First Look: Samantha’s Tap Room and Wood Grill

The days of a bustling Main Street may have seemed forever lost ten years ago, but times are changing, and the culinary options are growing. An addition that food, beer and wine lovers won’t want to miss marks 322 Main Street – Samantha’s Tap Room and Wood Grill.
Curious patrons will find the tap room located in the Mann lofts between 3rd and 4th Streets. Samantha’s doubles as an eat-in restaurant with an extensive menu based around a wooden grill, and a drink list that includes 32 beers and 20 wines on tap. This is the first venture for the Gordo Brothers Restaurant Group, which includes long-time friends Chris Tanner of Cheers in the Heights, Nick Lawrence, Jason Polk, and Kevin Case.
Named for Tanner’s wife, the place is designed to offer food and drink in an inviting atmosphere fit for a night on the town, or for a casual evening drink at the bar. Designed by local Garry Mertins, the interior follows a vision of an upscale, yet inviting space. Lawrence adds, “We wanted it to be a place where you don’t ever feel overdressed or underdressed.” Mirroring methods in the kitchen, accent walls play host to mesquite grilling wood, creating an warm environment. The metal chairs are made from recycled materials and the light fixtures from corrugated cardboard, but don’t be fooled, the place packs atmosphere.
The menu offers a sweeping selection, with everything coming in a la carte. “That way you can pair sides with your favorite main dish,” says Lawrence. Highlights from the starters include Roasted Cremini Mushrooms and House Made Pork Skins. First-timers should try the Char Siu Lamb Chops as a main, as Lawrence says, “Chris’s signature dish is the lamb chop, it’s just incredible.” There are also salads and sandwiches, along with other tempting mains such as the Grilled Chilean Seabass and Bone In Ribeye.
The attention to detail in the menu spills over into the separate beer and wine lists.
The tapped beers include a few familiar brewery names from around the US: Tallgrass, Mother’s, Evil Twin, Green Flash, and Southern Star, among others. The tap room also features local brews from Stone’s Throw, Lost 40, and Core. Keep your eye on the rotating seasonals, as Lawrence adds, “We plan to carry more local beers in the future.”
Samantha’s steps it up a notch with their extensive list of tapped wines. The wine tapping system includes two separate coolers – one for reds and one for whites – with monitored temperatures. “Excess oxygen won’t touch the wine until we pour it,” Lawrence says, although some is introduced so the flavors can open a bit. Extensive research and Tanner’s familiarity with California lead the group to their current offerings and Lawrence says, “Every one of them is an excellent wine.” Highlights include a Tempranillo from Matchbook in California, a Malbec from Recuerdo in Argentina, a Riesling from NxNW in Washington, a Pinot Grigio from Stemmari in Italy, and a Sauvignon Blanc from Mira in California. The tap room will also have a full bar and a reserve wine list for special occasions. Samantha’s plans to open to the public on Jan. 22, and will have private soft openings for family and friends in the days leading to that date.

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