Restaurants in Arkansas have been hit hard by the pandemic, but many are starting the recovery process as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed with increased vaccinations. However, one Little Rock mainstay has experienced a prolonged closure due to COVID and severe weather conditions.
Samantha’s Tap Room & Wood Grill closed its doors in the early pandemic period, shuttering from March to September in 2020. The restaurant opened its doors again only to see a major winter storm put a damper on its plans.
According to Samantha’s owner Chris Tanner, the restaurant has been closed since February when a water main on Fourth Street in downtown Little Rock ruptured due to extreme freezing temperatures. The water flowed into the restaurant’s basement, destroying multiple pieces of equipment.
Tanner, who also owns the Oyster Bar, Cheers in the Heights and Cheers at the OPO, said the restaurant was essentially underwater before being pumped out. A February 19 post on Samantha’s Facebook account states that the restaurant owners were “assessing the damage” after the “massive flooding” in its basement.
Since then, Tanner has been working to get the restaurant back in operation and everything back in working order. Right now, he is waiting on all the components for various pieces of equipment, which he expects to be shipped soon.
“We’re starting to see some light,” Tanner told Arkansas Money & Politics on Monday.
However, he declined to provide a date for Samantha’s reopening, citing supply chain difficulties and general uncertainties regarding the continued effect of the pandemic. He hopes that the restaurant will see an opening this summer, possibly in the middle of June.
Tanner knows that the restaurant will be seeing foot traffic once it’s open. “They’ve been calling already,” he joked.
Image courtesy of Samantha’s Tap Room & Wood Grill