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therapy is in session
story and photo by Shaila Creekmore

A transplant from California, Nisreen Little instantly became a fan of Downtown Jonesboro after moving to the area, enjoying the atmosphere of live, local music and the community support created by the downtown merchants
and restaurants.

“Without downtown, I would have never moved here, honestly,” said Little. “I like to support other venues down here, as well.”

After a few months of living just outside of the downtown corridor and frequenting the area, Little saw an opportunity to bring a different restaurant concept to Jonesboro in a quaint location along Main Street. Little’s idea was to create a place where friends could gather for good food and drinks. While she enjoyed the nightlife of downtown, she believed the concept of a small
restaurant focusing on a good selection of wines was missing from the area.

“There wasn’t a great place just to hang out and get great food or wine downtown,” said Little. “We just wanted good food and wine … that’s not real expensive.”

After having thought through her idea for a couple years after moving to Jonesboro, Little was approached by developer Clay Young about a space that had previously been used for a coffee shop.

“Clay approached me about the space when (the previous owner) decided to close up,” said Little. “I had already thought about this space before. … Clay basically made this happen.”

Last June, Little opened Therapy following two months of renovations and updating the space from a morning coffee shop and breakfast spot to a popular dinner locale. Local contractor Mike Oliver constructed the bar and service area using reclaimed pallet wood. The bar top, tables and bottle trees were constructed from a fallen tree. Fourteen tabletops were cut from the tree,
stained and attached to table pedestals to replace all of the existing tables in the location.

“A friend had come across the tree that had fallen in a storm,” said Little. “It was a labor of love. We did it ourselves.” Pendant lighting was added above each table, all set on dimmer switches to allow Little to set the lighting according to the time of day.

When Therapy first opened, its menu featured a number of tapas, a popular trend in restaurants in many larger cities to serve appetizers, finger foods or otherwise small portions of dishes. Oftentimes, guests order a variety of tapas to share together. The tapas concept was initially popular with customers; however, it often led to customers stopping in for drinks and appetizers and
then moving on to dinner at other restaurants along Main Street.

“People wanted to be able to stay and enjoy the music we have, and part of our idea was to create a setting for a hangout— a place where people could gather and just be together for the evening— so we wanted to offer them dinner,” said Little. Therapy’s menu was then expanded. It still offers many of its customers’ favorite tapas, now listed on the menu as starters, aswell as a number of entrées. The menu at Therapy changes seasonally and is redone every three to four months.

Items on the menu are often dictated by what produce is in-season and available locally. Little likes to buy as much of their produce from local growers as possible and frequents the ASU Farmer’s Market when it is open to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. All of the bread served at Therapy comes from a local baker, as well.

“Homegrown is the concept here,” said Little. “We’re like family, and we want
to purchase from our local farmers and businesses. We get our flowers weekly from Posey Peddler.”

In addition to the menu, Therapy offers weekly features that allows the eatery
to feature seasonal dishes and gives some variety to its regular menu.

Therapy’s current menu that will run through the summer features a seafood
medley, lobster ravioli, vegetarian pasta, bruschetta chicken, pasta carbonara, blue cheese flat iron steak, petit filet, blackened grouper and surf-n-turf. Starters on the menu are spinach Gorgonzola salad, ahi tuna, grilled Brie and its popular roasted red pepper hummus.

Therapy currently operates with only a chef and sous chef in the kitchen.
“We’re so small it’s doable,” said Little. “…That’s the whole point of this place – it’s small, it’s quaint.”

The restaurant can sit a maximum of 40 patrons, and with a small dining area,
it creates a family-like atmosphere where customers often get to know each other while enjoying one of the many local musicians who play while they dine.
For small groups needing a location for business meetings or gatherings, Therapy can be closed for private parties in the evening or made available during lunch time.

“We can customize the menu for private parties, serving specific selections
based on what they need,” said Little. “We, of course, offer sodas, tea, juices and other non-alcoholic drinks for lunch groups or business meetings.”

Therapy, located at 241 South Main Street, Suite A, is open for regular dinner
hours Tuesday through Thursday from 5-10 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight. For more information, call 933-8200 or find Therapy on Facebook at facebook.com/Therapy870.