News and Tribune

Business/Money

February 25, 2014

Sam’s future in New Albany uncertain

Restaurant expanding hours at Clarksville location

NEW ALBANY — It’s been more than two months since Sam’s Food & Spirits, 3800 Payne Koehler Road, New Albany, was destroyed by fire.

While only the charred remains of the iconic Southern Indiana eatery still stand, the future of the restaurant is still in limbo, according to its owner, Sam Anderson. He said he has not yet decided if he will rebuild on the site of the New Albany location. Instead, he has been making tweaks to his Highlander Point location and expanding services at Sam’s at The Montrose, 318 W. Lewis & Clark Pkwy., Clarksville, which has been previously used only for special events and catering.

Beginning March 14, Sam’s at The Montrose, which will include the exact same menu as the Highlander Point Sam’s, will be open every Friday during Lent from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. And sometime in April, Anderson hopes to open the facility from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday.

While some restaurants have failed at the Montrose location, Anderson is confident customers who enjoy Sam’s regular menu items will patronize the facility — which he calls “beautiful.” He has owned the building in Clarksville since 1996.

“The challenge has always been putting the right business model at that location,” he said. “In the past places were always a little more expensive. But we will be offering our regular menu items.”

He also said he likes the distance between his two location which will be able to serve a larger base. And both the Clarksville and New Albany locations are historic sites. The New Albany Sam’s which burned once housed a tavern while Sam’s at The Montrose is an old home which has been transformed into a restaurant/banquet facility.

“We will try it out and see how it goes over,” he said. “It has a really nice outside area which people should really like when the weather gets warmer.”

Anderson said he is waiting on some permits, and doing a few modifications to the kitchen area. He opened for dinner on Valentine’s Day and was pleased with the turnout despite the weather.

“We have to get some things done [before opening Monday through Friday in April],” he said.

Sam’s Food & Spirits, New Albany location, was destroyed by fire Dec. 9. Anderson said the property will likely be cleared “in the next couple of weeks” once the weather breaks. He said since the fire, he has been overwhelmed by the support of the community, which included Kiwanis of Historic New Albany establishing a fund to go directly to Sam’s employees.

“People really stepped up to help the staff. Sometimes it’s easy to be cynical, but people really do care,” Anderson said. “I’m glad to be a citizen of this area.”

“We’re a small community, and Sam’s fire touches everyone,” said Colleen Endres, treasurer of Kiwanis of Historic New Albany, in December.

Many of the 70 employees from the New Albany location are now working at Sam’s at Highlander Point and in the catering portion of the business.

 

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