You might say Baxters on Cedar has been decades in the making. Owners Tommy Dageford and Richard Curtis picked up a few tips over the years spent working in restaurants, and other careers like construction and landscaping. They know what kind of bar towels work best, what sort of music to play, that great meatloaf will sell and that a bathroom can never be too clean.
"We are hands-on owners that really care about everything we do," says Curtis, who progressed from cooking school to restaurant owner/operator for 13 years before moving to Sandpoint in 2005. Prior to that, he worked at Nicollet Island Inn in Minneapolis, where he and Dageford met. Dageford also worked at Minneapolis' Zagat award-winning La Belle Vie.
High standards are a driving force at Baxters in Sandpoint, says Curtis. The turkey in the soup with rosemary and wild rice ($4.50/$6) or in the artisan-bread sandwich with cranberry, sweet onion and extra-sharp white cheddar ($8.50)? It's roasted in-house. They overnight seafood for the daily fresh catch and Dungeness crab cakes ($15), use local ingredients like Wood's bratwurst, which they serve with sautéed onions and peppers ($6). And they break down all their own meat, like in the duck confit sandwich with hoisin sauce ($9.50).
Named for a puppy Curtis adopted from Sandpoint's Panhandle Animal Shelter, Baxters has an eclectic, nostalgic feel to it. The banh mi sandwich ($9), for example, is a take on one served at a Vietnamese deli near where Curtis lived in Minneapolis. Look for salads, sandwiches, burgers and comfort-oriented entrées, nothing over $20, with beer and wine service.
The decor mixes old and new: industrial drop lighting, poster-sized framed photos of 1930s Sandpoint, the original tin stamp tiles on the ceiling and exposed brick walls. Facing you as you enter from Cedar Street is a gorgeous, U-shaped bar made from repurposed church pews.
"It's all about the vibe and being nice to people," says Curtis. ♦
Baxters on Cedar • 109 Cedar St., Sandpoint • Open Mon-Sat, 11 am-3 pm and 5-9 pm • baxtersoncedar.com • 208-229-8377