Brian Chilson

The Nashville Scene reports that Little Rock Chef Matt Bell is selling South on Main to new ownership and will be taking over as executive chef at Gray & Dudley in Nashville. Bell is set to begin at the restaurant, part of the city’s 21c Hotel, in February.

Bell opened South on Main in 2013 after previously being a sous chef at Ashley’s at the Capitol Hotel. The restaurant partnered with the Oxford American magazine, which is headquartered in the same building, for musical and cultural programming.


Bell has a new ownership group lined up, which is expected to continue the programming partnership with the Oxford American.

The Scene reports:


After his years of working in Little Rock, Bell is excited to be moving to another state capitol. “It wasn’t something I was necessarily looking for,” Bell shared on a recent phone call. “But it’s a logical transition in my career to a bigger property and a bigger job in a bigger market.” He is on track to sell his restaurant to new ownership, which intends to maintain the relationship and programming with Oxford American — so there shouldn’t be many major changes there.

From a prepared statement issued by the Oxford American: “The OA is grateful for the Bells’ seven years of service helping create and support a new destination and community for the arts in Little Rock, and we wish them the very best as they embark on their new chapter.” The transition to the new proprietors will happen in the first week of February, the statement said.

“Matt and Amy have been a tireless team in helping make South on Main a special destination for exceptional culinary and concert experiences,” said OA executive director Ryan Harris in the magazine’s prepared statement. “We’re grateful for their investment in the Central Arkansas community and their partnership with the Oxford American. They will be missed.”


The statement said that the magazine “is working on a plan in conjunction with new operators to ensure no interruptions of Oxford American concerts. At this time, all 2020 OA shows will proceed as scheduled.”

I’ve reached out to Bell for comment and will update if I receive a response.