The Downtown Little Rock Partnership announced yesterday on Facebook that Samantha’s Tap Room & Wood Grill will be reopening on July 7, more than four months after a water main rupture at 100 W. Fourth St. in downtown flooded the restaurant’s basement during the snowstorm that hit Arkansas in February. Chris Tanner, owner of Samantha’s, said in an interview that month that he estimated that flooding in the basement was nine to 10 feet high before the water was pumped out. Samantha’s tap system for beer and wine had to be replaced, along with a walk-in cooler, compressors and a water heater.
Due to the lack of foot traffic and tourism downtown in the early months of the pandemic, Samantha’s didn’t reopen after the initial shutdown until September. It has only been open one full month of 2021 and that was at 66% capacity during the winter when the state had reached its peak in daily COVID-19 cases.
Tanner said that Samantha’s has recently hired five servers, and that several members of the back of house staff never left because the restaurant used money it received from the Paycheck Protection Program to keep paying its employees throughout the pandemic when the restaurant was closed.
Tanner said Samantha’s will return to its pre-pandemic hours: 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. (or maybe 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Tanner said) Monday-Saturday. He added that Samantha’s will debut some new menu items when the restaurant reopens in July, but he didn’t want to reveal the specifics just yet.