Gus Blass Building

  • Gus Blass Building

Porter’s Jazz Cafe remains a work-in-progress. But co-owner Marcell Dean hopes to open the Main Street restaurant and jazz venue by May. Part of developer Scott Reed’s renovation of the five-story Gus Blass building at 315 Main Street, Porter’s will occupy 8,200 square feet in the ground and basement levels. A mezzanine on the ground level, which will house the cafe, looks down onto the stage below.


Named for all the famous Porter’s in the music business, but particularly those with Arkansas connections—Art Porter Jr., Art Porter Sr., Jim Porter and Ralph Porter Named for Art Porter Jr. and Sr., perhaps the most towering figures in Little Rock jazz history, the club will be open daily for lunch and dinner, with live music during both. The restaurant and venue will fill a void in Little Rock, Dean said.

“What we’re missing here is a venue where people can come and enjoy a good dinner or lunch and enjoy good music. When you come into Porter’s, we want you to understand that the ambiance is there and the food is great and the music is great.”


A jazz pianist and former owner of a jazz club in Texarkana, Dean co-owns the club with Milton Shannon, an owner of Copeland’s franchises in Little Rock and Texarkana and Augusta Farver, interim vice president for instruction at Pulaski Tech.

Dean said that the club will host national and local acts. “Some of the artists we’ll bring in, people may not know,” Dean said. “But we’re hoping the experience is such that it becomes something where people say, ‘If Porter’s has it, it’s going to be good.’ “


Official capacity won’t be established until the fire marshal has his say, but Dean predicts it’ll be in the neighborhood of 200 people. The menu is still in the development process, he said.

Stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted with updates.