This summer, make a promise to yourself to slow down, take in the surroundings and have a leisurely and incredible meal at one of the true dining treasures in our region. Haven 55, nestled among the trees on a bend in Little Sugar Creek.
Uptown Kitchen + Taphouse is a neighborhood gathering place with great food and the largest selection of craft beer in Arkansas. “Our goal is to convert customers into craft beer enthusiasts by helping anyone find their new favorite brew,” said Seth McDaniel, who along with his wife Mary, owns Uptown Kitchen + Taphouse. “Our servers are Cicerone Certified Beer Servers, meaning they know and appreciate craft beer. Our huge selection of beer can seem intimidating, but we’ve become really good at finding the perfect beer for anyone. We also offer wine and a couple handcrafted cocktails for those who aren’t yet enthusiastic about craft beer.”
So just how many craft beers does Uptown offer? “We currently have 100 taps and roughly 80 options that are available in bottles or cans,” Seth said. “Our beer menu changes daily with the freshest and newest beers that reach our market, and our customers can be confident they are getting the highest quality craft beer possible.“
‘Drink Local’ has been a key component of Uptown’s mission statement since day one. Seth believes it would be a serious disservice to his customers and local breweries if they failed to spotlight the amazing selection of local brews native to Arkansas. “We are a one-stop shop for anyone seeking to explore the best of what Arkansas breweries have to offer,” he said. “Roughly 50% of our beer menu is brewed in Arkansas, and another 15 to 20% is brewed in one of our neighboring states. During Covid, we continued to order beer from our local breweries. We strived to keep everyone in the food/beverage market busy. Good beer sells even during hard times—maybe even better during the hardest times. We focus on offering choices that are not generally available at most restaurants and supermarkets.”
During happy hour from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays they offer a 20% discount on local brews, a 10% discount on non-local brews and appetizers.
Of course, “Taphouse” is just half of the Uptown name. The “Kitchen” half is equally impressive and inventive. “Our delicious food menu is much more than typical pub food,” Seth said. “Our talented kitchen team creates most of our items from scratch each day. While chicken wings and burgers are probably our most popular items, our salads and sandwiches are the favorite choices for our awesome group of devoted customers. “
Uptown Kitchen + Taphouse was even voted as one of 2020’s winners in The Best of Northwest Arkansas contest in the Sandwiches category. “Our most popular sandwiches are the Chicken Avocado Club, Crafted Fried Chicken Sandwich, and the Brewben, which is our take on the classic Reuben,” Seth said. “I’m sure we would have won “Best Brussels Sprouts” had that been an actual category. Customers love our crispy fried Brussels Sprouts!”
Seth was born and raised in Little Rock. He moved to Fayetteville after graduating high school to attend the University of Arkansas, and fell in love with the area. “Little Rock is great, but there is something really special about Northwest Arkansas,” Seth said “There is no other place I would rather raise a family.” Seth and Mary, who maintains her job as a buyer at Walmart, opened the establishment originally as Growler USA, in February 2017. But they broke away from the franchise in April of 2020 and rebranded as Uptown Kitchen + Taphouse.
Seth and Mary believe that as business owners in Northwest Arkansas they have a responsibility to engage in practices that are environmentally friendly. “We work with a local service called Food Loops to help reduce the amount of food and waste that enters the landfill,” Seth said. “They convert food waste that would have been thrown away into sustainable fertilizers for local growers. Closing the food loop by recycling our food waste is a great way to reduce our waste footprint in Northwest Arkansas.”
Uptown Kitchen + Taphouse is a family friendly restaurant with a kids menu, and, yes, they have highchairs for the little ones. Seth is very proud of the business he and Mary have built and the name Uptown Kitchen + Taphouse is making a name for itself in the community. “I love meeting the customers that are just as passionate about all things craft beer as we are,” he said. “And I love being part of the local brew industry. Building relationships with local breweries and distributers is one of the best parts of my job. Most importantly, I am very proud of the amazing team of people that work at and represent Uptown Kitchen + Taphouse. The restaurant industry is generally challenge with a high amount of employee turnover. We have been able to maintain a solid group of employees that have been with us since our first year. We are a tight-knit group of motivated and passionate people.”