Jeffery Williams

Flooding continued to plague downtown Little Rock restaurants long after Tuesday’s water main rupture on the 100 block of Fourth Street.

Jeffery Williams, general manager of Soul Fish Cafe at 306 Main St. in Little Rock, was dismayed to report that he was still closed and that the water in his basement was still waist-deep.


“I was hoping and praying that my basement was going to be pumped out and that I would get new water heaters today.” Williams said he had a plumber on standby and had secured water heaters to replace the two that were destroyed after being submerged in 5 feet of water. “But I still have 3 1/2 feet of water.” he said. Williams said there are enclosed tunnels beneath Soul Fish Cafe and the historic Mann Building’s Mann Lofts, whose ground floors are occupied by Bruno’s (310 Main St.) and Samantha’s (322 Main St.).

“It’s an easy access for water to go from one to the other,” Williams said. Until they pump out all the water between the buildings, Williams said, “We’re all sitting ducks.”  Williams said that it is believed that the tunnels were originally used to move money around during the prohibition era. “You do the math,” he said. “It was to move moonshine around down here. I’m sure that’s what it was for.”


Williams said the basements of his restaurant, the Mann Lofts and Samantha’s had at least 7 feet of water originally. Fortunately, Williams said, he just needs to get the water heaters replaced to open up again. Samantha’s Tap Room lost wine and beer inventory, compressors and a water heater.

Williams said he hopes to be opened back up on Monday or Tuesday of next week and that today, the first Friday of Lent, is not an ideal day for a popular fish restaurant to be closed.


“This is my high season,” he said. “Today was the opening of Oaklawn for me. I’ve been answering the phone just to apologize and thank people for their business and that hopefully I’ll be opened back up soon. It was really a kick in the gut because it’s a financial loss, and it’s the first day of Lent and I’m closed due to flooded water,” he said.

Williams sent us photos from the past week and a Video that was taken today.