Overall Experience - 8
Summary : An abundance of pizza options are served at this small town bar. The Spicy Thai pie was a surprising standout.
UPDATE (FEBRUARY 2019): Sadly, between the time that I visited The Hound and the time that this review was published a fire destroyed this establishment.
According to news reports and The Hound’s Facebook page, they do plan to reopen. Warm thoughts to everyone effected by the fire.
Last year, I made my first ever trip to Idaho. While many travelers to the state spend their winters visiting in Sun Valley, my destination was a work conference in Sandpoint.
Sandpoint is a small town (population: 8,000) in northern Idaho, about one hour from the Canadian border. The closest major airport is 90 minutes away in Spokane, Washington. In other words, this isn’t a place you might pass through by chance.
First order of business when I arrived in town: find some good pizza.
The little bit of documentation about the town’s food scene — primarily Yelp and an article from Sunset Magazine (Where to go this weekend: Sandpoint, ID) — directed me to The Hound (202 N. 1st Avenue). I showed up just before closing time on a Tuesday evening (the bar closes at 8:30PM every evening, if that’s any indication as to Sandpoint’s nightlife scene).
The few people left at the bar all seemed to know each other, which I discovered is a common occurrence in a town of this size. The bar itself is “winter themed” with skis and hockey sticks adorning the walls. Adding to the theme – there was a foot of snow on the ground outside (it did appear that there is ample outdoor space for summertime).
In addition to a handful of local and craft beers on tap, the bar serves dozens of cans and bottles as well. But I was here for the food. Specifically, the pizza (there is a full menu featuring appetizers, salads, and sandwiches).
There were nine specialty pies on the pizza menu; each can be ordered as a small (10 inch), medium (12 inch) or large (16 inch) pie. You can also specify your crust preference (signature, thin crust or gluten free). If none of the signature pies are appealing, you can also build your own. There are 18 veggies, 6 cheeses, and 6 meats available in addition to 5 sauces. If you factor in the 3 crust options and 3 sizes there are a total of… well… a lot of possible pizzas you could concoct. My group and I decided to keep things simple by ordering off the “Signature” menu section. We got a Margherita pie, a Spicy Thai pie, and a Cheese pie.
A “Spicy Thai” pizza isn’t something that I would typically order. But someone in my group convinced me to try it. I’m glad I did. It features an array of toppings that don’t seem like they’d go well together: peanut sauce, mozzarella, chicken, peanuts, jalapeño, cilantro, carrots, and sriracha sauce. But this pie was delicious. It had a nice kick to it. The mozzarella — which is the topping that seemed most out of place — wasn’t particularly noticeable. Instead it was the peanut sauce and shredded carrots which dominated each bite. It’s the first time I can recall having a pie like this and I’d recommend ordering it if you’re visiting The Hound.
Of the other two pies, I much preferred the plain cheese pie over the margherita, mostly because I could have done without the slices of tomato on the latter. The cheese pie had just the right amount of crunch and just the right amount of grease to pair perfectly with local Idaho beer (for a more comprehensive beer selection, head down the block to Idaho Pour Authority).
Sandpoint isn’t a bustling metropolis. But even the smallest of towns need a reliable pizza spot to grab a pie (or a slice) — The Hound sells cheese and pepperoni slices too. And if you find yourself in Sandpoint, now you know where to go after a day on the slopes at nearby Schweitzer Mountain.
(mozzarella, tomato sauce)
(Thin-style crust, red sauce, sliced roma tomato,
basil leaves, mozzarella, topped with fresh chopped basil)
(Thai peanut sauce, shredded mozzarella,
fire braised chicken, roasted peanuts, jalapeño,
topped with cilantro, shredded carrot, and sriracha sauce)