I broke the news earlier this week that restaurateur Chris Tanner (Cheers in the Heights) was planning a big new venture in The Mann at 4th and Main, the remade former home of the Blass Department Store.
He called this afternoon from New York with some of the details on Samantha’s Tap Room and Wood Grill. But don’t get too excited. It might be the first of next year before it opens.
The restaurant, which will bear his wife’s name, will feature a 60-foot bar on the south side looking out on 4th Street. It will have 32 beers and 20 wines, all on draft, pumped from properly refrigerated keeping in the basement below. The offerings will include craft and mainline beers and some reserve wines, but Tanner is aiming for a place that still has a casual feel. “You won’t feel obligated to dress up.”
The space, which has 20-foot ceilings and big columns, will include an open kitchen along the west wall and wood grills will do most of the cooking of a menu designed to be prepared quickly. As it stands, he said he has no fried foods and potatoes on his preliminary menu.
Sample dishes: Roasted cremini mushrooms with bacon and parmesan; roasted peppers with olive oil and sea salt; Argentinean-spiced steak skewers; white cheese dip (yes, it’s still Little Rock, Toto); fresh pico de gallo and chips; grilled shrimp and skirt steak; crisp sweet waffles and fine ice cream. Lots more, too, but that’s just a sample.
Tanner said there’ll be an emphasis on fresh ingredients, vegetables and products obtained in Arkansas, from Mountain Valley water to organic vegetables to heritage hog meat. He’ll be selling his “No. 1s” from 18 years in the catering business and 14 years at Cheers.
A mezzanine could be finished out for use as a private dining room. Below, bar customers will have three 70-inch TVs to watch sporting events and tables will be equipped with charging stations and USB ports.
Wood and granite will set a finishing tone.
More to come in the days ahead.