Fans of Three Sams BBQ Joint in Mabelvale can breathe a sigh of relief today, as owner Annette Jones and her crew have begun work toward rebuilding and reopening the restaurant that burned down in a fire in March. Already, Jones has secured several quotes for the rebuilding project, which as of now does not have a firm timeline.
The fire in March that gutted the restaurant started in one of the restaurant’s smokers and led to some damage in the kitchen area. However, most of the damage done to the kitchen and dining area was from smoke and water. That means the rebuilding process itself will likely be much easier than first thought.
However, there are some complications that are keeping the project from going forward. The property Three Sams sits on is owned by the railroad company; Jones only owns the building itself. Due to the way city code was written, the land would have to be rezoned if Jones were to tear the building down and start over. But in order to get city approval perform the repairs, Jones must show that the repair cost is no more than 50 percent of the cost to tear down and rebuild. Jones is in the process of securing the final repair quotes, which she says should come in well under her threshold.
In the meantime, Jones says she has been blown away by the support from the Mabelvale community.
“It’s absolutely amazing to tell you the truth,” says Jones. “People will come up and get a barbecue and pay us $50. It’s sad, because it’s not a matter of money that’s holding the repairs back. Business has been good; the community has been really good and really supportive.
“We have so many people who have offered to come help build, construction companies have offered lumber at cost, people have just been great. Retired people have been asking if they can come help.”
In the meantime, Jones has been selling a limited menu of barbecue and pies Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. out of a tiny concession trailer in the Three Sams parking lot. Every day, Three Sams sells an average of 50 pounds of meat, plus sides and desserts, out of the trailer. Often times, the day ends with Three Sams selling out of food.
Jones says once the quotes are finalized and the city gives its approval, repairs will begin as soon as possible. At the moment, it’s not possible to estimate how soon that will be or how long repairs will actually take. For the meantime, it’s great to see Three Sams still putting out quality barbecue and the community rallying behind Jones and her team to support them during the transition.