SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A popular Surfside Beach bar and grill damaged by a fire in July is getting closer to reopening.

The owner of Neal and Pam’s hosted a job fair Thursday in anticipation of reopening this spring.

The restaurant has been closed for seven months, but the exterior is nearly 100% finished. Owner Zach Baker is excited by the progress.

“If I had $1 for every time somebody asked me when we were reopening, I wouldn’t have to bother reopening, because I could retire,“ Baker said. 

The fire started from an air curtain hanging over a window opening, Baker said.

“It was just one of those freak things,” he said.

Workers recently put the finishing touches on some electrical work ahead of an inspection scheduled for Friday, but Baker said there is a lot more that needs to be done, including adding new furniture and kitchen equipment.

Staffing also needs to be addressed.

”For the front of the house, we need anywhere from 15 to 20 combination of part-time and full-time staff,” he said. “And then kitchen guys, anywhere from five to 10.”  

Baker said he hopes to have the electricity turned on by next week, and the plan is to reopen in four to six weeks — just in time for the busy tourist season.

* * *

Maya Lockett is a reporter at News13. Maya is from Los Angeles. She joined the News13 team in November 2021. She graduated from Syracuse University. Follow Maya on Twitter and read more of her work here.