When walking into Toast, a new bar and restaurant in Zephyr Cove, it’s easy to feel the casual-yet-upscale vibe owners Lorrie Petersen and Bruce Brown hoped to achieve.
A warm fireplace lights up the dining room, cozy furniture lines the lounge and flat screen TVs flash pictures of live shows and sports.
Then there’s the bar.
Toast, located at 605 Highway 50, features at least 48 different wines, 16 bottled beers, eight champagnes and five beers on tap, Petersen said.
It’s the perfect place for any crowd — in any attire — that wants to kick back and relax with company and friends, she said.
“Kick back, pull up this table or that chair and just chill,” Petersen said.
Toast, which opened in September, is not Petersen and Brown’s first venture. Both are the owners of several Oregon restaurants, they said, but decided to move to Zephyr Cove because Brown wanted to retire in the South Shore community — a place they’ve visited frequently over the years.
Petersen said they found the location for Toast on craigslist.com, and Brown moved forward with the purchase of the building that formerly housed Bistro Danielle.
The full bar and restaurant is now open to everyone seven days per week from 11 a.m. to 10 pm., but the establishment is reaching out to locals, specifically, she said. Soon, regulars’ names will be added into a computer system so patrons can receive discounts over time.
Staff will also go out of their way to stock locals’ wished-for wines or favorite spirits.
“We’re listening to what they’re saying,” she said, “and we are taking their suggestions and ideas.”
For food, head chef Jacob Bertheaume said the restaurant serves a blend of Spanish and American fusion cuisine. Many of the ingredients come from local shops and sources, and the seasonal menu will change frequently.
A few items on the dinner menu include maple-roasted half chicken with roasted root vegetables; butternut squash and chestnut-stuffed pumpkin ravioli with sage cream and blackened shrimp; and cranberry and pistachio encrusted wild caught Coho salmon with mashed roots.
Petersen described Toast as constantly evolving, meaning she and co-owner Brown are continuously thinking of new ideas to make the business better.
Most recently, the restaurant added a dinner menu — just don’t mistake it for a fine-dining experience, Petersen said. The food will meet or exceed high expectations, she said, but the owners want the experience to feel as comfortable and as casual as possible.
“We want you to come and have a good time,” Petersen said, “and not worry about the things people normally worry about.”
Happy hour takes place Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and juices for cocktails are always made fresh.
Additionally, Toast is planning on holding a series of on-location events, including wine tastings, wine pairings and holiday parties. It also offers catering.
The owners are also planning to add a coffee and pastry bar by Thanksgiving.
“It’s evolving,” Petersen said. “So people will see changes as it grows.”