Powder Hound Pizza rebuilds to open a brand new downtown location
By Taylor Shillam
Whether you're a Sandpoint local, a Schweitzer passholder, or a visitor to the area, it’s likely you’re familiar with Schweitzer Mountain gem Powder Hound Pizza. A local favorite, Powder Hound Pizza is known for its great pizza, beer selection, and inviting atmosphere, serving guests daily throughout the winter season and on festival weekends during the rest of the year.
After losing their second location in downtown Sandpoint to fire damage in February 2019, restaurant owners Ben and Jeannie Higgs look forward to serving the downtown community once again with a new location opening this fall.
Their downtown location was known as The Hound, and had been open just short of four years before the fire brought their operations to a halt.
The fire of 2019, ruled an accident by the Idaho State Fire Marshal, left two downtown Sandpoint buildings destroyed, resulting in millions of dollars in damage and impacting a selection of businesses in the downtown area. The Hound Pizza was one of them, with their building damaged to the point of becoming a public safety risk.
The fire was devastating not only to the affected businesses, but to families across the community.
“Beyond losing a place that so many of our community members were connected with as a favorite restaurant, it was awful to have so many employees lose their jobs and livelihood,” Jeannie shared.
“Those two and half years have been hard for us, since we lost our livelihood along with our staff. We decided to relocate for many reasons; mostly to bring back our food and atmosphere that our community came to love at The Hound.”
Over the past two and half years, the Higgs family had been searching for a new location to reopen with, while waiting to find out if the building that housed The Hound’s original location could be restored.
“We held onto the hope of reopening The Hound in this same location,” Jeannie explained. “As time passed, and the rebuilding project became longer than anticipated, we realized the pizza itself was more important than keeping the location.”
After this realization, the couple decided to focus on their product, the pizza itself, as the shining star of their operations. They dropped their plans to reopen as The Hound at their Bridge Street location, and instead refocused on their roots to serve the downtown community elsewhere, as Powder Hound Pizza.
Now, their new location at 201 East Superior Street is set to reopen in the fall. The new location promises a selection of features designed with customers in mind, including ample parking, outdoor seating, and easy access to both Sandpoint’s marina and the downtown core.
“Above all, we are most excited to bring our pizza back to downtown Sandpoint,” Jeannie said.
“The interior will offer a laid-back feel with plenty of TVs to watch your favorite sporting events,” she said. The menu at the new location will offer all the favorites Powder Hound is known for, along with a few new additions. And, of course, the popular Wingday Wednesdays will be back.
They will, of course, maintain their original Powder Hound Pizza location at Schweitzer Mountain. They have operated out of the renowned mountain resort since 2010, enjoying the opportunity to be fully immersed in mountain culture.
“Schweitzer is such a unique place to own a business,” Jeannie said. As business owners on the mountain, they have loved getting to know Schweitzer employees and local families, while being a part of the vacation experience for visitors.
“For us, it’s really about soaking up the mountain lifestyle: waking up a few hours earlier on powder days to get the restaurant ready; go out for as many laps as we can squeeze in before we go back and open the doors for hungry skiers and boarders,” Ben said, reflecting on the highlights of owning a business at a renowned mountain resort.
While they aren’t leaving their mountain location anytime soon, the Higgs and the team at Powder Hound Pizza look forward to their new second location providing the chance to reconnect with downtown Sandpoint again this fall.
As their grand opening date approaches, the Higgs are looking to hire more team members to help them better serve the community. “We know every restaurant in town is hurting for staff right now, so having enough staff members is our biggest unknown at this point,” Jeannie shared.
They encourage anyone who is interested in making pizza, serving pizza, or managing pizza operations with the team at Powder Hound Pizza, to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and introduce themselves.
Powder Hound Pizza invites community members to stay tuned for progress reports and a grand opening date, with updates posted on social media and online at PowderHoundPizza.com.
They look forward to reuniting with the fans of The Hound and Powder Hound Pizza, as well as new friends, as they return to serving eats, sips and experiences in downtown Sandpoint once again.
Recovery from unexpected hardship is never a simple road, but the owners of Powder Hound Pizza look to the future with hope and gratitude. They thank the community surrounding Sandpoint and Schweitzer for the continued support.
“Thank you for your patience and support as we have navigated what the right recovery steps are for us and our business following the tragic Bridge Street fire,” Jeannie said. “We decided to relocate for many reasons, mostly to bring back our food and atmosphere that our community came to love at The Hound.”