Popular Mabelvale restaurant Three Sams BBQ Joint was destroyed in a fire this afternoon, thankfully nobody was injured in the fire. Little Rock Fire Department spokesman Capt. Randy Hickman says started in a smoker at the back of the restaurant at 3 p.m. today and spread to the rest of the building. The restaurant is expected to be a total loss.
Little Rock Fire Department crews were on the scene for three hours, both battling the fire and helping Three Sams’ ownership recover some of the antiques that adorned the walls of the nearly 100-year-old building.
“We’re just in shock,” said Shannon Crowder, a long-time employee at Three Sams. “I’ve been here for 11 years. To see it like this … it’s just hard.”
Fire crews punched several large holes in the roof and front of the building to allow smoke to escape. The dining room is now a swamp of charred insulation and burned tables and chairs. More than two dozen friends and family members came to Three Sams after the fire to help owner Annette Jones salvage what remained of the restaurant.
“I just don’t know,” said Jones, when asked about whether she would rebuild. “It’s just too soon. I’ve owned this place for 13 years. This is a rough day.”
Three Sams is one of the more popular barbecue restaurants in Little Rock. Its peanut butter pie topped our list of the best pies in the city, and getting a table at lunchtime wasn’t always a sure thing. Three Sams is the second well-known restaurant to burn this month, after Stoby’s in Conway caught fire last week.
The community has already begun working to help Three Sams rebuild, even if there are no current plans to do so. A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money to help Jones and her family bring Three Sams back.