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Soul Food Restaurant Coming To Old Foster’s Shoes Building In Downtown Hope

By Mark Keith, 02/25/22 4:52 PM

Hope downtown restaurant owner Arnetta Bradford has announced a new restaurant will be coming to the former Foster’s Shoes building.   Bradford says the historic 2nd Street building is to house “Ethel Mae’s”, a soul food restaurant.  Bradford said the restaurant will be in memory and named after her mother.

The building has a long history.  For many years prior to 1952 the Southwestern Bell Telephone switchboards were located on the top floor of the building.  It also housed a department store downstairs, Boswell’s.  The facade of the building was reworked after World War II when the downstairs became Owen’s Department Store.  After Owen’s moved to the George W. Robison building where the HUB is now located on West 2nd, Foster’s Shoes moved from next door in 1952.  That business spent nearly 50 years in the building.  In the early 2000’s, the building became the first location of Rae-Tay’s.

The building has been largely vacant in recent years.  Hope and southwest Arkansas residents will be anxiously awaiting the opening of Ethel Mae’s!