First Look: J&S Italian Villa in Hot Springs Reopens Under New Ownership

J&S Italian Villa, a mainstay in the Hot Springs dining scene for over twenty years, is under new ownership. The reimagined restaurant includes updates to the menu, dining room, and bar and lounge, and the grand opening is July 14.

Saddiq and Jeannie Mir purchased J&S in April. Saddiq previously served as Oaklawn’s vice president of hospitality, overseeing aspects of the recent expansion including the hotel spa and food and beverage operations. His over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry include leading teams at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, the Omni Hotel in Houston, Gaylord Texan, Gaylord Rockies in Denver, and the Anatole in Dallas. The couple was drawn to the restaurant’s tradition of service and its name that is perfect for them.

Saddiq and Jeannie aim to make J&S a fun and trendy dining experience. The menus are seasonal with a few signature items, and their goal is to serve familiar favorites and new flavors while using the freshest ingredients. Chef Wil Wright leads the kitchen.

Appetizers include Arancini di Riso, risotto balls stuffed with beef Bolognese and mozzarella. The Villa Signature Salad is a medley of shaved Bosc pears, field greens, sun-dried tomatoes, gorgonzola cheese, and walnuts accompanied by a honey-Dijon dressing.

A two Michelin Star chef from Milan helped train the staff in techniques such as making pasta from scratch. The Badly Cut Pasta is a pleasing array of mishmashed pasta shapes and sizes accompanied by pan seared calamari, shrimp, mussels, and scallops. Other menu offerings include Chilean sea bass, veal, and ribeye steaks.

The bar and lounge often features live music, and local vocalist Gavin Harper is a regular performer.

The Mirs also own The Copper Penny in the downtown historic district of Hot Springs. J&S is located at 4332 Central Ave. They are open from 5:00 to 9:00 on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and from 5:00 to 10:00 on Friday and Saturday. Reservations may be made through Open Table or by calling 501-525-1121.

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