A pub of fun

Andee Richards and Marcus Caselles wanted to offer a place where locals could go for great pizza and Northwest beers — and that’s exactly what they have done.

The couple opened The Toad House Pizza Pub, located next to Safeway on Northeast McWilliams Road, last week with a wide selection of brick-oven pizzas and cold Northwest beers, on tap or in the bottle.

And a pub wouldn’t be a pub without the right food, according to Richards.

When deciding what kind of food to offer besides their specialty — brick-oven pizza — Richards and her husband Caselles knew they wanted food that would fit right in with a pub atmosphere. Their menu includes pizza bianca, a German sausage platter, rib tips and English bangers and mash.

“When people go ‘what’s that?’ is the reason (for English bangers and mash, a sausage and mashed potatoes dish),” Richards said.

Soups, salads and sandwiches also are on the menu, but Richards says it’s brick-oven pizza that has the real selling point.

“The brick oven makes such better pizza, not only the taste but the speed of cooking it,” she said.

When deciding what type of business they wanted to open, the couple had a list of ideas which included a car wash or a party boat for hire, but in the end it was the pub idea that won them over.

“While the others were good businesses, this won because it’s a lifestyle. I get to see people happy,” Richards said. “I’ve wanted a pub for a long time.”

She says one main aspect of the Toad House is that unlike many other pubs, it is non-smoking.

“Personally it’s hard to go out and enjoy a nice pint of beer without the smoke,” she said. “I’m happy to give people that.”

There are a total of 14 beers on tap including those from Heads Up Brewing Co. in Silverdale, Skagit River Brewery in Mount Vernon and Dick’s Brewing Co. in Centralia. They also offer 30 bottled beers, both commercial and local. All 30 bottles are displayed on the wall behind the bar, but Richards says her goal is to display 99 bottles of beer on the wall.

“I really want this place to be fun,” she said.

When the couple was planning for the business they knew there were certain things they wanted.

“We wanted it to be a beautiful and attractive place to be in, comfortable and fun to be in,” Richards said.

Camouflaged on the wall is a 61-inch TV that is reserved for “the big games” as well as fishing shows for fun. There also will soon be brewer nights “to support the local brewers.”

They started out with four blank walls and decorated and painted the inside themselves. Richards says every detail was thought out from the salt and pepper shakers to the unique ceiling fans.

“Variety is fun, everything I picked out is fun,” she said.

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