tappan said. “Dining out should be filled with entertainment and enchantment.”
Of the 30,000-SF Market Square South, The Purple Cow Restaurant will occupy 4,100 square feet on the east corner adjacent to Village Books.
“We’re really optimizing the dining room to kitchen ratio,” Tappan said.
Typically kitchens take up 25 - 40 percent of most restaurants, Tappan said, but the Conway location with its high ceilings allows for additional storage, only taking up about 20 percent of the overall square footage.
Market Square South was designed by Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects of Little Rock and built by Nabholz Construction of Conway.
The Purple Cow partnered with Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects to design the restaurant.
Double purple and stainless steel doors open to a contemporary take on a classic diner. The U-shaped soda fountain counter is the restaurant’s centerpiece, topped with purple neon lights and adorned with cow trinkets from around the state.
An array of cozy booths and two-top tables sit against the windows, with party booths and a private dining room for special events. On the east side, the restaurant has a stainless steel gated patio option for temperate weather.
Conway’s Purple Cow is the first to feature purple and black stained cow spots on the diner’s concrete floors.
Dave Grundfest Company of Little Rock, who also constructed the Purple Cow in Hot Springs, did the final finish-out of the interior.
Classic Purple Cow menu items of burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and soups and salads will be offered with Kitchen Manager Chris Cutler serving up weekly and daily specials in about a month.
The only original menu items not available are the Adult Shakes as the Conway location will be the first Purple Cow to open without a license to serve alcohol.
Tappan said he choose not to apply for a club license because establishing a restaurant in a dry county “says something about the demographic,” and the community may not want alcohol served at a family-friendly restaurant environment.
Jason Schulz general manager of the Purple Cow Conway said the restaurant is going to leave the decision to serve alcohol up to the community and the restaurant’s clientele.
With the opening of The Purple Cow Restaurants’ fourth Arkansas location, Tappan said he projects Purple Cow Restaurants to make $6 million by the end of the fiscal year.
The Purple Cow will be hosting a private family and friends night before it opens to the public, but Wednesday, 50s music will be playing, burgers will be served and Purple Vanilla milkshakes will be spun from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.